In a confusing statement revealed first to a meeting of the Grand Canyon University Young Americans for Freedom and then posted online Tuesday night, GCU has reversed its ban on Ben Shapiro, with a major caveat: Young America’s Foundation cannot be involved.

This move from the embattled GCU administration, yet another change in their story, comes after they first claimed last Thursday that Ben Shapiro’s style and rhetoric made him incompatible with the university mission and inclusive atmosphere.

Swift backlash followed GCU’s decision to ban Shapiro, and understandably so.

Next, GCU administrators peddled an alternative narrative that their decision to deny Shapiro’s appearance was because students submitted the paperwork to bring Ben on the same day Young America’s Foundation announced GCU and five other schools were selected to host Shapiro during the spring semester. This attempt to scapegoat GCU YAF and take the pressure off the administrators who made the decision to ban Ben also didn’t stick.

With Tuesday night’s statement, GCU further muddles the situation, calling into question the sincerity of GCU’s initial two rationalizations for why Shapiro had been banned.

In their most recent statement, GCU administrators have failed again to take responsibility for their decision to deny Shapiro’s lecture, instead scapegoating Young America’s Foundation.

GCU administrators claim to support conservatives, but at every turn they have attempted to shame, bully, and intimidate the young people working hard to bring Ben Shapiro to campus.

They criticized students for having the audacity to publicly question the school’s ban on Shapiro. They even tried to use the Shapiro lecture as leverage to coerce conservative students into releasing a statement publicly praising the university. Young America’s Foundation has, and always will, support students’ right to speak while opposing university-imposed compelled speech.

It was GCU’s decision to ban Ben Shapiro that brought about this negative reaction. It is no one’s fault or problem to solve but their own.

Grand Canyon University could have prevented this situation entirely by initially allowing Ben to speak.

GCU could have mitigated this situation by reversing course as soon as they saw the negative attention aimed their way rather than issuing a statement doubling down on their ban.

GCU could have ended criticism from the Conservative Movement if they’d told YAF Ben would be allowed to speak on campus without conditions during meetings with administrators Monday morning.

But they didn’t. Instead, GCU continues to change its story, put conditions on Shapiro’s still-unconfirmed lecture, and blame others for the critical blowback they—and they alone—caused.


For additional information or to request an interview, contact Young America’s Foundation Spokesman Spencer Brown via sbrown@yaf.org or 800-872-1776.

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