Gonzaga students hoping to host Ben Shapiro through Young America’s Foundation’s Fred Allen Lecture Series in the Spring of 2019 were shocked to learn their university had “declined” the proposed event. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Gonzaga has thrown up roadblocks in order to make it difficult for conservatives to speak on campus.
In an email to the students, Gonzaga’s Dean of Student Life cited a portion of the school’s event policy that allows speakers to be denied by administrators:
“Permission to invite a guest speaker or to host an event for the public on campus may be denied altogether if:
- The speech or event would not constitute a legitimate educational experience or otherwise contribute to the University’s mission; or
- The speech or event is likely to confuse the public or students about or offend the University’s core values or mission as a Catholic, Jesuit, humanistic institution by advocating positions or activity contrary to Catholic teachings and the person or group seeking permission refuses to accept provisions for appropriate response or counter-programming; or
- There is a substantial risk that the speech or event would conflict with University policies concerning the creation of a hostile learning environment; or
- The speech or event poses a substantial risk to the physical safety of members of the University community;”
While Gonzaga is a private institution and can set guidelines such as those cited above, conservative students were quick to point out these criteria have been ignored for past speakers of a leftist bent, including Angela Davis.
For those unfamiliar with Davis’ “work,” here’s a quick refresher:
- From 1969-1991 Davis was a proud member of the Communist Party, twice being the party’s Vice Presidential nominee.
- In 1969 she was welcomed by murderous dictator Fidel Castro to Cuba, a nation she felt was free of racism because “only under socialism could the fight against racism be successfully executed.”
- Davis was one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted fugitives in 1970 for her role purchasing firearms used to shoot a judge in the head, but found not guilty at trial.
- Davis was invited to the Soviet Union by the Central Committee and received an honorary doctorate from Moscow State University in 1972.
- In 1979 Davis was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize and praised the “glorious name of Lenin” in her acceptance speech.
- Before the mass murder-suicide at Jonestown, Davis addresses followers of Jim Jones and praised them for their progressive activism.
- More recently, Davis is a supporter of the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) campaign, and served as an honorary co-chair of the Women’s March.
- In a USA Today column, Cathy Young may have put it best when she called out Davis’ “long record of support for political violence in the United States and the worst of human rights abusers abroad.”
“This decision by Gonzaga administrators amounts to institutional anti-semitism,” remarked Young America’s Foundation Spokesman Spencer Brown. “For Gonzaga to allow someone like Angela Davis to speak—while barring Ben Shapiro from appearing at the invitation of conservative students—is the height of liberal hypocrisy. No one is expecting Shapiro to be teaching on the tenets of the Catholic faith, so Gonzaga’s objections are flatly absurd, especially when one considers Angela Davis somehow passed muster for Gonzaga administrators.”