In a letter delivered this week to the President of Gonzaga University, more than 20 Washington legislators slammed Gonzaga administrators’ decision to “decline” a lecture by Ben Shapiro, a development first reported in the New Guard.

“We are greatly disappointed in the university’s decision,” writes Rep. Luanne Van Werven, the ranking conservative on the House Higher Education Committee. “Campuses should be places of rigorous, free debate that respects the marketplace of ideas.”

“While Gonzaga University is a private institution, students are eligible for state financial aid,” notes Rep. Van Werven. “State taxpayer dollars should not be used to promote censorship.”

Highlighting the hypocrisy of the school’s decision to ban Shapiro, the letter holds Gonzaga to what it claims are its values:

“Your university website states: ‘Gonzaga’s Jesuit, Catholic, Humanistic education will challenge and inspire you.’ Denying Mr. Shapiro the opportunity to speak runs contrary to this statement. Please allow Mr. Shapiro to challenge and perhaps inspire your students.”

“Please do not allow Gonzaga University to become an island of isolated political views. Embrace your surroundings and respect the sentiments of your neighbors in eastern Washington — many of whom hold your institution in high regard and support your students.”

Young America’s Foundation joins with these principled legislators in calling for Gonzaga to allow Shapiro to speak at their school as part of Young America’s Foundation’s Fred Allen Lecture Series this spring.

For additional information or to request an interview contact YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown via or 800-872-1776.