In a vote Wednesday evening, the Associated Students of Whitworth University (WU’s student government) voted not to allow Ben Shapiro to speak on campus through Young America’s Foundation’s Fred Allen Lecture Series. The result was a reportedly-unprecedented 8-8 tie, which was broken by the ASWU’s president to deny Shapiro’s appearance.

Following this vote, Whitworth President Beck Taylor emailed the university community about the “ASWU Decision on Ben Shapiro.”

Ostensibly seeking to quell the justified disappointment of students, alumni, and others, President Taylor attempts to keep the blame away from his office, saying “Club speaker approval is a student government responsibility.” This denial of his responsibility as leader of Whitworth University calls into question who is in charge at WU: the administration or the intolerant mob of tyrants-in-training who shut out the #1 requested campus speaker in the country.

In a moment of clairvoyance, President Taylor goes on to state that “For many in our community, ASWU’s decision will be seen as another sign of the decline of civil discourse and freedom of expression on college campuses.”  But then, President Taylor arrives at the cowardly conclusion that banning Shapiro “was a very difficult decision that attempted to weigh two competing goods at Whitworth – the value of intellectual openness and the value of creating safe and inclusive spaces for learning and discovery.”

Apparently, Whitworth’s belief in the “value of safe and inclusive spaces for learning and discovery,” doesn’t extend to Ben Shapiro or the students who wish to learn from him.

If you’re a student, alumnus, or concerned citizen who wants Ben Shapiro to speak at Whitworth, you can contact WU President Beck Taylor by email via president@whitworth.edu, phone via 509-777-4665, or Twitter via @BeckTaylor.

How does President Taylor expect students to learn or discover if speakers such as Shapiro are outright banned from his campus under the cowardly guise of creating “inclusive” or “safe” spaces? No students would be forced to attend Shapiro’s YAF lecture, and Shapiro’s presence does not threaten the safety of anyone. The reality is that safe spaces are antithetical to learning, a truth President Taylor apparently ignores.

For far too long administrators have bowed to the intolerant mobbish will of leftist students. In doing the same, President Taylor has sent the message that Whitworth University does not stand for ideological diversity or the free and open exchange of ideas. It is time for President Taylor—and his counterparts across the country—to stand up for real, well-rounded education.


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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