The president of California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) unceremoniously ordered the cancellation of a planned event featuring conservative writer Ben Shapiro so it can be replaced with a more diverse featured speaker.
The event, titled “When Diversity Becomes a Problem,” was organized by CSULA’s chapter of the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and was going to feature Shapiro discussing topics like microaggressions and Black Lives Matter and whether they pose a threat to freedom of speech.
The event attracted substantial outside attention after CSULA professor Robert Weide got into a Facebook spat with supporters of the event, accusing them of white supremacy and offering to fight them.
But now, CSULA President William Covino is trying to interfere, saying the event has to be cancelled in favor of an alternative function with greater viewpoint diversity.
“After careful consideration, I have decided that it will be best for our campus community if we reschedule Ben Shapiro’s appearance for a later date, so that we can arrange for him to appear as part of a group of speakers with differing viewpoints on diversity,” Covino said in an email sent to YAF organizers Monday night, three days before Shapiro was slated to speak. “Such an event will better represent our university’s dedication to the free exchange of ideas and the value of considering multiple viewpoints.”
Despite Covino’s rhetoric, CSULA has a long history of hosting liberal speakers who were allowed to have the stage to themselves. For instance, in 2014, the school hosted socialist academic Cornel West for a speech on the “falsity of post-racialism.” In fact, this Wednesday, just one day before the scheduled Shapiro event, CSULA will host a video lecture by activists Angela Davis and Tim Wise on the topic of “the U.S.’s uncritical embrace of individualism, myth of meritocracy, unchallenged white supremacy, and entrenched institutional inequity in our society,” without offering any conservative or moderate counterpoint.
YAF and Shapiro say they plan to defy Covino’s order by trying to hold the event Feb. 25 as planned.
“The campus fascists have taken over,” Shapiro told Breitbart News. “I pay taxes in the state of California; I’m paying for these whiny children to be indoctrinated by radical leftists. For CSULA to pretend that they’re trying to provide balance isn’t just stupid, it’s insultingly stupid. I am the balance, and they’re too afraid to let me speak. These aren’t diversity warriors. They’re jackbooted thugs. If they want to call the men with guns to shut down free speech, they’ll demonstrate clearly just who they are. I’ll be there on Thursday. See you there, snowflakes.”
In a statement sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation, YAF denounced Covino’s move as “a clear violation of student rights.”
“Young America’s Foundation is sickened by Covino’s cowardly decision to censor his own student’s event,” YAF said. “After the student budget board approved Shapiro’s lecture two separate times, Covino ignored their decision and caved to the demands of radical professors such as Dr. Robert Weide and Black Lives Matter activist Melina Abdullah.” Abdullah, the chairwoman of CSULA’s Pan-African Studies department, said last week Shapiro’s event was “a problem” because it was occurring during Black History Month at a school with a 90 percent non-white student body.
TheDCNF reached out to CSULA, asking if the school had previously canceled liberal events, and to find out how they plan to respond to Shapiro’s arrival Thursday — a response was not issued by the time of publication.
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