Cal State Says Free Speech Means Conservative Event Must Be Balanced with Liberal Speaker

Delaying Ben Shapiro's talk is a brazen act of censorship.


Not to be outdone by Williams College—a private institution that recently prohibited students from bringing a controversial conservative to campus—California State University in Los Angeles has taken the brazen step of forbidding its students from hosting conservative journalist Ben Shapiro. 

Shapiro was invited by the campus's Young Americans for Freedom chapter, but Cal State administrators have delayed his appearance—so they can find a liberal speaker to debate him, they claim. 

CSULA President William Covino justified the decision on the grounds that he was actually honoring the university's "dedication to the free exchange of ideas": 

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. Such an event will better represent our university's dedication to the free exchange of ideas and the value of considering multiple viewpoints." 

This is pure Doublespeak. The free exchange of ideas on campus is best served when people are, um, free to exchange ideas. Students should feel welcome to invite additional speakers if they wish, but must be free of institutional pressure to share the platform they are providing. 

Covino's suggestion that a conservative speaker must be balanced by a liberal speaker is also stunningly hypocritical. As The Daily Caller's Blake Neff points out, on Wednesday—one day before the planned Shapiro event—CSULA will have an event featuring Angela Davis and Tim Wise. Davis is a far-left feminist and member of the Communist Party. Wise is best described as anti-racism activist who thinks all white people are, to varying degrees, racist. The subject of their lecture is "the U.S.'s uncritical embrace of individualism, myth of meritocracy, unchallenged white supremacy, and entrenched institutional inequity in our society." I can't imagine there will be much diversity of thought at this event. Does this not violate Corvino's supposed dedication to "multiple viewpoints"? 

Shapiro has vowed to go to campus anyway. In a piece for Breitbart—where he is a senior editor—he described CSULA administrators as "fascists" and "jackbooted thugs." I disagree with Shapiro on plenty of things, but in this case, the hyperbole seems well-deserved.

It's enough to make college students root for anti-PC warrior Donald Trump.