A student group at Ohio State University (OSU) sent a warning to its members prior to a Tuesday by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.
The Student Advisory Council of the Morrill Scholars Program at OSU sent an email in order to create “awareness around this event in preparation for the impact that his words, beliefs, and followers may have on our community.” The email specifically targeted Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and Shapiro, who is editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, and claims that many of his views are “misogynist,” “racist,” and “transphobic.”
A member of the Morrill Scholars Program confirmed the existence of the email to Campus Reform on Wednesday.
“For instance, Shapiro has argued that feminism has created what would be called ‘rape culture’ because its elimination of traditional gender roles,” the email stated. “Shapiro has said that income inequality (specifically in the African American community) has ‘nothing to do with race, and everything to do with culture.’”
The Student Advisory Council of the Morrill Scholars Program contended that Shapiro’s presence is unsafe for the mental well-being of students on campus.
“Shapiro’s rhetoric has the potential to threaten the emotional and mental safety of much of the campus community,” the email stated. “If you do not feel comfortable around a climate that will be created by Ben Shapiro’s presence, we encourage you to seek a safe environment for yourself. Knowing the hostile environment that can result from these kinds of events, we encourage you to seek an inclusive environment and reach out to talk with someone.”
In addition, the “Morrill Scholars and [its] staff” hosted a “safe space” during the Shapiro lecture in a university residence hall.
Nick Bellopatrick, the publicity chair of OSU YAF, the group that hosted the event, told Campus Reformthat it is concerning that a student group reacted in such a negative way to Shapiro.
“It is deeply troubling that something as intangible as words can garner such a reaction,” Bellopatrick said. “Groups like MSP need to realize that there are many other views of the world and just because they don’t like a particular view, [that] doesn’t mean it is a threat.”
Bellopatrick went as far as saying the email “does a disservice to Ohio State Students,” and called the note “disappointing” and “pathetic.”
Students yelled “Reagan’s dead” and “John McCain’s dead” outside of Shapiro’s event, as captured by The Federalist editor Emily Jashinsky.
— Emily Jashinsky (@emilyjashinsky) November 14, 2018
Even though the event garnered a negative reaction from students at OSU, Aaron Carpenter, a student at the university, characterized it as a success when speaking with Campus Reform.
“Ben Shapiro’s event at the Ohio State University was met with protests from several student groups (comprised mostly of young socialists), but was a huge success!” Carpenter said. “After his usual 15-20 minute opener, he took lots of questions from students where he talked about current events, the midterms, the 2020 election, foreign affairs, and some of his recent tweets.”
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