Marquette University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom will host conservative political pundit Ben Shapiro in just over a week, and while the club anticipates a sold-out 500-person lecture hall, club members made a startling discovery: Marquette University’s faculty is attempting to sabotage the event.
Young America’s Foundation, the parent organization to Young Americans for Freedom chapters, has obtained screenshots from club members that show a Marquette faculty member explaining her plan to block students from hearing Shapiro speak. “I just got off the phone with one of the directors of diversity on campus,” wrote Chrissy Nelson, a program assistant at Marquette’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies. “The suggestion I received and will be promoting is to go to the mission week events that day, reserve a seat through Eventbrite as a student (to take a seat away from someone who actually would go) and not protest the day of.”
Source: Young America’s Foundation
In another Facebook post, Nelson corresponded with Susannah Bartlow, a former Marquette professor and director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. (Bartlow was fired in 2015 for honoring Assata Shakur, a convicted cop killer, with a mural in the university’s resource center.) “Register as a student,” Nelson told Bartlow. “Take a seat away from a student that would be interested in going.”
The university pledges to nurture a community that fosters a “vigorous yet respectful debate” — unless, that is, the debater holds conservative values.
Young America’s Foundation’s spokeswoman Emily Jashinsky tells National Review that there has been a “disturbing pattern of suppressing conservativism” on Jesuit campuses, citing DePaul University and Gonzaga University as the most recent instances of conservative speakers receiving significant backlash from university faculty. And, based on Nelson’s Facebook comments, the backlash that occurred at DePaul was the main reason Marquette’s faculty didn’t shut down the Shapiro event entirely.
Still, it is questionable as to whether Nelson and her conspirators will prevail. “Our Student Affairs team has been working closely with the Young Americans for Freedom to assist them with their event,” Brian Dorrington, the Marquette’s senior director of communication, explained in a statement. “We have addressed this issue internally and will work to make sure that interested attendees have an opportunity to see Ben Shapiro on February 8.” Which is to say that the university is trying to “sweep it under the rug,” Jashinsky says, by claiming to address the issue internally.
Ironically, Nelson and her colleagues were attempting to avoid a public-relations headache, and in doing so, they created one.