Grand Canyon University, a Christian school in Phoenix, Arizona, rejected a request from a group of students to bring conservative speaker Ben Shapiro to campus this spring. Yet, after speaking with the school's Young Americans for Freedom chapter, the administrators changed their mind. They are allowing Shapiro on campus, but with the caveat that the national Young America's Foundation can't be involved.
They explained why in a new statement.
GCU’s administration is not interested in working with YAF’s national office as a result of its continued disparagement of the University, the false and misleading statements it has made, and its expressed strategy to use media pressure to achieve its goals. The claims by YAF’s national office that GCU changed its approval protocols for Shapiro’s appearance are false. Its statement earlier today deliberately omitted the most recent draft of a proposed compromise joint press release that addressed its concerns, presumably because it did not fit its narrative of the events. And, rather than seek a solution in good faith on a joint press release on Tuesday, YAF’s national spokesman continued to use social media and media channels throughout the day to disparage GCU even as he was aware the University was willing to bring Mr. Shapiro to campus. When YAF’s spokesman indicated that the only acceptable version of a joint release was their original version, GCU decided to discontinue the conversations with the national office. The University considers those tactics unproductive and does not wish to partner with a national organization that operates in this fashion. We will continue to work with YAF’s student chapter and with Mr. Shapiro directly if he is amenable to speaking on campus.
They also noted in today's explanation that since many of their students and faculty hold Christian, conservative views, Shapiro's ideology was not the issue. A committee of students, faculty, and staff first denied the Young Americans for Freedom chapter's request to host Shapiro due to concerns that he would bring a sense of "divisiveness" with him "based on some of his previous speaking appearances."
YAF spokesman Spencer Brown is not convinced by their line of reasoning.
GCU take 1:@benshapiro’s rhetoric makes him incompatible with our values so he’s banned.— Spencer Brown (@itsSpencerBrown) February 6, 2019
GCU take 2:
Well students didn’t follow our protocol, that’s why Ben can’t speak here.
GCU take 3:
Come to campus Ben Shapiro! But @YAF can’t be involved.
The math just doesn’t add up. https://t.co/5C9stH5YAn
Shapiro gracefully declined GCU's new offer.
Re: GCU's speech offer, I have worked with YAF and YAF students for years. I will not go around the hard working, dedicated YAF students at GCU; I'll go to GCU when YAF brings me to GCU.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 6, 2019