College Republicans president claims discrepancy in review of upcoming Ben Shapiro event

 In this Oct. 3, 2017 photo, conservative writer Ben Shapiro speaks during the first of several legislative hearings planned to discuss balancing free speech and public safety in Sacramento, Calif. A University of Connecticut Republican student group has invited Shapiro to speak on Jan. 24, 2018, on campus in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

In this Oct. 3, 2017 photo, conservative writer Ben Shapiro speaks during the first of several legislative hearings planned to discuss balancing free speech and public safety in Sacramento, Calif. A University of Connecticut Republican student group has invited Shapiro to speak on Jan. 24, 2018, on campus in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Tim Sullivan, president of the University of Connecticut College Republicans, said in a recent interview with Fox News that the review of Ben Shapiro’s upcoming event is inconsistent with that of attorney Anita Hill’s event, which took place at UConn last week as part of a convocation in remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr

Shapiro, a conservative journalist and talk show personality, was invited by the UConn College Republicans to give his discussion titled “Say No to Campus Thuggery.” His event was subjected to updated speaker review policies put in place after an incident at an event last November with conservative journalist for the Gateway Pundit, Lucian Wintrich.

“My biggest concern with this is change is there's going to be a discrepancy between who this event review process is for,” Sullivan, an eighth-semester economics and political science major, said in the interview with Fox. “Because mainly there is no disruption from speakers of the left.”

Sullivan was not available for comment.

UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said that both events were subjected to the same review process.

“The new events review process relates to space requests from students or student groups.

Anita Hill’s visit was coordinated and sponsored by the university, which considers the same kinds of questions internally before inviting a speaker to campus,” Reitz said in an email. “The difference is that the university considers and plans for those factors before issuing an invitation. By comparison, planning the logistics for student groups’ speaker events occurs later and in a more public manner, since that’s when the groups notify the university of the invitation and request the space.”

In an email to various UConn employees, Jay Bergman, a history professor at CCSU, asked the university to explain their reasoning for what they feel the differences are in the review of Shapiro’s event versus Hill’s.

“Can you explain the difference in the university's treatment of the two speeches...which seems to penalize Mr. Shapiro and the College Republicans for their political opinions?” Bergman said in the email. “The broadcast also stated that students who feel threatened prospectively by Mr. Shapiro's speech will be provided ‘psychological counseling’ by the university.”

Bergman said in an interview with the Daily Campus that he does not understand the need for counseling and that he feels it will cause a generation that cannot accept “intellectual diversity.”

“Universities are doing their students a disservice when they treat students as vulnerable creatures who can’t hear another opinion but their own,” Bergman said in the interview. “And how is someone harmed by hearing another view? Are they going to be destroyed psychologically for the remainder of their life? Hardly.”


Lillian Whittaker is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lillian.whittaker@uconn.edu.