Conservative journalist Ben Shapiro criticizes campus censorship at YCT event

Van Nguyen

“Facts don’t care about your feelings” is conservative journalist Ben Shapiro’s catchphrase, which he uses to denounce views of the left that he believes stifle freedom of speech.

Students filled a 275-person maximum capacity lecture hall in the Jackson Geological Sciences Building on Thursday evening to hear Shapiro speak on issues conservatives face at universities.

“Today we’re going to talk about all the stupid, moronic words that your professors and administrators on this campus use to stifle debate, shout down opposition [and] excuse violence,” Shapiro said. “We’re going to go through and talk about the five most common terms of the fascist left: diversity, white privilege, trigger warnings, microagression and safe spaces.”

Shapiro said he chose to discuss these topics because he believes conservative viewpoints on campus are hampered by others considering them offensive.  

UT’s Young Conservative of Texas chapter hosted the event to discuss conservative viewpoints, which they believe to be overlooked or underrepresented at UT, according to their event page.

The event was announced shortly after YCT held an anti-affirmative action bake sale last Wednesday, an event that led to uproar across campus, but YCT chairman Vidal Castañeda said Shapiro was contacted earlier in the semester to speak on campus.

“Mr. Shapiro’s ideology was synonymous with a lot of our members’, and a lot of our members were interested in his conservative view and what he stood for,” Castañeda said.

Shapiro addressed the bake sale during his talk and acknowledged it offended others, but said he believed it was a satirical way for students to forward conversation on serious issues. 

“These events are designed to show racism in admissions is bad,” Shapiro said. “It’s called satire. They penalize certain racial groups on prices of cookies in the same way the administrators on college campuses penalize certain racial groups on the basis of their race, but these doltish Student Government leftists want to ban students to ‘prevent future incidents of violence.’”

A Student Government resolution calling for the removal of YCT from campus was introduced on Tuesday.

“I think that YCT was participating in freedom of speech,” YCT communications director Allison Peregory said to The Daily Texan earlier this week. “The people who wrote the [resolution] don’t agree with that speech, and it’s easier to suppress speech that you disagree with than to be intellectually challenged.”

The University has publicly stated they will take no action against the organization for exercising their freedom of speech. 

Shapiro also addressed the Cocks Not Glocks event that protested campus carry, which went into effect on Texas college campuses in August. He said the logic behind the protest didn’t make sense to him.

“I can explain to a seven-year-old why people are carrying weapons to defend themselves,” Shapiro said. “I can’t really explain why a sane, rational person who should strap a footlong to their backpack. Gun-free zones don’t stop bad people with guns and neither do dildos. The people who pushed this protest because they were so ‘triggered’ by the sight of guns didn’t actually accomplish anything beneficial.”