Update: Whitworth student government votes no on Ben Shapiro invite
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Associated Students of Whitworth University voted ‘no’ on Wednesday evening, to extend an invite to political commentator, Ben Shapiro, to speak at Whitworth.
Initially, the request had been rejected, but representatives from the student government said that was an unintended mistake and miscommunication that was quickly corrected.
The controversy surrounding the conservative speaker quickly made its rounds on campus.
“I think civil discourse is great and he would encourage that in a lot of ways, but I think we need to be careful,” said Luke Parker, a student, “I think he can be divisive and hurtful to certain groups of our students.”
He said he hoped the ASWU vote was made for the right reasons.
“It shouldn’t have been politically biased, or based off personal opinions, it needed to be about protecting Whitworth students,” said Parker.
Other students noted that they appreciate Shapiro’s sometimes blunt rhetoric.
“His motto is that facts don’t care about your feelings and I personally like that approach,” said Brian Wittenberg.
For many they wanted to make sure the campus was able to facilitate multiple view points.
“You have to have both sides of the story, you can’t be one sided about things,” said Nathaniel Trejo who was eager to see Shapiro invited.
ASWU leaders told KXLY that they had been hearing passionate voices on both sides of the spectrum, for and against, but wanted to make sure they were accounting for the groups who might be hurt or offended by Shapiro’s speaking,
The vote would only have allowed the Young Americans for Freedom to invite Shapiro, on their organizations national website it notes they are not taking proposals for Shapiro to visit schools for the rest of the spring semester.
However, speaking with KXLY a spokesman for the Young America’s Foundation said that if Whitworth did invite Shapiro, they would work to get him out here this Spring.
Students at Whitworth were optimistic that had Shapiro spoke on campus, his presence wouldn’t be met with the tension and protests experienced at other, larger universities.
“Whitworth does not have that kind of environment or community, we are very welcoming,” said Nathaniel Trejo “you may have some people protesting, but you wouldn’t have screaming or shouting.”
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