California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) will let Ben Shapiro speak after all.
Yesterday, CSULA president William Covino announced he had unilaterally decided to cancel a speech by conservative author and political commentator Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of the Breitbart News Network.
Shapiro, who was invited by CSULA’s student-run chapter of the Young America’s Foundation, was slated to give a speech entitled “When Diversity Becomes a Problem” this evening at 5:00 p.m. (EST). President Covino, however, abruptly cancelled the speech, calling for it to be rescheduled to an undetermined date when other speakers could also be present so that the speech would—as Covino put it—be “balanced.”
Shapiro, in turn, vowed he’d show up anyway.
This afternoon, FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff spoke to FOX Business’s Intelligence Report, encouraging Covino to back down:
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) February 25, 2016
It seems CSULA has realized either that its disinvitation was plainly unlawful under the First Amendment, or that it could not prevent Shapiro from speaking without physically dragging him away.
A statement from the Young America’s Foundation provided to FIRE noted that “this is not an occasion for celebration. Shapiro’s ability to speak on campus never should have been in question.”
FIRE agrees. CSULA’s reversal is a welcome development, but the public university’s misguided decision should never have been made in the first place.
Fortunately, Shapiro’s announcement that he would attend anyway has permitted students to continue organizing—both to welcome Shapiro, and to protest his messages. That’s the proper remedy to controversial speech at work: more speech.
Shapiro’s speech will be broadcast live at 5:00 p.m. (EST) here.