USC students falsely claim Ben Shapiro touts ‘eradication of entire races’
- USC’s Black Student Assembly, Latinx Student Assembly, and Asian Pacific American Student Assembly all shared a statement alleging that Ben Shapiro is a "purveyor of hate speech."
- But USC's Department of Public Safety chief John Thomas is disputing some of its assertions.
Several student groups at the University of Southern California bashed conservative author Ben Shapiro as a “purveyor of hate speech” before his speech at the school on October 4.
USC’s Black Student Assembly, Latinx Student Assembly, and Asian Pacific American Student Assembly at USC all shared a statement, which criticizes Shapiro’s upcoming appearance at the school. The letter also harangues the university for funding security at the event.
“The safety and lives of minority communities on the University of Southern California’s campus is in harm’s way,” the letter, which is unsigned, states. "[Ben Shapiro] is known to be a purveyor of hate speech, including the eradication of entire races, and discriminatory comments against a multitude of minority communities.”
The letter then claims that USC has pledged thousands of dollars in student fees in order to fund the additional security officers and Los Angeles Police Department officers at the event, adding that the university is also funding “undercover officers, dogs, and surveillance on the day of the protest to prevent non-violent student protest.”
“This degree of law enforcement has the potential to put black and brown communities at serious risk of being racially profiled or targeted,” the letter contends. “Shapiro’s presence has the potential to be a catalyst for the dangerously radical conservatives and white supremacists already present on this campus.”
USC Department of Public Safety Chief John Thomas, however, told Campus Reform that the letter contained inaccurate information.
“There seem to be a fair number of misconceptions about the October 4 event. It is our responsibility to assess the needs and provide sufficient resources to ensure the safety of members of our campus community and event participants. The use of K-9 units was never part of the safety plan," Thomas said.
Thomas added that the event organizer, USC's Young Americans for Freedom, is paying for security at the Shapiro event.
“The event organizers are bearing the full cost for security, in accordance with university policy,” Thomas said. “Our role is to make sure that all parties on campus may safely exercise their First Amendment rights in accordance with university policy.”
USC freshman Corbin Fischer tweeted a poster found on campus reading “No to Ben shapiro” and “No to hate speech.”
“Racist, Fascist, Transphobic, Misogynist, Islamaphobic and Anti-Choice Ben Shapiro has been invited to speak on the USC campus,” the poster reads. “Join us in resisting white supremacy on our campus and defending the south central and USC community from this bigotry! Hate speech will never be tolerated!”
Fischer called the protesters’ logic “flawed,” while speaking with Campus Reform.
“[Their logic] argues that intolerant student resistance towards speakers should act as a veto as to who is allowed on campus,” the freshman explained. “While I would support boycotts for actual white supremacists or other hateful people. Shapiro is not one of those people.”
When asked if he thought the incident at USC is part of a larger movement of silencing speakers with whom students disagree, Fischer agreed.
“Definitely. I mean compare the Berkeley of the past to the Berkeley of now, it has completely shifted,” Fischer stated. “Berkeley used to be the forefront of the free speech movement, now it is at the forefront of the anti-free speech movement.”
Shapiro, one of the leading conservative thought leaders particularly among Millennials and Gen-Z members, has previously spoken out against white supremacists, saying during a speech at UC-Berkeley last year that members of the "alt-Right" have a "screw loose" and adding that their worldviews have "no grounding in reality."