Let’s be honest, there’s no way that Gonzaga University is going to be able to maintain their ban on conservative commentator Ben Shapiro coming to their campus to speak. It’s too hypocritical, too weak, too transparent, and it’s too poorly substantiated to survive the glare of attention that new media will focus upon it.
In the days before internet, cable news, and social media, a private Jesuit school in Washington State could have gotten away with inviting left-wing radicals to speak while denying mainstream conservatives. But just as the University of California, Berkeley, and others have discovered, those days are over.
Almost as soon as Gonzaga’s Vice President of Student Development, Judith Biggs Garbuio, released her feeble response to the Shapiro request from the school’s chapter of the College Republicans, the scandal went viral. And when it became known that Gonzaga was trying to deny the Jewish commentator’s appearance on the basis of their commitment to, “the teachings of Christ Jesus,” the proverbial excrement hit the fan.
“Mr. Shapiro’s appearances routinely draw protests that include extremely divisive and hateful speech and behavior, which is offensive to many people, regardless of their age, politics or beliefs…Gonzaga University is committed to the human dignity of every individual…This is the core of our mission based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, and the foundations of the Society of Jesus. We stand in solidarity with vulnerable members of our community who may be targeted for discrimination, ridicule, or harassment by others.”
First, I’m not sure if it dawned on Garbuio or her compatriots in the (no doubt left-wing) administration building, but the statement actually doesn’t indict Shapiro or conservatives, but instead identifies the inability of the bevy of left-wing students they are cultivating to conduct themselves respectfully and with good manners. After all, Shapiro has never encouraged or promoted inappropriate behavior or speech. When it has surfaced at his events, it has always been as a result of leftist fascists intent on silencing anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
In her letter, Gonzaga’s VP makes it apparent that the school’s left-wing administration doesn’t expect or think they can even control the lack of tolerance from the very student body they have been teaching and training on campus. That not only speaks ill of leftism, it not only is a black eye for their campus culture, it is an indictment of their own effectiveness at training up open-minded scholars. How embarrassing.
Second, it has to be some kind of sick joke for the administration to crow about its commitment to human dignity while inviting pro-abortion speakers as well as Angela Davis, the radical communist professor who once praised Lenin, supported mass-murdering cult leader Jim Jones, visited vicious dictator Fidel Castro, and was tied to terrorists who murdered a judge which led her to being listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
Is the public truly supposed to keep a straight face at the Gonzaga claim that its mission is “based on the teachings of Christ Jesus” when it welcomes such a woman to its campus while denying an orthodox Jew and leading proponent of Judeo-Christian values?
So please Gonzaga, you’ve already beclowned yourselves with this farce of a denial. The humiliation is only going to intensify every day you try to justify it in dishonest ways. You’re an administration and faculty full of left-wing academics and you feel threatened by a charismatic, conservative intellectual that undermines your mission and challenges your campus groupthink.
So either just openly admit that is the reason Shapiro is being denied, or go ahead and just issue your statement about how much you are committed to intellectual diversity and freedom of thought, about how this was never an issue of wanting to silence conservative opinion, about how Gonzaga has a long history of welcoming voices from across the political and ideological spectrum, and reverse your original decision now. Don’t put off the inevitable. Just rip it off like a band-aid and let it sting for a second. The alternative path of a slow, credibility bleed-out is just not the way to go.
After all, the longer this remains unresolved, the less you’ll be able to maintain the charade of being an open-minded, even-handed community of scholars once you eventually crumble under the weight of your hypocrisy and let Ben on campus.