Conservative speaker Ben Shapiro coming to Gonzaga


Gage Skidmore

Ben Shapiro speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference. Shapiro will speak at Gonzaga University, though the date is yet to be confirmed.

By Nicolas Zerbe, Reporter

Last November, Gonzaga faculty blocked the university’s College Republicans’ request to have conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro speak on campus.

Shapiro, a prominent conservative voice in the media, is mostly known for his stances on gay marriage, abortion and political correctness.

The university originally cited concerns over safety in the proposed venue, the John J. Hemmingson Center ballroom, as well as issues with verbal and physical altercations among protesting groups at previous Shapiro events nationwide.

I know a lot of conservative students are excited about him coming, He’s a pretty exciting figure.”

— Joseph Hernandez, EWU College Republicans club president

Thayne McCulloh, Gonzaga’s president, stated in a news release that after an in-depth risk assessment that included input from law enforcement agencies was conducted in January, his concerns over holding such an event at Gonzaga were reduced.

On Feb. 4 McCulloh released a statement via email to students and faculty, according to The Gonzaga Bulletin, reversing the university’s stance on the issue.

He stipulated Shapiro could present on Gonzaga’s campus, but the event must be held at the McCarthey Athletic Center, Gonzaga’s 6,000-seat indoor arena.

“We could not be more excited to host Mr. Shapiro in the near future,” College Republican President Olivia Johnston said,  in an email to The Gonzaga Bulletin. “This approval is in line with free speech and for that I am proud of our club for standing our ground preserving through this process.”

EWU’s own College Republicans have yet to invite speakers to campus, but don’t have plans to bring anyone other than local Republicans, said EWU College Republicans president Joseph Hernandez, though they are looking forward to seeing Shapiro speak at Gonzaga.

“I know a lot of conservative students are excited about him coming,” said Hernandez. “He’s a pretty exciting figure.”

As of yet, there is no set date for Shapiro’s visit to Spokane.