By Tyler Bui | Staff Writer, Video by Drake Toll | Broadcast Reporter
Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief and founder of The Daily Wire and host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” will visit Baylor in November as a stop on the Young America Foundation’s Fred Allen lecture series.
Baylor’s chapter of Young American’s for Freedom (YAF) applied to be one of the three schools Shapiro will tour this fall. Of the 1,500 applicants, Baylor was the first school selected.
Shapiro graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He went on to graduate from Harvard Law School in 2007. He is also the author of the New York Times best-seller “The Right Side of History,” and works as a columnist, radio host and speaker. Shapiro is currently America’s No. 1 requested campus speaker.
Shapiro will bring his brand of conservative politics to Baylor through his “Facts, Not Feelings” lecture and offer a platform for students to share their opinions and interact with him.
Fort Worth junior Zachary Miller is the founder and president of Baylor’s YAF chapter. He expressed his excitement regarding Shapiro’s upcoming lecture at Baylor, and how he expects the lecture to go.
“For every YAF chapter, this is the goal. You bring Ben Shapiro—this is as big as it gets, so I’m thrilled,” Miller said. “Hopefully [Baylor] will react well, but you have to prepare for the worst. He hasn’t had an event on a college campus that hasn’t been rowdy, and I don’t think this will be the first.”
Miller said he hopes Baylor students will attend the lecture regardless of their views.
“If you can get a ticket, come out and listen. And if you can’t, watch the livestream,” Miller said. “We have a policy that students who disagree get to go to the front of the line. Ask Mr. Shapiro a question, and he is going to engage you in debate. I would say come to the event, hear things out and don’t try to shoot anyone down, whether you agree with them or disagree with them.”
Following Shapiro’s lecture, Miller said he hopes the Baylor community will change based on his views.
“I think that the Baylor community has been changing because of some administrative decisions that a lot of people of my ideological viewpoint disagree with, and I hope that it changes for the better,” Miller said. “I hope that Baylor becomes what it used to be rather than what Baylor might be trying to become.”
Gamma Alpha Upsilon, an unofficial LGBTQ group at Baylor, also expressed its views on Shapiro’s upcoming lecture on the Baylor campus.
Elizabeth Benton, president of Gamma, wrote a statement to the Lariat on behalf of the group.
“As a person that identifies as LGBTQ+, the announcement of Ben Shapiro coming to campus was very disappointing,” Benton said. “With the invitations of Matt Walsh, Janet Dean and now Ben Shapiro, Baylor leadership continues to demonstrate that they don’t care for its LGBTQ+ students.”
The group’s members said that these appearances from conservative speakers are not the reason for their concerns; it’s the fact that Baylor has not fostered an equal debate for differing viewpoints.
“We are not opposed to their coming to campus, we just wish Baylor leadership would acknowledge its marginalization of its LGBTQ+ students and recognize their presence on campus,” Benton said. “It is disappointing to see that LGBTQ+ students are still prevented from hosting events and forming campus organizations.”
Shapiro’s visit to Baylor is planned for Nov. 21. For more information, visit Young America Foundation’s webpage on the event.