Ben Shapiro addresses university students amid protests

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro spoke at the University of Utah Wednesday evening.

A Facebook event for Shapiro’s talk says he would take on “leftist myths of white privilege, trigger warnings, microaggressions, and diversity.”

The event was sponsored by Young Americans for Freedom, who paid for Shapiro to attend. The university groups are allowed to invite in their own speakers if they go through the process, and admit this is the biggest one they’ve had through a student group.

Several people were vocal about even allowing Shapiro to speak on campus. A group of around 100 people gathered outside the Presidents’ office before the speech, and some claimed they were going to try and shut it down.

Lex Scott is the founder of United Front Civil Rights Organization. She believes what Shapiro says in his publications and on television is hurtful to minority groups. Scott said the protest was also about letting people know what they stand for as well.

“I have a lot of goals, I would like to open a dialogue, I would like to be heard,” said Scott. “I would like for Ben to understand that he’s hurting people.”

During his speech Shapiro addressed that attach which he said he receives often.

“If you can name one person one in America who’s been physically harmed because of my speech I dare you to find them and show them to me,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro tackled several issues including what he called “victimization” which he claims the left pushes to try and divide people into groups based on race, gender, or sexual orientation.

“It’s pretty popular on college campuses because it removes the requirement for you to make good decisions with your life,” said Shapiro. “If you fail, if you suck at life, you don’t have to blame you, you can blame everyone else which is super duper convenient.”

Shapiro spoke for the first 45 minutes of the talk and then too questions from the audience. Although he said his one rule is liberals or those who disagree with him get to ask questions first.

Caleb Hoffman is the risk manager for Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Utah, and said that’s one of the reasons they wanted to bring him here.

“Doesn’t care that people protest him,” said Hoffman. “He asks people to come up to the front of the line and do Q & A’s after all the speeches he wants people to be an individual and not follow certain people, but just also form their own opinions.”

Police said they did have two arrests, from two desperate scuffles in the protest area, but note they were peaceful for the most part and run very professionally.

After the event both supporters and those in opposition to Shapiro were seen cordially talking outside the event about different issues.

Watch video of Shapiro’s talk below. 

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