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There are 3 comments on Impassioned Reactions to Ben Shapiro’s Speech at BU

  1. I live streamed the event because my son was in attendance. Shapiro’s appearance on campus has done nothing but generate discussion. In my mind, this is what a college education is about! Yes, Mr. an agitator. He is a brilliant man, however, and welcomes opposing points of view, even asking that people who disagree with him get to go first! The problem was in the Q and A which did not pertain to the topic he.spoke about! It appeared that people weren’t listening because they were trying instead to promote their own agenda! I don’t agree with all Shapiro’s beliefs, but his speech made sense to me. There needs to be a place for conservatives to be able to express themselves without feeling attacked and accused of being hateful! The Alt-Right and the extreme left scare me, I am more in the middle. I am a staunch supporter of Israel. I don’t understand why Black BU are including the Students for Justice in Palestine with their protests. There needs to be a way to listen first and respond to what the man’s speech is about on point – second. My son was more threatened by the Alt Right’s position praising Nick Fuentes in the Q and A than by anything Ben Shapiro discussed!

  2. The constant references to how Ben Shapiro betrays the legacy of MLK and Weisel are completely unwarranted. Very many commenters here and in the other articles are shadow boxing against a man they never actually listen to. Ben is abrasive, caustic, smarmy even, but push through and what he’s really saying is that we should judge human beings as individuals without regard to their race.

    You could assert that Ben is insufficiently ‘anti-racist’, supportive of the status quo, cementing privilege, etc. You can argue that he diminishes the deeper cultural, psychological, and soulful impacts of race in this country, and honestly, I might agree. But it’s a question of emphasis and of narrative.

    Instead of magnifying the worst parts of our troubled past and focusing on our differences, Ben wants to celebrate what helped us work through it: the fuller expression of our founding ideals and who we are as equals under God and under the Law in this beautiful, free country. The story Ben (poorly and un-inspiringly) delivers is one of a coming together and of a living up to our shared beliefs and civic commitments as a nation.

    Everyday I walk by a statue to man who had a similar message and I read the quotes printed on its side and on our walls in the GSU, and upon reflection of where we are with race as a country today and wonder: is it truly _Ben’s_ message so many of us have a problem with or is it King’s?

  3. Given how much of the conversation centered around boundaries of speech, perhaps this is a good forum to discuss BU’s current efforts to establish a policy on Free Speech. A series of Listening Sessions were held this Fall, and a draft Free Speech statement was circulated to the community. The Committees charged with the creation of the policy are now working on a final draft, which I believe will be implemented some time in the Spring semester.

    My position is that BU should adopt the University of Chicago’s Statement on Free Speech, which has now been adopted by over 60 institutions, including Princeton, Columbia, Amherst, and Georgetown. It has been held up as the gold standard defense of the role that Free Speech and Expression play in the functioning of a Liberal educational institution. It can be found here:

    BU’s draft statement included segments of the Chicago Statement but fell short of a full endorsement. As many have noted, BU is a private institution, and is thus not bound by the 1st Amendment. So, they don’t have to adopt the Chicago Statement. In fact, they could go the complete opposite direction and reject the tenets of Free Speech in favor of more restrictive policies. There were some in the Listening Sessions that expressed this viewpoint.

    My argument against this position is that Free Speech and Expression are fundamental to “Academy,” where academy is defined as the entirety of Liberal educational tradition built on Enlightenment values of the pursuit of truth through reason and open debate. If BU goes restricts speech, it will still survive, but it will no longer be part of that Liberal tradition, in my opinion. It will transition from an institution that seeks truth, wherever it leads, to a place that only allows a certain band of thought, that promotes a particular worldview instead of trying to understand different worldviews. There will be an increasing homogenization of thought and increased self-censorship.

    Since the Listening Sessions were rather limited in size, I’m interested in a complete online dialogue on the matter. I think the future of BU will be impacted by whichever path the Free Speech Committees and the Administration decide to go.

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