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A federal judge has sided with a university in a lawsuit brought by a conservative group.
In 2018, University of Minnesota officials moved a Ben Shapiro event to a venue that drastically limited the number of students who could attend.
Young America's Foundation and Students for a Conservative Voice, who jointly invited Shapiro to the campus, sued over what they viewed as a free speech issue, Campus Reform, the education watchdog, reported last week.
Shapiro’s appearance was moved from a 1,000-seat venue on campus to a 500-seat venue.
The two conservative groups were represented in their lawsuit by Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed a 33-page lawsuit that accused U of M of using its Large Scale Events Policy to “censor, restrict, and inhibit unpopular student speech.”
Shapiro has crisscrossed the U.S. and college campuses at the invitation of YAF, where he has drawn a crowd of both cheering fans and angry foes. In 2017, UC Berkeley police fought an angry mob of 1,000 protesters as Shapiro delivered a speech in Zellerbach Hall. Police arrested nine people – four for weapons possession – during the clash, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.
The theme of Shapiro’s speech was, “Say No to Campus Thuggery.”
Left-wing university officials have cited security concerns and the cost of security as reasons to question Shapiro’s appearances but the quiet-spoken author has countered that such an argument means an angry mob is dictating who can appear on campus.
By limiting the crowd size at U of M, the university was picking “winners and losers” over the issue of free expression, which is wrong and unconstitutional, says YAF spokesman Spencer Brown.
"It's a public institution that's funded by the taxpayers there in Minnesota,” he tells OneNewsNow, “and obviously receives a lot of tax dollars from the federal government as well.”
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