Ben Shapiro Event at University of Minnesota Facing Hurdles According to YAF

Feb 26, 2018

Ben Shapiro will speak at a free event on campus. More details will be posted as the event approaches.

This event will be live streamed at 7:00 pm CT / 8:00 ET. Please click here to register to watch.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN

YAF, sponsor of the event, now claims the university is denying venue requests to isolate the conservative event.

The Department of Justice recently filed a “Statement of Interest” in attempts to hinder YAF events, in particular with regard to USC Berkeley’s handling of YAF’s Ben Shapiro event last September.

In filing the Statement of Interest, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand provided the following statement:

“This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights.”

Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in California College Free Speech Case

Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) is an ideologically conservative youth activism organization that was founded in 1960 as a coalition between traditional conservatives and libertarians on American college campuses. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the chapter affiliate of Young America’s Foundation.

Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in California College Free Speech Case

Photo: Ben Shapiro was one of the high-profile speakers hosted by YAF this year at UC Berkeley. The event prompted counter-protests, a high level of security, and offers of counseling for students who did not feel safe.
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in Young America’s Foundation and Berkeley College Republicans v. Janet Napolitano. The plaintiffs, Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) and Young America’s Foundation (YAF), allege that the University of California, Berkeley, enforced a double standard when applied to free speech. BCR alleges that UC Berkeley applied a more rigorous and highly discretionary set of rules to their organization compared to other campus groups, especially with respect to “high-profile” campus speakers.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit as a result of excessive hurdles BCR faced in bringing speakers of their choice onto campus. They allege that UC Berkeley’s High Profile Speaker Policy and Major Events Policy violated their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that Berkeley’s “High-Profile Speaker Policy” granted administrators unfettered discretion to decide which speakers are subject to arduous curfews, prohibitive security costs, or undesirable venues. In one instance, administrators—who had full discretion to determine who constituted a “high-profile speaker”—established a 3:00 pm “curfew” that conflicted with class times.

While the plaintiffs attempted to book speakers under the restrictions of the “High-Profile Speaker Policy,” a former president of Mexico and a former White House adviser were hosted at the University, but University administrators did not apply the High-Profile Speakers Policy to those events.

Berkeley counseling for impact speakers “have on individuals’ sense of safety & belonging”

In filing the Statement of Interest, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand provided the following statement:

“This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights.”

In addition to the statement, Associate Attorney General today penned an op-ed(link is external) on the issue of campus free speech.

This is the third Statement of Interest filed by the Department of Justice in a First Amendment case under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The first was filed on September 26, 2017 in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, and the second was filed on October 24, 2017 in Shaw v. Burke.

Attorney General Sessions reestablished the Department’s commitment to protecting First Amendment rights—especially campus free speech– in a speech at Georgetown Law School in 2017.