Graduating students of the Argyros School of Business and Economics will be visited by guest speaker Ben Shapiro at the “Argyros Last Call for Seniors” event May 9.
Shapiro, a Harvard Law School graduate and the editor-in-chief of conservative news site The Daily Wire, has been the subject of debates on Facebook between Chapman students and alumni since the flyer for Shapiro’s speech was sent out April 25.
“I was surprised with the amount of people who were offended by my post,” said Madison May Geihs, a senior television writing and production major who wrote one of the Facebook posts that sparked debate.
Geihs posted the flyer for the business school event on her Facebook page May 1, along with tweets written by Shapiro about topics like Trayvon Martin – an unarmed 17-year-old boy who was killed in 2012 – and the LGBTQIA+ community. As of May 5, Geihs’ post had been commented on 52 times and shared by 33 people.
“I was surprised that people were defending him after all the horrible things he said,” Geihs told The Panther. “We’re not advocating for his removal, but we want people to know the full array of his ideas. When I made the post, I was trying to show people the tweets and ideas that he has that weren’t advertised.”
Shapiro, an author, journalist and political commentator, has been called the voice of the “conservative millennial movement,” according to The New York Times.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2007, he served as an editor-at-large for Breitbart News and went on to found The Daily Wire. He has authored 25 books and is the host of a popular podcast, The Ben Shapiro Show.
A man from Kent, Washington was arrested May 1 for allegedly threatening Shapiro’s life, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Shapiro has come under scrutiny for his stances concerning abortion rights, gun control and the Muslim community.
Thomas Roche, president of Chapman Republicans, commented on Geihs’ post May 3.
“Chapman loves Ben!” he wrote. Roche declined The Panther’s requests for comment.
“Oh yes, because cherry-picked tweets, (some of which he has denounced), and a biased, left-wing hit piece is going to make Chapman disinvite a Harvard and UCLA educated, lawyer, pundit and New York Times Best-Selling author,” wrote Chapman student Samuel Mazo. “Enough with the false moral high ground, admit you’re a antisemetic communist NPC, and let’s call it a day.”
Mazo also declined The Panther’s request for comment.
Geihs told The Panther that because the event is only open to students in the business school, she is concerned with the lack of “access for students who want to hear (Shapiro) or ask him questions.”
Ricky Reneer, a 2018 graduate of Chapman’s Fowler School of Law, echoed Geihs.
“The manner of (the event) is troubling,” Reneer told The Panther. “There will not be an opportunity to question (Shapiro). There are other ways to bring a conservative voice to campus.”
Calling Shapiro a “smart businessman,” Reneer told The Panther that he believes (Shapiro) “tries to appear as a voice of reason, but often in his tweets or videos, he tends to present a more divisive voice.”
Geihs told The Panther that opposing students understand that the event is closed.
“We want everyone to know that we aren’t organizing a protest,” she said. “We do have an event called Heartbeat of Mexico that is more inclusive for people who wish to come.”
Heartbeat of Mexico will take place May 9 in the Leatherby Libraries at 6 p.m. Adrian Felix, a professor from the Department of Ethnic Studies at University of California, Riverside, will speak there.
Shapiro will speak to students at 6 p.m. May 9 in the Sandhu Residence and Conference Center.