After receiving significant backlash for canceling a speech from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, Grand Canyon University (GCU) decided to reverse its decision.
Still, it was a complicated set of arrangements. The Christian university’s administration went back and forth with Young America’s Foundation (YAF), the organization through which Shapiro speaks, in a “contentious” days-long process.
GCU said it initially denied Shapiro last week because “a number of students on campus expressed their concern that this speaker would bring a feeling of divisiveness to the campus based on some of his previous speaking appearances.”
After receiving backlash, the school met with YAF spokesman Spencer Brown and students in the school’s YAF chapter this past Monday, but because they couldn’t agree on a joint statement Tuesday, they decided to boot out YAF from the process.
“The university is extending an official invitation directly to Mr. Shapiro and his organization in conjunction with the GCU YAF chapter students to organize an event where he would come to campus and present to interested students,” GCU spokesman, Bob Romantic, said in a statement Tuesday, adding, “GCU’s administration is not interested in working with YAF’s national office as a result of its continued disparagement of the university, the false and misleading statements it has made, and its expressed strategy to use media pressure to achieve its goals.”
Brown fought back. “GCU administrators claim to support conservatives, but at every turn, they have attempted to shame, bully, and intimidate the young people working hard to bring Ben Shapiro to campus,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
As a result of kicking YAF out of the conversation, the Daily Wire editor-in-chief and host of The Ben Shapiro Show declined the offer in a tweet.
“I have worked with YAF and YAF students for years,” Shapiro wrote Wednesday. “I will not go around the hard-working, dedicated YAF students at GCU; I’ll go to GCU when YAF brings me to GCU.”
However, on Thursday, Brown revealed that YAF and GCU finally reached an agreement and signed a contract enabling Shapiro to appear.
The school said its initial decision had nothing to do with Shapiro’s ideology, which aligns with the “openly avowed conservative institution.”