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Member of Marquette faculty attempts to block Ben Shapiro event

Photo by Chrissy Nelson Facebook page

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Monday, Jan. 30, a Marquette staff member commented on Facebook she would be attempting to deter the Feb. 8 Ben Shapiro event sponsored by the Young Americans for Freedom. Shapiro, a conservative lawyer, editor and speaker is to address to Marquette students his viewpoints on campus culture.

Chrissy Nelson, program assistant at the Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies, voiced her displeasure with the event and expressed a goal to block its success.

In her Facebook posts, Nelson said: “The suggestion I received and will be promoting is to go (to) the Mission Week events that day, reserve a seat through Eventbrite as a student (to take a seat away from someone who actually would go) and not protest the day of. I would be in support the day after, so we do not give Ben much power.”

Nelson’s concern stems from a Shapiro promise to make an example of any protesters that he encounters before the talk. All protests opposing Shapiro are slated to occur after the event, according to Nelson’s posts.

“This is what I will be doing. So register as a student (they can’t tell quite honestly). Take a seat away from a student who would go,” Nelson said in her post.

The Facebook posts have since been deleted. The content of these posts is in conflict with university policy, and is being resolved internally.

“As we do with all student groups, our Student Affairs team has been working closely with the Young Americans for Freedom to assist them with their event,” senior director of university communication Brian Dorrington said. “Student Affairs staff members approved their event before Christmas Break without changes, met with them in person to help with event logistics, approved their publicity and met their desire to find a venue with increased capacity. We will work to make sure interested attendees have an opportunity to see Ben Shapiro on Feb. 8.”

Nelson’s posts also seemed to hint that there may be more staff involved, but no names were given.

“I am staff at Marquette. I checked with other staff members just now,” Nelson said in the Facebook post. “Some of them just found out today. I will let my supervisor know it is happening too. I will be communicating with other faculty and staff to extend student support on my end.”

YAF chairman Mark Seeberg, a junior in the College of Business Administration, responded to the posts, calling for the university to investigate and hold accountable anybody attempting to interfere with the event.

“Conservative students at far too many other universities have also experienced the same type of bias,” he said. “Young Americans for Freedom Marquette asks that students from all political backgrounds will defend free speech on our campus, even when certain administrators will not. Free speech does not entitle you to shut down the free speech of others.”

Nelson could not be reached for comment before deadline.

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6 Responses to “Member of Marquette faculty attempts to block Ben Shapiro event”

  1. SHIRLEY BRENNAN on January 31st, 2017 11:46 pm


  2. Zach Bowman on February 1st, 2017 3:53 pm

    This article seems to incorrectly conflate faculty and staff. Can you clarify?

  3. Robert Black on February 1st, 2017 7:53 pm

    Marquette staff members have no right to sabotage speakers on campus. This is crazy! Don’t these people have actual work to do during the day? These people need to get a life. And they need to lose their jobs. Chrissy Nelson needs to be fired. And any other member of the staff involved in this needs to be fired as well.

  4. Little Willie John on February 2nd, 2017 2:20 am

    What are the odds that anyone involved is disciplined in any way?

    Marquette believes in diversity in everything – except opinion.

  5. David Jorling on February 5th, 2017 2:18 pm

    As a Marquette Alum (BA “68, JD “71) and former president of the Marquette Alumni Association (2000-2001) and a progressive, I am deeply disturbed by the prospect that anyone in the Marquette community would attempt to trample on the right of free speech of anyone visiting campus. While MU is a private university and has more authority to enforce the suppression of free speech than public universities, the right to speak up and be heard is a fundamental right of our way of life. What would this faculty member be afraid of. Her attempt at this suppression bespeaks of a fear that she may be wrong, when allowing the speaker on campus to speak would instead. Allowing the speaker to proceed would show the courage of her convictions by being unafraid of those with opposing views, no matter how onerous they might be. As President Obama said: Let them speak. Give them an opportunity to show the foolishness of their point of view.

  6. Lena on January 2nd, 2019 5:55 pm

    As an alumni of Marquette, I pray that the university doesn’t go down the same path as other schools by restricting free speech. Also, what purpose does this teacher’s idea serve? The students that would go see him most likely already know of him anyways and want to see him speak in person. There is no logic to any of this.

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