The UCSB College Republicans continued their annual keynote speaker event on Thursday, May 9th with Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of Breitbart.com and FOX News contributor.
The discussion topic focused on the national dialogue surrounding 2nd Amendment rights, specifically the emotive “bullying” strategies that left-leaning media outlets use to substantiate their position. The Club invited students, faculty, and community members from any part of the political spectrum to come and hear an alternative point of view than is the consensus on the UCSB campus.
Ben Shapiro is the author of several national bestsellers and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows around the nation. Shapiro’s talk will focus on themes from his most recent book, titled Bullies which underscores the ways rhetorical intimidation and “bullying” has become a go-to tactic of left-leaning outlets.
“I couldn’t be more excited about speaking to students at UCSB about how to fight in favor of gun rights,” Ben Shapiro said via email. “In future years, America’s young people will be bearing the burden of the decisions older Americans make now, and I hope this event is a call to action for them.”
“We’ve been calling the topic of our event a ‘Ben Shapiro Burrito,’” joked outgoing UCSB College Republicans Executive Director Sara Callahan, who spearheaded the event. “The gun control debate, media bias, and bullying tactics are all Shapiro’s strong suits. We wanted an event that would showcase Shapiro and also appeal to a wide range of people. So although the event favored the Right, we had hoped the audience be made up of people variously interested in gun rights, broadcast media, and politics in general.”
In years past the guest speakers have been much more controversial, including the Karl Rove event that filled Campbell Hall in 2010, and David Horowitz lecture which sparked a counter-event by the Muslim Student Association. This year, the Club aimed more for topical than controversial.
“We chose not to feature a gun image on the poster because did not want to be offensive for the sake of being offensive. By being less controversial we’re attracting a broader audience, of people who might not turn out if we advertised in an overtly controversial way,” said College Republican Marketing Director, Amy de Venoge. “The ultimate goal of our speaker event is to give students the opportunity to hear a side of the argument they may not have heard on our liberal campus before. The way to do that is by not turning people off from the outset.”
In a rev-up to the event, the Club took 15 students to the Winchester Canyon Gun Club last weekend for shooting practice. Almost half of the attendees were members of the Campus Democrats. The Club hopes the Ben Shapiro event gets similar attendance from the Left.
Alice Gilbert, newly elected President of the club, said the biggest aim of the evening was to represent the other side of the story on campus. “We’re really excited to bring Ben Shapiro here because we feel that he will appeal to the youth on campus and spark interesting, open discussion about the gun control debate.”
The College Republicans look forward to a productive conversation that will lead to students being more mindful of media strategies, regardless of which news outlet they prefer.