(WTNH)–Peace and order ruled the day at UConn as former editor-at-large of Breitbart News, Ben Shapiro, spoke. Last time a controversial conservative speaker came to the school, chaos broke out, and a woman was arrested for stealing commentator Lucian Wintrich‘s speech.
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On Wednesday night, Shapiro opened up by referencing the incident with Wintrich, saying that if anyone wanted to come up and take his speech, he had copies. It toned the mood down. While last time there was conflict, this time there was security, a message getting through, and questions taken from the audience.
“I’m always amazed a little bit by the amount of upset that my speeches cause,” Shapiro said during his speech. “Apparently, I have heard that I am a danger to the student body in some way, so much so that the university’s Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, the most useless title in all of academia, sent a letter suggesting that students who feel threatened by my presence should reach out to the cultural centers, the Dean of Student’s office, or the university’s Office of Counseling and Mental Health Services.”
It was all quiet in the Rome Commons on the UConn campus. There were no fireworks, smoke bombs, broken glass, or arrests on Wednesday night. There was a heavy ring of security around the room, as more than 50 police officers, security guards and firefighters stood to ensure free speech.
“If you think about free speech, it’s our right to state our opinion in public. I think a lot of times these days, if you look at the polarization, it’s just people yelling at each other,” said UConn senio Nick Vertefeuille.
Shapiro said he appreciated the security at UConn Wednesday. He said one of the things he wanted to do was allow people who disagreed with him to cut the line and ask questions, so they could engage in a good dialogue.
Shapiro addressed the transgender and woman’s movement, disparity in crime and economic prosperity between races, and said in America, it’s up to you to make your own way.
“In the freest society in the history of the world, no one cares enough about you to get in your way. Colleges unfortunately across the country, teach the exact opposite message, and say that any failings that you may have in your life are due to some sort of institutional problem.”