Ben Shapiro Is Suing the University of Minnesota After They Moved His Speech To A Smaller Campus

Conservative groups are suing the University of Minnesota, arguing that the school violated their free speech rights by moving Ben Shapiro, a conservative political commentator, to its smaller campus in St. Paul. Shapiro, who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, was invited to speak by two campus political organizations, Students for a Conservative Voice and the Young America's Foundation.

The students originally wanted to hold the event in a 1,000-seat hall in the main Minneapolis campus in Minneapolis. Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire and a self-professed advocate of free speech, has often been met by protestors at his events, so when university officials cited safety concerns, the event was moved to a 400-seat ballroom in St. Paul, reported CBS.

The speech held in February attracted a few dozen protestors but the police were able to block off nearby roads to control the crowd.

The plaintiffs of the lawsuit allege that the university has a "Speech Suppression Policy." When asked to clarify, Tyson Langhofer, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom who is defending Shapiro, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "No university official has the authority to suppress viewpoints simply because of how someone might respond to it. Like all government officials, public university administrators have an obligation to respect free speech rights."

In February, the university released a statement that denounced the allegations. “The assertion that the University of Minnesota has ‘downgraded’ or ‘relegated’ the upcoming event featuring Ben Shapiro based on ideological or any other reasons is patently false[…] The University is committed to free speech.”