Posters announcing Ben Shapiro’s visit to UCSB were found vandalized seven hours after College Republican members placed them on campus Thursday morning.
Shapiro is scheduled to visit the campus Feb. 21, but the event has faced opposition from many students and faculty.
Shapiro, former Breitbart editor and current editor-in-chief at the Daily Wire, last spoke at UCSB in 2013. The UCSB College Republicans received $5,000 in October to bring Shapiro to campus and $650 will be designated to security for the event.
Following a six-hour public forum, the A.S. Senate approved the financing despite outcry from several students who believed Shapiro’s lecture would encourage hateful rhetoric against minority groups.
Violent protests that erupted at UC Berkeley Feb. 1 during a visit by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos have since aggravated safety concerns.
Yiannopoulos spoke at UCSB in 2016 for a “Feminism is Cancer” event and planned to return to UCSB, but College Republicans cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.
College Republicans President Andrew Gates said he will work with the Office of Student Life and the university to ensure student safety and security during Shapiro’s lecture.
Gates said he is “definitely concerned” that Shapiro’s event will face violent protests, but he also said the controversy will not prevent College Republicans from advertising and supporting the event.
Shapiro will critique the Black Lives Matter movement, and Gates said he hopes the event will bring an “honest dialogue that presents an opposing opinion on campus.”
He insisted that the critique does not mean to say the lives of black people do not matter, but to show that certain components of the BLM movement are “irrational.”
Gates said the spray paint vandalism Thursday morning was “extremely asinine and childish.”
“Stop doing it,” Gates said, addressing the vandals. “We’re not going to stop promoting the event. In fact, by destroying our property, you are only mobilizing more conservatives to want to promote the hell out of this event to make sure it is successful.”
“If things get more intense than just writing on a sign — which I’m sure they will, judging by the Milo event in Berkeley — you’re only creating a bad narrative for yourself,” he said.