AMS statement on Ben Shapiro’s talk at UBC
AMS services available to those that feel targeted or threatened.
On October 31, conservative American pundit Ben Shapiro will speak at UBC’s Chan Centre. In the past, Shapiro has publicly made remarks that could be regarded as denigrating and hateful about transgender, queer, and people of Arab heritage, and his website Daily Wire has disparaged Indigenous peoples. The AMS is very concerned that Shapiro’s talk at UBC will stoke intolerance and discrimination based on race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We fear that some students at UBC will feel threatened and targeted by Shapiro’s message.
In our constitution the AMS has as an objective “to promote unity and goodwill amongst its members.” The AMS therefore denounces all forms of violence and marginalization on campus, regardless of at whom it is directed.
The event sponsor, the UBC Free Speech Club, has billed Shapiro’s talk as an opportunity to promote dialogue around free speech on campus. The AMS sees the $60 minimum ticket price as prohibitive to many students and believes the event is not designed to facilitate inclusive or constructive dialogue, but rather provides a platform for Ben Shapiro and his views.
The AMS met with the UBC Free Speech Club in September to highlight our concerns and urge them to cancel the event. The Free Speech Club informed the AMS that they would be going ahead with Shapiro’s talk.
We are aware that many students and community members might feel concerned about Shapiro’s talk promoting intolerance and discrimination, and strongly support the rights of anyone who plans to peacefully protest the event.
For those who may feel targeted by Shapiro or those inspired by his remarks, the AMS has several services available to those students:
- The Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) offers ongoing confidential emotional support to people of all genders affected by sexualized and gender-based violence and oppression, as well as their friends and family. SASC is open every day from 8am – 10pm on the third floor of the Nest, room 3127. SASC operates from a feminist, intersectional and trauma-informed approach. People can drop in or book an appointment by calling (604) 827-5180.
- Speakeasy provides peer support, information and guidance in a safe space of non-judgment and acceptance. The service is available for students and faculty members; no issue is too big or too small. The Speakeasy reception desk is located on the third floor of the Nest, room 3125. Appointments can be booked online at: calendly.com/speakeasyvice.
- Safewalk is a transportation service that accompanies students, staff and visitors with its driving and walking teams across UBC after dusk. Safewalk prioritizes those who are vulnerable and feel unsafe travelling alone, allowing them to travel with a greater sense of security from one location to another. To use Safewalk, call (604) 822-5355 or use a UBC Blue Phone and ask for Safewalk.
- Campus Security provides 24/7 security services including security patrols, security dispatch and alarm response, access control, investigations, threat assessment & management, event security, crime prevention initiatives, community outreach, and security technology. To call Campus Security, call (604) 822 2222. In case of an emergency, requiring immediate assistance, please call 911.