UMN Loses Another Donor Over Censorship of Ben Shapiro Lecture

“The University demeans its mission when it mistreats or ignores conservative scholarship and conservative students,” the former donor wrote.

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Credit: Alexius Horatius

MINNEAPOLIS – Another donor to the University of Minnesota (UMN) has pulled his financial support over the school’s censorship of an event featuring conservative commentator Ben Shapiro earlier this year.

In May, a major UMN donor yanked his annual contribution to the school, saying the treatment of Shapiro “was clearly a case of discrimination.” Now another donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, is following suit.

In a letter to outgoing UMN President Eric Kaler obtained by Young America’s Foundation (YAF), the alumnus says he will no longer donate money to the school. Instead the money will go to the conservative organization that sponsored the Shapiro lecture.

“I will no longer donate money to the University of Minnesota during my lifetime or as a bequest at my death,” the alumnus wrote. “Instead, any donations or bequests that were intended for the University of Minnesota will be donated to Young America’s Foundation.”

The alumnus, a 1975 graduate of UMN’s Carlson School of Management, admitted he has “questioned the political atmosphere” at his alma mater for years. However, it was the university’s “strong bias” against conservative students’ efforts to host Shapiro on campus in February that pushed him over the edge.

While attending the Shapiro lecture, the alumnus witnessed a senior representative for UMN going after YAF spokesperson Spencer Brown. During the “unprofessional” confrontation, the faculty member accused Brown of being a “pathological liar” for calling out the university’s anti-conservative bias. Internal emails later revealed UMN administrators did in fact actively censor the event.

“It was embarrassing for all in the vicinity of the confrontation,” the alumnus wrote. “As a University Alumnus it was a further illustration of the bias I felt the University had demonstrated for a long time.”

The alumnus is hopeful UMN “re-evaluates itself and truly adopts a free speech policy with equal access for all political viewpoints.”

“The University demeans its mission when it mistreats or ignores conservative scholarship and conservative students,” he wrote.

Brown praised the alumnus for having the boldness to “hold his alma mater accountable for its anti-conservative and unconstitutional actions.”

“This is now the second University of Minnesota alumnus who has come forward to withdraw financial support,” Brown said. “What we’re seeing are alumni rightfully refusing to give back to the institutions that oppose and even censor their ideas. This patriotic alumnus should be applauded for his decision to hold his alma mater accountable for its anti-conservative and unconstitutional actions.”

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