A high-profile conservative commentator spoke at the University of Tennessee Wednesday night. Ben Shapiro is a radio host and former editor of the conservative media outlet Breitbart. When asked to speak at other colleges, his presence drew protests.
Last month, he visited the campus of the University of California Berkeley. Police wore full riot gear and arrests were made.
However, it was a much quieter reception at UT at a sold out event. Nearly 400 students and adults filed in to hear Shapiro speak.
“Intrigued in the way that he opens up both schools of thought so we just thought it would be good to be here,” said Caleb Barnett
Barnett is a fan of Shapiro’s podcast. He waited in line two hours before the event. He came with his friend Joe Robertson who made the almost three hour trip from Murfreesboro
“He has logically based ideals about everything he has to say,” said Robertson.
One group, the Young Democratic Socialists, peacefully preached their values. They set up at the front door.
“To show there is an alternative. There is the potential for a better world, a more fair world as opposed to believing we need to go back to 1950s America,” said one member.
Some fans said his speech was more philosophical than political. Others praised his push for students to hear out opinions they may disagree with.
“The idea of trying to shut down people you may disagree with is a very dangerous idea and I think that’s what the main point of tonight was,” said another attendee.