DPS prepares for potential protests against Ben Shapiro’s appearance on campus

Students voiced concern that designated protesting areas do not eliminate safety concerns.

Ben Shapiro's lecture this coming Thursday evening at USC has created unrest on campus because of his controversial beliefs. DPS said they are prepared to ensure the safety of the event.

Ben Shapiro, the editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire, will speak at USC Bovard tomorrow at 7 p.m. The event is organized by the Young Americans for Freedom at USC.

USC Student for Justice in Palestine is hosting a protest called "Say NO to Shapiro" at Tommy Trojan at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. In a statement released on Sept. 26, the student group called Ben Shapiro "a racist, transphobic, misogynist."

USC Black Student Assembly and USC Latinx Student Assembly voiced concern that "[Ben Shapiro] is known to be a purveyor of hate speech."

Maxwell Brandon, the chairman of USC Young Americans for Freedom, said in an interview on Sept. 24 that "there is really a lot of intolerance to conservative ideas. We are trying to separate liberals and leftists. Liberals are someone who disagrees with us but we can have a conversation with. Leftists are people who just stand there and call us Nazis, and they want to shut down our event. "

The Department of Public Safety is focusing on one thing: student security.

DPS Assistant Chief David Carlisle assured students that to their knowledge, there "shouldn't be any violence." He added that "[they] prepare for that anyway." Both DPS and LAPD officers plan to patrol the parameter of campus, in case that potential threats arise. The entrance to Bovard Auditorium will also be fenced off to prevent those without tickets to the event from entering, according to Carlisle.

USC will allow protesting but only in Alumni Park and Founders Park. "Students have the right to express themselves, but we as a university have the right to a reasonable time and space on campus," Carlisle said. The idea is to keep opposing sides separate.

However, some students said they still don't feel confident that designated protest areas solve the safety issue. Stella Harris of Students for Justice in Palestine argued that having protestors kept away from the event will not help with safety. Rather, she said this decision is "condescending and that it will, if anything, irritate people further."

DPS has a special unit that is trained to maintain safety at these types of events. Carlisle said that because of this, DPS feels prepared for Shapiro's on-campus talk tomorrow.

Tickets for the event have already sold out, but the talk will be live-streamed for those unable to attend.