University Relocates and Restricts Attendance of Conservative Speaker’s Event Due to ‘Security Concerns’

November 11, 2019 Updated: November 11, 2019

The University of Pennsylvania is relocating a scheduled event by conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza and blocking public attendance due to “security concerns,” according to the school’s news publication.

The student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian reported on Nov. 8 that the university administration decided to move the D’Souza event from ARCH Building to a new location, citing security concerns. The attendance will also be restricted to PennCard cardholders only.

“The event sponsored by the College Republicans has not been cancelled—we are working with the students to relocate it to a venue that will provide the speaker and attendees improved access and security,” University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian. “The event is open to all members of the Penn community with PennCards.”

The Indian-born American filmmaker confirmed the relocated venue on Twitter, saying: “It’s restricted attendance. No livestream.”

Hosted by UPenn’s political student group College Republicans, D’Souza’s lecture titled “A Legal Immigrant’s Case Against Multiculturalism” was originally scheduled on Nov. 12 at the ARCH building, where the university’s three cultural centers—the Pan-Asian American Community House, The Black Cultural Center “Makuu,” and La Casa Latina—are all located.

A longtime critic of multiculturalism, D’Souza contests the idea that all cultures are equal and any culture is no better or worse than any other. A PragerU video featuring D’Souza, in which he defends the superiority of Western and American cultures, has generated 1.3 million views on YouTube since September 2017.

D’Souza is also known for his several political films, including the 2016 documentary “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party” and the 2012 documentary “2016: Obama’s America.” In his latest politically charged documentary, “Death of a Nation,” D’Souza draws a comparison between Abraham Lincoln and President Donald Trump, who pardoned D’Souza last year after D’Souza plead guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws in 2014.

“I was incredibly shocked and disappointed to receive this email, especially at such short notice,” UPenn’s Danielle Yampolsky, the president of College Republicans, told the national conservative student group Young America’s Foundation (YAF). “Nevertheless, I am committed to promoting free speech and diversity of thought on Penn’s campus and am looking forward to getting this resolved and welcoming Mr. D’Souza to campus.”

On its website, The YAF called the school’s abrupt change over the event “a textbook example of an elite, liberal university trying to limit the reach of conservative ideas.”