Shapiro brings ‘facts, not feelings’ to UNC Greensboro

UNCG’s Young America’s Foundation chapter hosted event despite protests across campus

Ben Shapiro speaks at the UNC Greensboro YAF event on Monday, April 11, 2022. A.P. Dillon, North State Journal

GREENSBORO — Officials at UNC Greensboro estimated around 2,000 people lined up on April 11 to see conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro give a talk titled “Men Cannot Become Women” in his trademark “facts, not feelings” style. 

The event was hosted by UNC Greensboro’s (UNCG) chapter of the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and is part of the organization’s Fred and Lynda Allen Lecture Series. The 38-year-old Shapiro is currently the editor emeritus at The Daily Wire, which he co-founded with friend Jeremy Boreing, and has worked exclusively with YAF to give lectures on almost 60 college campuses to date. 

UNCG YAF chapter founder and Chair Negar Jadidi gave some opening remarks, including noting their chapter was founded in the “fall of 2020 at the peak of COVID.” 

“A huge thank you to the leftists, who despite their efforts to kick us off campus, gave us free publicity and helped bring Ben Shapiro to UNCG,” Jadidi said in her remarks, referencing an incident in February of this year when UNCG’s YAF chapter came under attack for posting a photo of Shapiro with a quote.  

The quote read “Men cannot become women. Women cannot become men. Men who believe they are women are not real women.”  Following the posting, some students at UNCG began a petition in an unsuccessful attempt to force the school to disband the YAF chapter. 

After being introduced by Jadidi, Shapiro started by acknowledging the reaction to the statement “men cannot become women” and that officials at UNCG were holding a “comfort event” at the same time as his lecture called “Celebrating Queer.” 

After YAF announced the Shapiro event, administrators at UNCG scheduled “Celebrating Queer” at a venue just blocks away. Information related to the event said its main co-hosts were the school’s Dean of Students Office, Campus Activities and Programs, and Office of Intercultural Engagement. 

“Frankly, I think I deserve a lot of credit for getting free food and a live DJ for these folks,” said Shapiro, referring to the “Celebrating Queer” event. “So never say I’ve never done anything for the LGBTQIA plus, minus, divided by sign, percentage sign, ampersand, tilde community.” 

According to YAF, Assistant Dean of Students Brian Daniels confirmed his office’s participation. YAF says Daniels pushed back on “Celebrating Queer” a “counter event,” and instead called it “alternative programming.” 

During his remarks, Shapiro went on to tackle the issue of what is biological sex, the definition of sex, gender identity, and the idea gender is a social construct.  

“This Cartesian idea that you can be a woman in a man’s body because your gender is separate from your sex is, again, not supportable at any level,” Shapiro said.  

He also took aim at President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court Justice nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson who had failed to answer the basic question of what a woman is, instead claiming she couldn’t define the term because she was not “a biologist.” 

One or two hecklers shouted out during Shapiro’s remarks, with one person shouting “F**k you!” several times before being escorted out. Shapiro laughed and retorted that “F**k you is not an argument” and “no thanks, I’m not interested.” 

One UNCG student who got to ask a question boasted about being a “mathematician” and “physicist” and recently winning a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship award. The fellowship, which NSF says is the “oldest graduate fellowship of its kind,” spans five years, including three years of an annual stipend of $34,000 and a “cost of education allowance” of $12,000 paid to the institution. 

A search of the awardee list located four UNCG students but only one individual, Quentin Hosea Merritt, matched the questioner’s description and received an award in “Physics and Astronomy – Quantum Information Science” for 2022.  

North State Journal reached out to UNCG for comment but did not receive a response by publication time. Additionally, the Twitter account for UNCG’s Physics Department limited who can see their tweets after our reporter questioned them about Merritt. 

After boasting about his award, Merritt told Shapiro he “you sound like a Bozo, bro,” and then made a vulgar attack on the sex life of Shapiro and his wife which drew loud boos from the audience. 

“The nice thing about having several small children is that I don’t feel the necessity to have my masculinity challenged by someone like you,” Shapiro said in response.  

Merritt claimed the idea of being “gender binary” is part of a “western colonialist framework of gender” and continued to argue that he was correct because he is a “mathematician and physicist.” 

“As a mathematician and physicist, what in the hell do you know about human biology that allows you to deny it?” responded Shapiro. “And frankly, I would ask another question, if your logic is so flawed as a mathematician and a physicist, I would suggest that whichever institution gave you an award – revoke it immediately.”  

Shapiro went on to take a number of questions and covered topics from abortion to climate change.  

One question touched on the media pushing radical ideologies and a “tipping point coming,” to which Shapiro agreed and the crowd roared with applause when he mentioned the example of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the parental rights bill passed in the state which has drawn attacks from Disney.  

“I think people who are pushing this politically and in the media are not seeing the blowback that’s coming,” said Shapiro. “Honestly, I have never seen anything like it – A political party and the media literally create an interest group out of parents. That’s insane politics.” 

He went on to add “there are 63.9 million people” in the United States with a child and that turning them into a voting block is the “greatest form of political insanity” he’s ever seen. 

Shapiro also weighed in on the possibility of former President Trump running again in 2024. He said he thinks there’s a “poor chance” Biden is reelected, he sees “no one on the Democrat’s bench” and called Vice President Harris the “worst politician” he’s ever seen.  

“Kamala Harris makes Hillary Clinton look like the apex of human charm,” Shapiro said. 

“The biggest mistake Republicans can make, frankly, is to renominate President Trump in 2024,” said Shapiro. “I think it’s a mistake.”  

Shapiro went on to elaborate, saying that Trump is an “established figure” and “whoever the referendum is on in 2024 loses.”  The crowd cheered when he mentioned getting “new blood” in the race, specifically Florida’s DeSantis.  

UNCG YAF’s Ben Shapiro event was free and can be viewed in full on YouTube: https://youtu.be/7pqpT7iZoJw 

About A.P. Dillon 660 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_