MILWAUKEE -- He has faced angry crowds before, but on Wednesday evening, February 8th in Milwaukee, a controversial speaker sparked a very different reaction. A plan to sabotage Ben Shapiro's speech on Marquette University's campus backfired. In fact, there was a sold-out crowd on hand.
The former Breitbart editor spoke to a sold-out crowd on MU's campus Wednesday evening.
"Some students are pretty upset that I'm allowed to speak here during Black History Month. I was unaware only black people were allowed to speak during Black History Month," Shapiro said.
In his opening remarks, Shapiro didn't shy away from a noted effort to keep him from campus. Those with the hosting group, Young Americans for Freedom said a member of the university's Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies posted a message to Facebook urging people to "reserve a seat as a student (to take a seat away from someone who would actually go) and then not show up."
"Little ironic. The director of diversity wants to ensure people can't hear diverse points of view," Shapiro said.
Shapiro also discussed a letter sent to the university's president by a group in opposition, urging the president to use his position "to stand up for those who are marginalized."
"We had about 30 members, and I think this room holds about 400 people and it's basically packed to the brim," Joe Diamond with Young Americans for Freedom said.
The event was civil, and viewpoints from both sides were expressed.
"By the end of the back and forth, I think we both had been respectful. I think we both learned something. We had both seen a different viewpoint," Patrick Haws, who disagrees with Shapiro said.
Haws said he drove five hours from Minnesota to hear Shapiro speak and ask him a question about institutional racism because he said it's important, especially in this political climate to hear all sides.