The UCF Student Government Senate voted Thursday night to allocate $17,875 of student funds to bring political commentator Ben Shapiro to UCF’s main campus.
The vote on Fiscal Bill 52-60 was favorable in its third reading with a final vote 25-15-2. It was previously unfavorable with a vote of 16-17-1 in its second reading.
This decision comes after the College Republicans at UCF asked the senate to fund half of the event using students’ activity and services fee fund.
As of now, the event will be held on March 23 in the Pegasus Grand Ballroom. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
College Republicans Vice Chairman Didi Malka said the venue will accommodate a maximum of 1,000 individuals.
Many of those who attended Thursday’s open forum voiced their thoughts on funding Shapiro’s UCF visit.
Fifty individuals took to the podium to speak their minds. Twenty-eight supported the bill, while 22 opposed it.
Alexander Harris, president of UCF student organization Knights for Bernie, spoke out against the funding of the bill.
“I love free speech,” Harris said. “Free speech is wonderful. But if Ben Shapiro wants to speak to this campus, he can pay for it.”
College Republicans at UCF member Justin Figueroa asked the senate to vote in favor of the bill.
“There is no doubt that [College Republicans at UCF] has followed every rule to have Ben Shapiro come to our community,” Justin Figueroa said. “If you ever have a speaker you want to bring here, I promise I will fight for your rights to have your speaker come here.”
The UCF SG Senate held an open forum on Feb. 6, where current and graduated UCF students voiced their thoughts on bringing Shapiro to UCF’s campus.
Shapiro will be going on a nationwide campus tour during the spring 2020 semester through Young America’s Foundation, according to the foundation’s website.
“Young America’s Foundation organizes the largest campus lecture program in the country,” said YAF spokesman Spencer Brown in a Wednesday email. “Of the speakers with whom YAF works, Ben Shapiro is the most-requested.”