UConn prepares for dueling College Democrats, Republicans events

STORRS --  On Wednesday, College Republicans and College Democrats are hosting their first events since violence erupted at a College Republicans event with Lucian Wintrich in November.

This time around, both events will be held at the same time.

College Republicans are hosting former Breitbart Editor Ben Shapiro. In response, College Democrats are hosting Current Affairs Editor Nathan Robinson, whose speech is called "Ben Shapiro is Not as Insightful as He Thinks."

"I think that having someone come with that title just to protest someone else coming, it's not exactly tolerant as a whole," said Emily Tuomala, UConn's College Republicans vice president.

"I wish that the College Democrats, instead of trying to set up a second event to draw away dissenters, had actually participated in our event and we could have a better discussion," said Ben Shapiro, who spoke to FOX61 by phone Tuesday afternoon.

College Democrats and Nathan Robinson disagree.

"We wanted to have an event that would allow people who disagree with Ben Shapiro to discuss what was going on on campus, but not feel the need to go to Ben Shapiro's event and protest it," said Colin Mortimer of College Democrats.

"I think people on the progressive left, there's a reason why they want to fight back against those things, and there's a reason why they want to put on counter programming," said Robinson.

UConn is beefing up security for both events. Attendees will need tickets to get in. UConn and private security will be doing bag checks and using metal detectors. Only UConn students and staff, as well as those on a select guest list, are allowed to attend.

Ben Shapiro will speak at Rome Commons in the South Campus complex from 7-8:30 p.m., Wednesday.

Nathan Robinson will speak in Konover Auditorium in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center from 7-8:30 p.m., Wednesday.