Wristbands for the event were supposed to be given out starting at 1 p.m., but organizers said they started handing them out at 11:30 a.m., because the line was so long. Of the event's 500 tickets, 150 non-reserved tickets were gone by about 1:05 p.m.
"I got there around 12, thinking there would be a long line and sure enough, there was," said UConn graduate student Michael Damone.
Tickets for a College Democrats counter-event with 'Current Affairs' editor Nathan Robinson were still available hours after they became available.
The tickets and wristbands are part of a new security process put in place after conservative commentator Lucian Wintrich's chaotic campus visit in November.
UConn Police Department and private security will be conducting bag checks and using metal detector wands at the event entrances. Only UConn students and staff, as well as a list of invited guests, are allowed to attend.
Both Shapiro and Robinson are scheduled to speak from 7-8:30 p.m. Shapiro will speak inside Rome Commons, while Robinson will speak inside Konover Auditorium.
Bag checks at Rome Commons began around lunchtime as students came in for the dining hall.
College Republicans President Tim Sullivan called it a tragedy that both talks are happening at the same time.
"This event was hosted so we could have discussions on campus with Democrats, Republicans, conservatives and liberals," said Sullivan.
College Democrats Vice President Stephanie Goebel said there was no win-win.
"There's never an acceptable form of protest," said Goebel. "You come, you show up to the event, you ask questions, well then, you're a liberal crybaby. And then if you come and you protest, you're inciting violence."
All students receiving tickets or wristbands to tonight's talks were also given a flyer, reminding them about free speech rights, as well as a list of items not allowed inside, ranging from wagons to explosives to liquids.