SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a conservative commentator’s speech that’s drawn protest at the University of Utah (all times local):
Dozens of people at the University of Utah have protested before a speech by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro in a largely peaceful display.
More than 100 protesters carrying signs with slogans like “Hate is not Welcome Here” and “Bigotry Kills” gathered on Wednesday night.
A few dozen counterprotesters gathered nearby led to tension and occasional verbal volleys, but not serious clashes.
Several police officers stood near the protest, and many more watched over the building where Shapiro spoke, located a short walk away.
The lines of police cars and barricades came after Utah administrators visited the University of California, Berkeley, where officials created huge police presence to ward off violent protests at a Shapiro appearance.
The University of Utah is barring face masks and planning a significant police presence as it prepares for a speech by the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, whose appearance set for Wednesday night has already drawn protests at the Salt Lake City campus following discord in places like California and Wisconsin.
University spokesman Chris Nelson says officials are trying to keep both protesters and attendees of the speech safe while avoiding a “police state” atmosphere on campus.
Administrators traveled to Berkley earlier this month to learn from University of California preparations for a speech by the ex-Brietbart editor that included a heavy police presence.
Free tickets for Shapiro’s talk expected to critique identity politics and left-leaning ideas were quickly snatched up by Utah students who waited in long lines.