The Benson Lecture
Last Wednesday, November 13, Drake University College Republicans hosted Guy Benson for “The Benson Lecture: Coming Out with Guy Benson.” Benson is a political editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor. He also co-authored a book, End of Discussion, and was named to Forbes 30 under 30 list. Benson was set to give a forty-minute lecture on identity politics and social conservatism from the lens of a millennial conservative with a twenty-minute Q&A to follow. He was also featured on our Iowa Caucus Project Podcast hosted by another IACP staffer and spoke to two classes on Wednesday. In light of recent events regarding the denial of Turning Point USA as a recognized student organization on campus which Benson touched on briefly, it was encouraging to have a conservative voice on campus during a time when Democrats are in the spotlight.
Speaking from the perspective of a member of the College Republican executive board, putting the event together was a process. Securing the funding and working out all the subsequent details was more work than expected. That being said, the event went off without a hitch. We had a fantastic turnout, more than we had anticipated. We had set up seventy chairs before the event but had to put up more rows, amounting to over one hundred people in attendance. The diversity of the attendees was interesting. There was a variety of different political ideologies present in the room, though people remained very respectable even if they did not agree with what was being said. The room was full of students, but there were also some faculty and adults in the room including former Congressman David Young, who had helped bring South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to Drake’s campus for a conversation with Drake College Republicans the previous weekend.
We all gathered into the Cowles Reading Room and listened to Benson speak about his life as a millennial conservative, throwing in personal anecdotes riddled with humor and multiple plugs for his book – End of Discussion – which is sold at a very reasonable price on Amazon. Afterward, he answered questions from the audience, including one about how he handles others trying to force him into one ideology based on his sexuality. In a PragerU video, Benson lays out his priorities saying, “I’m a Christian, a patriotic American, and a free-market, shrink-the-government conservative—who also happens to be gay.” His lecture embodied this as he laid out his pro-life and other right-leaning views. After the lecture, the executive board of College Republicans along with Drake University Assistant Dean of Students Tony Tyler and Guy Benson went for a late supper at Django downtown. The night was filled with great food, cocktails (for those of age, of course), and tons of laughs.