Largest Catholic University Blasts 'Unborn Lives Matter' as 'Bigotry'
This is far from the first time DePaul University has stood against free speech. In September, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sent a letter to Holtschneider outlining his university's long track record of silencing partisan opinions.
University officials washed out pro-Trump chalk messages, ostensibly because the university is not allowed to support political candidates. FIRE's Senior Program Officer Ari Cohn explained why this is fundamentally misguided — such messages are assumed to be from students, not the university.
Furthermore, when the College Republicans invited Milo Yiannopoulos to speak, the college first cancelled a room reservation for the event, and then instructed the security staff not to intervene when protesters predictably derailed the speech. Later, when the club aimed to invite him back to finish his remarks, the university denied them, point blank. Indeed, they blamed the unrest at the first event on Yiannopoulos, overlooking their own contributions to it.
DePaul also used the same reasoning to prevent another group, Young Americans for Freedom, from hosting conservative journalist Ben Shapiro at an event this month.
"DePaul has capitulated to the same hostile mob that the Supreme Court warned could not be used to justify burdens or bans on speech," Cohn argued. "In doing so, it has sent a message to its students that all it takes to prevent someone you disagree with from speaking on campus is to cause, or threaten to cause, disruption." For evident reasons, such capitulation inspires more bullying, not less.
"Those disrupting will escape without penalty, and any controversial speakers—even those who have not yet generated any controversy at DePaul itself—will be swiftly banned at the expense of ideological diversity on campus. For shame," Cohn wrote.
This time, with the "Unborn Lives Matter" case, the university hasn't even waited for a "Black Lives Matter" spokesman to express offense — they just curtailed free speech in advance. Not only that, but they curtailed free speech in advocacy of a cause Roman Catholics are supposed to support, in the name of a cause that is not connected to Catholic doctrine. As Cohn wrote, "For shame."