DePaul University: Discrimination against Student Organization

Category: Free Speech
Schools: DePaul University

In Spring 2010, the student group Students for Cannabis Policy Reform (SCPR) submitted an application for formal recognition at DePaul. After holding up SCPR’s application for several months, Director of Student Life Suzanne Kilgannon rejected the group’s application on September 15, 2010, stating that recognizing the group “would send an institutional message that [Vice President for Student Affairs James R. Doyle] believes we are not prepared to manage.” This denial clearly violated DePaul’s promises of freedom of speech and association. After FIRE wrote to DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider on September 30, Doyle defended DePaul’s discrimination against SCPR by stating that recognized student groups must “be congruent with our institutional goals regarding the health and well-being of our students” and that “[c]onsiderable research indicates that the use of cannabis does not contribute to healthy decision-making, particularly in college-age populations.” DePaul has failed to respond to FIRE’s second letter pointing out the deficiencies in DePaul’s reasoning.

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  • DePaul Alumnus Speaks out Against University’s ‘Managing’ of Ideas

    April 5, 2011

    As I wrote here a few weeks ago, the DePaul University administration has offered shifting explanations, none of them satisfactory or in line with the free speech promises DePaul makes to its students, for its refusal to recognize the student group Students for Cannabis Policy Reform. Regarding a February 28 article in The DePaulia, I wrote of DePaul Vice President for Student Affairs James Doyle (emphasis mine): [I]n a February 28, 2011, article in the student newspaper The DePaulia, Doyle … distorts SCPR’s goals and confirms that the group is being discriminated against on the basis of its viewpoint, but nonetheless […]

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  • The Shifting Sands of DePaul University’s Censorship of Student Group

    March 4, 2011

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  • How Did DePaul University Get on FIRE’s ‘Worst 12′ List?

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    Hopefully by now you’ve seen FIRE’s picks for “The 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” at The Huffington Post. Six of them were relatively obvious choices—those being the six schools currently on FIRE’s Red Alert list, the “worst of the worst,” as we often say. Given the hundreds of other schools out there, many with one or more red-light speech codes as rated in FIRE’s Spotlight database, what went into deciding which others made our “dirty dozen”? Well, repeat run-ins with FIRE, repeated free speech offenses over the years, and having incredibly bad speech codes that violate clear promises of free […]

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    November 19, 2010

    The annual fall general assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) concluded its four-day sessions in Baltimore yesterday. Of interest to FIRE and interested Torch readers is that just prior to the assembly’s beginning on Monday, USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education accepted the recommendations from a working group of bishops and college presidents on how to evaluate the success of Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Vatican’s blueprint for Catholic colleges. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported Monday: Ex corde, the Vatican’s document to guide Roman Catholic colleges, was released by Pope John Paul II in 1990. The U.S. […]

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  • Discriminatory Treatment of Student Organizations at DePaul University

    October 18, 2010

    DePaul University is engaging in unjust and deceptive viewpoint discrimination against student organizations despite its promise to support “robust debate and exposure to differing points of view.” After DePaul manipulated its student organization policy to deny equal treatment to Students for Cannabis Policy Reform—a point of view the university evidently disfavors—the group came to FIRE for help, but DePaul has refused to back down from its discriminatory policy. As Greg said in today’s press release, “DePaul University promises student groups freedom of expression, but instead delivers censorship. If DePaul wants its guarantees of free inquiry and debate to be taken […]

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  • Discriminatory Treatment of Student Organizations at DePaul University

    October 18, 2010

    CHICAGO, October 18, 2010—DePaul University is engaging in unjust and deceptive viewpoint discrimination against student organizations despite its promise to support “robust debate and exposure to differing points of view.” After DePaul manipulated its student organization policy to deny equal treatment to Students for Cannabis Policy Reform—a point of view the university evidently disfavors—the group came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “DePaul University promises student groups freedom of expression, but instead delivers censorship,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “If DePaul wants its guarantees of free inquiry and debate to be taken seriously, it should […]

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