DePaul University’s Double Standard

By November 11, 2011

Student newspaper The DePaulia ran a student opinion piece on November 8 calling out DePaul University for its double standard regarding freedom of association. The piece by Ernie Enriquez explains that DePaul refuses to give equal treatment to Students for Cannabis Policy Reform (SCPR) simply because of the views the unrecognized student group is promoting. Enriquez quotes SCRP president Jeff Kramer:

This school has an LGBT club, which is a great thing, but it demonstrates that their "Catholic" values have little to do with similar minded people assembling on their grounds. No, this was purely political.

Indeed, as a private university, DePaul would be free to enforce whatever it thinks Catholicism means, were it to advertise itself as a university that censors and punishes heresy. It may not, however, advertise itself as a university dedicated to free speech but then violate its own promises. And this is exactly what it has done. That’s why, as Enriquez notes,

Last spring, a Huffington Post article [written by FIRE's Greg Lukianoff] ranked DePaul as one of the worst colleges for freedom of speech on campus.

Enriquez concludes:

It’s time to re-evaluate where DePaul’s freedom of speech lies in relation to its Catholic and Vincentian values.

That’s what FIRE has said about this case from the beginning. If DePaul does not actually offer freedom of expressive association to SCPR, its promises of free speech are worthless.

Schools: DePaul University