Double Standard at Seton Hall

By October 9, 2007

Seton Hall University recently denied a request by the College Republicans (CR) to host former Congressman Tom DeLay, arguing that his indictments brought up “legal and ethical questions” that “did not make him an ideal choice” as a speaker at Seton Hall. According to CR president Chris Stark, the group was told that inviting DeLay would not be appropriate to the school’s Catholic mission.

In response, CR communications director Jim McCabe noted Seton Hall’s hypocrisy in choosing which persons and ideas may appear on campus:

Seton Hall has shown the very controversial liberal movie “Loose Change,” as well as heard from countless speakers who engaged in un-Catholic actions, yet when we want to hear from a conservative, the answer is “no.” … Gorbachev came to this campus [in 2005] after we knew he ordered the death of student activists … We welcomed in open arms Iran’s former president [Mohammad Khatami in 2001] who violated human rights, suppressed and abused student activists and started their nuclear program …

In another article, Nathalie Ranger admirably fills out the story of Seton Hall’s double standard. She adds that Seton Hall invited Prince Turki al-Faisal Abdul Aziz Saud, an intelligence head from Saudi Arabia, in 2003, even though he had been “charged in a civil suit with providing aid to the Taliban and Al-Qaida terrorist networks at the time, and was expected to appear in court three days after his visit to the university.” Ranger also reports that in 2001, “Former Gov. James E. McGreevey … was forced to cancel a 2001 town hall meeting set to be on campus because of his support of abortion rights,” even though his speech was to be on other topics entirely.

With these conflicting cases in mind, Ranger writes, “students and faculty frequently disagree on the application of the Catholic mission as it applies to awardees and academic guest speakers.” Indeed, on this basis a reasonable person would find it quite difficult to determine what Seton Hall counts as its mission, Catholic or otherwise.