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.