DePaul University: In Multiple Acts of Censorship, DePaul Bans Political Chalking and Two Controversial Speakers
Between April and August 2016, DePaul University banned political chalking on campus and twice prohibited students from inviting controversial speakers. In April, when the DePaul College Republicans used chalk to write messages supporting Donald Trump’s presidential campaign on sidewalks at the university’s Lincoln Park campus. Finding the messages to be “inflammatory,” the grounds crew removed the chalkings. DePaul later informed students that they could not chalk partisan messages on campus due to the university’s status as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity.
After the chalking ban, the College Republicans invited controversial activist Milo Yiannopoulos and secured outside funding for the May 24 event, despite outcry from some DePaul students. DePaul initially attempted to limit the attendance of the event and required the group to pay nearly $1000 to hire additional security. When the event took place, protestors quickly stormed the stage. When the hired security failed to act, the College Republicans called the Chicago Police, who also failed to intervene, reportedly on DePaul’s orders.
In July, DePaul rejected the College Republicans’ plans to re-invite Yiannopoulos, citing his “inflammatory-speech” and security concerns. Weeks later, the university informed DePaul’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter that it could not invite conservative journalist Ben Shapiro because of “security concerns,” due to the fact that Shapiro’s presence had been met with protest at other universities.
FIRE wrote to DePaul on September 8, 2016, demanding that the university honor the free speech promises it makes to students, revise its policy limiting political speech, and cease the practice of banning controversial speakers because objecting students might cause disruption.
September 9, 2016
Every year when FIRE publishes its “Worst Colleges for Free Speech” list, we remind readers that it is not a ranked list, but rather a compilation—in no particular order—of the year’s worst free speech offenders. Occasionally, however, we do wonder which college or university would deserve a spot at the top of a ranked list. Yesterday provided such an occasion, as we sent a letter to DePaul University outlining several months of free speech violations spanning multiple incidents and contemplated the university’s history of violating its community’s expressive rights. DePaul’s most recent series of missteps began in April, when students […]» Read More
August 2, 2016
In an article for The Daily Wire, the vice chairman for DePaul University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, John Minster, revealed that DePaul’s administrators are once again acting as censors, banning another speaker from campus. This time, the school is forcing his group to disinvite conservative commentator Ben Shapiro from speaking on campus. In an email to the group’s executive board, DePaul Vice President of Facilities Operations Bob Janis stated security concerns were the reason for not allowing the editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire to speak at the university. Shapiro addressed these concerns last night on The Kelly File, […]» Read More
May 26, 2016
DePaul University is the latest site of the “heckler’s veto” being deployed to shut down a campus speaker. This time, the target was Milo Yiannopoulos, the conservative commentator and Breitbart contributor, whose controversial statements on campus issues such as trigger warnings and “hate speech” have been a source of contention on other campuses where he’s spoken this year. Fortunately, DePaul’s president, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, has rightly condemned the effort to shut down Yiannopoulous’ speech. In a statement, Holtschneider apologized to the campus chapter of the College Republicans, which hosted Yiannopoulous’ talk: On behalf of the university, I apologize to the […]» Read More