NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
Try to follow this logic: Students vandalize a pro-life display at a university, and the student who exposes those behind the crime gets in trouble.
That’s what happened at DePaul University in Chicago – the nation’s largest Catholic university, no less.
The student in question, Kristopher Del Campo, has been placed on probation after being found responsible for multiple conduct violations, including one that absurdly brands the publication of the names as “disorderly, violent, intimidating or dangerous,” the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education reports.
Del Campo must also complete an “educational project” in the form of a reflection letter.
“Kristopher Del Campo’s group was the victim of a politically motivated crime—and yet DePaul University is punishing Del Campo for naming the people who committed the crime,” said FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley.
…On January 22, the DePaul chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, having attained the required permits, erected a pro-life display consisting of roughly 500 pink and blue flags planted in the ground of the campus quad to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’sRoe v. Wade decision. That afternoon, numerous DePaul students vandalized the display by tearing the flags from the ground and throwing them in trash cans around campus. Del Campo, YAF’s chairman, reported the vandalism to DePaul’s Department of Public Safety, which investigated.
With the investigation completed, DePaul Assistant Dean of Students Domonic Rollins provided Del Campo with a report from the Department of Public Safety, containing the names of 13 DePaul students who had admitted to vandalizing YAF’s display. On February 5, the national YAF organization posted this document on its website. On February 8, DePaul notified Del Campo that he was suspected of violating DePaul’s Code of Student Responsibility—including a charge of “Disorderly, Violent, Intimidating or Dangerous Behavior,” which encompasses “creat[ing] a substantial risk of physical harm,” “causing significant emotional harm,” and “bullying.”
… FIRE wrote to DePaul’s president, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, on February 21, making clear that Del Campo had the right to publicly identify the students who had admitted to vandalizing his group’s display, and that labeling him as a potentially dangerous threat for doing so made a mockery of DePaul’s free speech promises.
Del Campo plans to appeal these sanctions.