Letter to the Editor

December 5, 2005

John J. Miller’s “Pariahs, Martyrs — and Fighters Back” (Oct. 24) casts some much-needed rays of sunlight on the double standards currently running rampant on our nation’s campuses. The academic establishment jealously protects the free speech and academic freedom of the likes of Ward Churchill, but time after time violates the rights of those who don’t toe the party line. Prof. Thomas Klocek, a conservative, Kerry-supporting Democrat whose situation Miller examined in detail, was fired from DePaul University for engaging students in a heated discussion about Israel and the Palestinian territories. (He was butting heads with students who compared Israel to Nazi Germany.)

It turns out DePaul’s war on liberty is continuing. In October, administrators removed a flier that the DePaul College Republicans had posted to criticize an upcoming speech by — who else? — Ward Churchill. The students noted that Churchill once said “Right on!” regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and they labeled Churchill a “hatemonger.” Apparently that relatively straightforward conclusion violated a DePaul prohibition on “propaganda” — but, needless to say, Churchill’s own speech was judged to be on a higher intellectual plane.

DePaul, unfortunately, is living proof that it is not just professors like Klocek who are in trouble these days: Thanks to widespread speech codes (cloaked as they are beneath unassuming names) and mandatory diversity training, students do not have it any better. How ironic that the very folks who challenged “the establishment” in the Sixties now make it up — and they happily deny others the rights they so vociferously demanded for themselves.

Charles Mitchell

Philadelphia, Pa.

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Schools: DePaul University Cases: DePaul University: Professor Suspended for Expression Without Due Process