Officials at America’s largest Catholic university denied a student group’s request to display pro-life posters on campus out of concern that their message may provide other students.
The message on the posters proclaimed, “Unborn lives matter.”
The DePaul University College Republicans created the stark, white lettering on black sign and submitted it to the administration for approval, with the belief that its distinctly pro-Catholic message would be a shoo-in.
DePaul University President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider ruled against their display, citing a need to shield other students from “bigotry” under the “cove of free speech.”
Huh? Bigotry? What about…?
— Novus Ordo Watch (@NovusOrdoWatch) October 21, 2016
The College Republicans were dumbfounded.
“Once again, DePaul University has shown its true colors,” club Vice President John Minster told The DailyWire. “Rather than standing up for the pro-life and free speech ethics this ‘Catholic’ university claims to uphold, administration has bent the knee to radical leftists, banning more speech despite the pro-life message. These habitual violations of students’ rights are why organizations like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have claimed DePaul University may be the worst school for free speech in the nation. Sadly, administration is proving FIRE correct.”
In a statement, Holzschneider denied the claim that the university was curtailing free speech.
“Nothing can be further from the truth,” the university president said. “As we experienced last spring, it’s not difficult to agree that there is a difference between a thoughtful discussion about immigration and a profane remark about Mexicans scrawled in the quad, or between a panel on racial climate and a noose — a powerful symbol of violence and hatred — outside a residence hall. In both recent cases, the first, we encourage; the second, we abhor.”
He followed his statement up with a letter addressed to the entire campus body.
“By our nature, we are committed to developing arguments and exploring important issues that can be steeped in controversy and, oftentimes, emotion,” Holtschneider wrote. “Yet there will be times when some forms of speech challenge our grounding in Catholic and Vincentian values. When that happens, you will see us refuse to allow members of our community to be subjected to bigotry that occurs under the cover of free speech.”
The administration did say, however, that it would be open to another poster depicting a pro-life message — just not “Unborn lives matter.”
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