DePaul University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom says they will defy an administration ban on “controversial” speakers, and go ahead with an event next week at the Chicago school featuring conservative speaker Ben Shapiro and “Based Mom” Christina Hoff Summers.
Late Friday, YAF issued an open letter to DePaul University’s administration, noting that they could no longer accept DePaul’s argument that Shapiro did not “substantively contribute” to campus discourse, and that “security concerns” warranted keeping him off campus.
DePaul’s Vice President of Facilities, Bob Janis, issued the ban in August, telling YAF students that they could not host the author and radio show personality. He said this decision was based on an experience with the provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos — whose detractors shouted down and attacked speakers. DePaul’s modest security forces simply could not handle the ensuing chaos.
DePaul’s former President was forced to confront angry protests after he failed to “adequately apologize” to students allowing an opposing viewpoint on campus –and after Yiannopolous threatened DePaul with a lawsuit for failing to protect him, despite requiring him to pay for additional security.
“Given the experiences and security concerns that some other schools have had with Ben Shapiro speaking on their campuses, DePaul cannot agree to allow him to speak on our campus at this time,” Janis wrote.
Since then, however, Shapiro has spoken at several schools, including Yale and UT Austin, without incident — as has Milo Yiannopolous, whose “Dangerous Faggot” tour has criss-crossed several states. YAF argues that it’s DePaul’s students, and not its invited speakers, that create the problem.
DePaul’s YAF branch also note that DePaul claims to have doubled down on its commitment to free speech and the open exchange of ideas on campus, creating a “free speech” speaker series (that did not feature any conservative speakers). Hosting Shapiro, they contend, would be well in line with that commitment.
Challenging the administration to be true to its ideals, the YAF students wrote:
Will you uphold free speech? Will you allow the supposed dialogue you so often revere to actually take place? Will you reject our Guiding Principles on Speech and Expression and the promises you made regarding students’ speech rights? Do you have such little faith in the student body and the institution that one person expressing a different (and quite common) point of view will cause students to commit acts of violence?
Choosing to stop the event, YAF warned, would be a “sad admission of DePaul’s rejection of its values and its utter lack of faith in its student body.”
Should DePaul’s security forces not intercede, the event, with both Summers and Shapiro, will take place at 5pm on Tuesday in DePaul’s Cortelyou Commons area.
Ed note: The story originally implied that DePaul’s former President resigned as a direct result of Milo Yiannopolous’s complaints against the school. In fact, his resignation was in process before the event.