After receiving national backlash for attempting to censor conservatives, last week DePaul University rolled out a so-called “free speech” series for the 2016-2017 school year that is set to feature a totally imbalanced roster of liberal speakers.
A basic analysis of the speaker lineup reveals a total lack of ideological balance. Six of the eight speakers clearly lean to the Left, one is questionable, and one leans conservative.
When DePaul refused to allow its Young Americans for Freedom chapter to host Ben Shapiro just this August, the school tried to reassure the public that it supports free speech. The ideological breakdown of speakers in this lecture series, however, raises even more questions about the sincerity of the university’s expressed commitment to those important principles.
In an interview with Depaul Newsline, university president Reverend Dennis H. Holtschneider said that the series is meant to “offer perspectives across the political spectrum on various topics, including race, free speech and hate speech, and the current political climate.” In what President Holtschneider described to Newsline as “enrich[ing]” and “inform[ing],” there seems to be more of a desire to inform from one side of the political spectrum only.
For instance, Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson is an outspoken liberal television commentator who has donated money to various leftist campaigns and the Obama For America fund. The series is set to include other professors, including Jeff Chang of Stanford, who’s social media depicts clearly his far-Left ideological orientation, along with Stephanie Shonekan of the University of Missouri, who’s an active proponent of the Black Lives Matter movement, and told the audience in a TED x KC YouTube video that America has an underlying “privilege that has been built on one racial identity.”
Joining them are speakers like Derald Wing Sue, who literally wrote the book on microaggressions. Wing Sue complains that hate incidents on campuses are the result of “discontent, pain, and the feeling of being silenced,” and published a book titled Microaggressions in Everyday Life in 2010. Other speakers include Freeman Hrabowski, a Hillary Clinton supporter, and Martin R. Castro, President and CEO of Castro Synergies, LLC, who has donated to Obama For America and the Obama Victory Fund.
It appears as though the series is only set to include one true proponent of free speech who embraces the conservative viewpoint.
David Hudson of Vanderbilt Universityis an avid supporter of the First Amendmenet who wrote a book titled, Let the Students Speak!
If DePaul was hoping to reassure critics that it is truly supportive of free speech, this lecture series just won’t cut it.
Kelleigh Huber is a student at Grove City College and a graduate of the National Journalism Center.