Thursday, December 22, 2005

Orwell would love DePaul 

Back in October I wrote about the attempt to gag the DePaul University College Republicans' flyers protesting a visit to the campus by Ward Churchill to speak to student groups. The CRs were banned from a workshop Churchill held for other student groups, and told they could not post "propaganda". FIRE is now involved in protecting the CRs.
On November 23, FIRE wrote to DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider to protest the university�s actions, urging the Catholic institution to reject �policies that place students� individual rights and personal integrity at the mercy of university officials who are free to censor students at will.� Holtschneider replied on December 12, incorrectly claiming that the word �propaganda� is not part of any policy at DePaul. Nevertheless, he defended DePaul�s policy, insisting that it �is enforced equally for all topics and positions. Advertisements of speakers are posted. Denunciations of speakers are not posted.� Yet FIRE�s research shows that the policy was amended to reflect this only after the College Republicans� flyers were denied approval.

�It is immoral for DePaul to expect its students to abide by a policy that is selectively enforced, constantly shifting, and disavowed even by the university�s president,� said [FIRE director Greg] Lukianoff. �DePaul�s Orwellian attempts to rewrite history by changing its policies without notice�and then using the changes to retroactively justify repression�are also extremely disturbing.�
Enforced equally? Well, perhaps: There was a set of posters for student government in 2003 that included statements about kicking Coca-Cola off campus for its international labor practices, and these were reportedly taken down (source). But given the rest of DePaul's politics, it's hard to believe that DePaul wasn't taking a small peek at viewpoint when deciding who got to see Churchill.

As for Churchill? Must have been a fine time had by all.