If DePaul University Has to Ban Conservative Speakers Due to "Security Concerns," They Need to Rethink Their Admissions Process
Breaking news this morning as DePaul University has informed its Young Americans for Freedom that conservative commentator is banned from speaking on campus -- due to "security concerns."
In other words, DePaul is afraid of its student body. It can't trust its students to be civil. It can't trust the very students who demand a "safe space" for themselves...
to not endanger the safety and well-being of students and speakers who disagree with them.
Here is my unsolicited advice to DePaul, as well as its students:
DePaul administrators -- you clearly need to rethink your admissions process. You clearly need to rethink your institutional priorities. You clearly need to rethink the values and standards you want your students and faculty to embody.
If you can't trust your students not to assault and interrupt invited speakers -- if you can't trust your students to act like law-abiding adults -- then something is seriously wrong with your campus.
Stop admitting students who you think could be a danger to the adults you are hired and invited to teach your students and enrich their academic experience. Start disciplining students who demonstrate that they are a danger to those around them.
Current high school/prospective DePaul students -- Do not apply to this school. Education is important -- but your personal safety should be your top priority. DePaul has demonstrated that it does not value academic discourse, which will severely limit your intellectual opportunities. But, more importantly, DePaul is apparently not a "safe space" for people who disagree with far left regressive dogma.
Why would you choose to attend a school that both limits your ability to learn and cannot guarantee your physical safety in the event that other students disagree with your ideas?
Also keep in mind: even if DePaul is the "best" school you get into, Going to Stanford (or whatever Top School) Doesn't Mean You'll Get a Stanford Education, and Going to a State School Doesn't Mean You Won't.
In the digital age, there is no limit to what you can learn -- whether from an under-funded public school, or even from your own bedroom. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't limit yourself. Consider these students at Brown.
They got into one of the best schools in the world. They could be doing anything. But instead, they are having "panic attacks" and failing out of class... because of "activism responsibilities."
Instead of applying for prestigious service fellowships or getting involved in undergraduate research, they're challenging themselves by learning little chants, like, ""From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”
The students pictured above are missing class and handing in assignments late because they don't think human rights activist and Zionist Natan Sharansky, who spent nine years in Soviet prisons and forced labor camps on fabricated charges, should be allowed to speak on their campus.
Instead of trying to learn from and engage with a man who spent almost five years in solitary confinement -- and who only managed to stay sane by playing chess against himself in his mind -- they want to banish him. Instead of learning why someone who has spent his life fighting for human rights thinks Israel has a right to exist, they want to scream and shout like toddlers having a tantrum.
"Far from being enemies, freedom and identity are staunch allies in the struggle against evil."
But at least they didn't assault him, I guess. Unlike Milo Yiannopoulos, a homosexual conservative who spoke at DePaul in late May of 2016. Even after DePaul forced its College Republicans to pay several hundred extra dollars for security for this event, crazed students still stormed the stage, screeched at speakers, and even took a swing at Yiannopoulos.
Is this really who you want to go to college with?
As long as you agree with them on each and every issue, I guess you're safe. But be careful! When you stop agreeing, they might decide they want to "bully you out of school." (Well, technically, that happened at Claremont McKenna. But it's only a matter of time before moderates and conservatives start getting bullied out of DePaul, if they don't start making some serious changes.)
DePaul faculty -- Academia is tough. I read somewhere that it's harder to become a tenured professor than it it to play in the NBA. Yikes!
I know your options may be limited. But I encourage you to ask yourself: is DePaul really a place where I can thrive?
According to Jonathan Haidt, moral psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business... no. Definitely not.
In his amazing book (which every scientist, teacher, student and educated person should read immediately), The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, Haidt (himself a liberal) writes at length about the merit of viewing conservatism not a result of a bad childhood or religious indoctrination, but as a set or moral principles that are rooted in our evolutionary and cultural psychology.
Moreover, he writes, researchers are human. As humans, we are prone to the confirmation bias: seeking out evidence that supports out hypotheses, and ignoring evidence that contradicts us.
That is why we need diverse faculty. A good scientist -- and we are all scientists -- is skeptical. And good ideas stand up to skepticism.
Which is why the research, collaborations and feedback you're getting at a place like DePaul (or Oberlin, or Claremont McKenna) is missing a very important dimension. As long as you remain at DePaul, you are limiting your ability to contribute to the world.
And that's just sad.
The Tl;Dr is that, as far as I'm concerned, DePaul is a university (if you can even call it that) that fears its students, who, apparently, have no ability to control their behavior or emotions, and may be a danger to those who disagree with them.
The school, which claims to "[foster] a community that welcomes open discourse," does no such thing. I'm not saying that DePaul is inherently bad. Just that, the way it is now, DePaul is a horrible place to get an education.
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