DePaul University’s “Guiding Principles for Speech and Expression at DePaul University” claims a strong commitment to free speech – which the administration doesn’t apply in practice.
Yet DePaul University has two policies on the books that should be revised to bring them into compliance with the First Amendment.
These policies are inconsistent with principles of free speech and expression because they chill students’ speech.
DePaul has a long and unfortunate track record of free speech violations on campus. Examples of censorious behavior exhibited by DePaul administrators over the last decade:
Banning “controversial” speakers:
Instituting heavy security fees and venue restrictions:
Rejecting student initiatives based on content or potential conflict:
Delaying decisions and policy changes:
“Our problem with DePaul moving slowly and cautiously — a predilection in academia — is that a basic component of free expression is the timing: Shutting someone up for a day or a month or a year until everyone’s ducks are in a row is a form of censorship. It tampers with the ability of a speaker to be relevant. Political campaigns, social movements, the news flow and the commentators who riff on it — they all operate on a clock that won’t stop while DePaul convenes meetings and studies initiatives and ponders what to do. DePaul, as a private Catholic university, can set its own rules on speaker invitations. But if it takes its role seriously as a place of learning and discourse, it should commit to respecting free expression — not with lip service, but with courage that becomes routine.”
If DePaul doesn’t plan on actually providing students with free speech or expression rights, then it shouldn’t claim to do so.