Wednesday, December 21, 2005

FIRE puts DePaul University's feet to the fire

Big hat tip to DePaul student Nick Hahn of My Political Agenda.

First, a flashback to Tuesday's Chicago Tribune article about Thomas Klocek's free speech struggle at DePaul University, as the Chicago college's president, Father Dennis Holtschneider, speaks out about free speech:

"I get accused of being against free speech," Holtschneider said. "But freedom of speech for students requires they have a professor who treats them with respect."

Well, the free speech problems at DePaul go beyond its reprehensible conduct in the Klocek affair.

FIRE, by the way, is short for Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

From the organization's mission statement:

The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America's increasingly repressive and partisan colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE's core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

Protecting the unprotected is FIRE's specialty, which is why it agreed to take up the cause of suspended DePaul Professor Thomas Klocek and the abuse of his free speech rights at DePaul.

It's apparent that the bullying of Klocek was not an isolated incident at the Catholic university.

On October 20, Ward Churchill spoke at DePaul. Churchill is best known for his comment that the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack were "Little Eichmanns," as in Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi bureaucrat who oversaw Hitler's holocaust.

The DePaul Republicans were almost completely stymied in their attempt to utitilize their free speech rights to protest Ward Churchill's on-campus appearance there. That speaking gig, it's important to point out, was partly paid for by tuition dollars.

It's believed Churchill was paid about $5,000 for his 90 minute speech.

FIRE has opened a second case against DePaul, the first one of course involved the Klocek incident.

Here is that new case, DePaul University: Censorship of Student Group Protesting Ward Churchill, which includes some really creative anti-Ward Churchill posters.

More from FIRE, specifically its online publication, The Torch:

DePaul = Deceit

Every so often, FIRE gets a case where the behavior of university administrators is truly mystifying. Our most recent case at DePaul is one example, and is the subject of today's FIRE press release. That press release, and particularly its related links, is chock full of information about how DePaul went about silencing a group that was critical of the university's decision to sponsor a campus lecture and workshop by Professor Ward Churchill. It's truly a chilling story.

Oh, that man who gets "accused of being against free speech," DePaul President Fr. Holtschneider, can be reached at

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