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Editorial: Students shouldn’t have to fight to have voices heard

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Student protesters block attendees' entry into the Schmitt Academic Center. (Kirsten Onsgard / The DePaulia)

Student protesters block attendees’ entry into the Schmitt Academic Center. (Kirsten Onsgard / The DePaulia)

A week has passed, yet the DePaul community is still reeling in the aftermath of conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos’ stop through its Vincentian doors. College Republicans were wrongfully denied an opportunity to hear their speaker, no matter the poor intentions they had in hosting him. But, more importantly, minority groups had to deal with multiple racial incidents that have brought DePaul’s status as a diverse and inclusive place into question.

Yiannopoulos came to DePaul under the facade of standing up for free speech and challenging the opinions traditionally held by liberal college students. And, predictably, there was backlash.

But, what was exposed was not a campus full of liberals intolerant of other viewpoints, but a student body yearning to be heard.

While the actions of these protesters, whether banging on the doors outside the event or disrupting it inside, were wrong, their grievances are legitimate and cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Tuesday did not happen inside of a vacuum. The heated rhetoric of a nasty presidential campaign has seeped into many aspects of life, especially on college campuses. And in the age of Black Lives Matter and Donald Trump, it is not surprising to see a clash of cultures, especially as the country becomes more diverse and existing power structures are challenged.

This clash played out both before and after Yiannopoulos’ visit to campus. Tuesday morning, an oiling sketched on the Quad featured an anti-Mexican slur. This came a month after College Republicans drew chalkings in front of the Student Center that included phrases like “build the wall.”

And of course, a noose was reportedly found on campus on Thursday. This was after people of color in the university community, whether protesters or academics, received racist messages on social media, some including death threats.

What’s clear is Milo Yiannopoulos himself did not cause the backlash (though he probably will take credit for it); he was merely the tipping point.

In a letter to the community in February, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M. outlined some of the lesser-visible concerns students had about race, from overtly racist posts on social media to microaggressions in the classroom and much more in between.

And in an email sent out on Saturday, the university announced steps it is taking in wake of the recent incidents. They include:

Additional Public Safety patrols on campus grounds.

The escort service at Lincoln Park expanded to 24-hour operation within the campus boundaries.

  Student Affairs staff will be increasingly visible this week.

Information tables have been set up at the Lincoln Park and Loop campuses to answer student questions and address concerns. These will be staffed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4-6 p.m.

While these steps are certainly welcome, they are temporary solutions to a long-term problem. While not unique to DePaul, students from marginalized communities do not feel their voices are heard. And even if they were, proper outlets have not been made available for students of differing opinions to have a rational dialogue.

This must change.

Protesters should not have to feel they must shut down a campus event to assert their voice. By the same token, College Republicans should not have to feel they must invite a troll to assert theirs.

Universities are where ideas get exchanged and rational debate is supposed to occur. It is incumbent upon university administration to be proactive in protecting the rights of everyone to share their thoughts and express their emotions while on campus grounds. This could look something like a university-sponsored forum where students can have this dialogue in a safe and constructive way.

DePaul’s diversity is one of its many strengths, but it must be protected.

17 Comments

17 Responses to “Editorial: Students shouldn’t have to fight to have voices heard”

  1. Sven Åke Svensson on May 30th, 2016 6:43 pm

    Quite a good article. Get all the info vented out. And keep shining your light on this without taking eighter side. Cudos.

    [Reply]

    Sneed Stankonia Reply:

    “But, what was exposed was not a campus full of liberals intolerant of other viewpoints, but a student body yearning to be heard.”

    Perhaps you missed that.

    [Reply]

    Quest for Liberty Reply:

    I think he was being sarcastic. This was fingers in ears, head in sand “our narrative musn’t be faltered”.

    [Reply]

    Leon Wilkeson Reply:

    Is that some kind of joke?

    [Reply]

  2. Hughlon Thornbury on May 30th, 2016 9:24 pm

    “College Republicans were wrongfully denied an opportunity to hear their speaker, no matter the poor intentions they had in hosting him.”

    “Yiannopoulos came to DePaul under the facade of standing up for free speech …”

    “…their grievances are legitimate and cannot be dismissed out of hand”

    “Protesters should not have to feel they must shut down a campus event to assert their voice.”

    “College Republicans should not have to feel they must invite a troll…”

    What you say?

    “…without taking eighter side”

    I hope that was meant sarcastically. The DePaulia is infected with the same intolerococcus disease the student body is carrying.

    [Reply]

    Sven Åke Svensson Reply:

    They actually try to not taking sides. But with the forces at work in this school they really need to go slow.

    [Reply]

    T-money Reply:

    a university student wrote this. What did you think they were going to do?

    [Reply]

    Leon Wilkeson Reply:

    I don’t know… perhaps demonstrate that they are not all regressive illiberal douchebag morons?

    [Reply]

  3. iroots.org activism on May 31st, 2016 7:55 am

    Let’s hear a cheer for ideological diversity!

    [Reply]

  4. Publius72 on May 31st, 2016 8:12 am

    So let me paraphrase it for you. College Republicans are evil: their intentions are evil. On the other hand, BLM criminals are good: their intentions are good. And the editorial board is just a neutral observer and makes every effort to be fair and unbiased.
    Now, I don’t know if you actually believe to be unbiased?

    [Reply]

    Quest for Liberty Reply:

    “But, what was exposed was not a campus full of liberals intolerant of other viewpoints, but a student body yearning to be heard.”

    There’s no saving this school. Defund it. Quarantine the virus and move on.

    [Reply]

  5. David LaRue on May 31st, 2016 3:00 pm

    So, now we know the editorial board are left wing extremists.

    [Reply]

    Quest for Liberty Reply:

    You say that like its a suprise in the least.

    [Reply]

  6. Sneed Stankonia on May 31st, 2016 6:48 pm

    This piece is proof that the problems at DePaul are much more widespread than just a few intolerant whiners. Thanks for the display, Editorial Board. You are actively degrading your schools legacy and devaluing your degrees as a whole.

    [Reply]

  7. Kilton Webb on May 31st, 2016 8:36 pm

    “Protesters should not have to feel they must shut down a campus event to assert their voice. By the same token, College Republicans should not have to feel they must invite a troll to assert theirs.”

    Do you not have any self awareness for the condescension you are showing towards your fellow students who are in the College Republicans? Have you ever been intellectually curious enough to wonder if people might hold opinions that you don’t? This might be a stretch, but have you considered that what Milo is saying, though punctuated with crass humor, has something of value?

    These are some serious questions DePaul as a general community needs to evaluate in order to make these proclamation into a reality that isn’t determined by how you are born.

    “DePaul’s diversity is one of its many strengths, but it must be protected.”

    Diversity is all well and good, but diversity of ideas is what higher education is about. Diversity in sexual preference, skin color, or any other SJW pet issue is irrelevant to the goal of Higher Education. Encouraging ideological hegemony has no place in Higher Education.

    Appreciate and encourage diversity, but not of what color your skin is, or of whom you are attracted. Encourage people with new and different ideas to bring them to the forefront of discussion and do not allow them to be shouted down. Do not occupy their platform and steal their voice. Respond to it inquisitively. If you are right, you have nothing to worry about.

    [Reply]

  8. Zack Selzman on June 6th, 2016 11:44 pm

    Do they teach you what ad hominem attacks are in DePaul’s journalism courses? Throughout your ‘article’ you are labeling Yiannopoulos and the actions of the College Republicans, but you do it without any semblance of a rational argument. That is precisely why ad hominem attacks are extremely sloppy journalism because all you do is indicate what side you are on without providing any rational justification for it. You have strung multiple unsupported allegations and insults together and are presenting it as an article. Because online journalism is so sloppy you do see articles that are just as poorly written, but you would never be able to sustain a profitable enterprise with such empty content.

    [Reply]

  9. Zack Selzman on June 15th, 2016 3:53 pm

    So you want to silence Milo for hating Milo?

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Editorial: Students shouldn’t have to fight to have voices heard