Letter to the editor: Student responds to removal of pro-life display

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Dear Editors of The DePaulia,

As I was walking to class and passing through the quad on whatever day [Tuesday, Jan. 22 – Ed.] this display was up, I saw hundreds of blue and pink flags. I knew that that day was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but if I hadn’t previously known that (and it was in no way through the university or any university-affiliated group that I knew this), I would have had absolutely no idea what these flags were for. I took three of the flags down from their display and took them home. I was in no way a part of the incident that took place later that day, where students took down all the flags and threw them away. This is my opinion and thought process regarding what I did, but I was not a part of the bigger incident with the display.

DePaul, or so I’ve been told, is a place accepting of ALL views. They do that by providing a platform for all groups and people of differing viewpoints to share their ideas. But they give people an option, and this is imperative. You have the option of going to this club’s meeting, or contributing your time or money to a cause, or talking to the guy on the corner and signing his petition. You don’t walk into the Student Center and see signs saying, “God is real and he’s a Catholic,” or “support gay marriage or you’re as bad as racists,” or “gay marriage is the devil.” That doesn’t happen. You see signs inviting you to come to a meeting, to hear what a group believes and has to say and inviting you to participate in discussion. It’s an invitation, not an order. Those flags were an order. There was no choice, no invitation to discuss, no explanation of their meaning or the beliefs behind them. It’s not like you were talking to members of this group … they weren’t behind a table, they weren’t there on the corner asking to explain something to you. They set up a display on the most open and iconic part of campus, claiming their territory in an authoritative and unfair way.

Allowing such a display without giving viewers a choice is wrong. And the insinuation that DePaul supports a similar view is, I think, unfair and doesn’t adhere with the “Vincentian principles” that everyone here loons about. DePaul is supposed to give you a choice. Those flags proclaim that there is only one right way to think, and that DePaul, despite their feigned neutrality, agrees with them. I want a university that generates discussion, not a blind acceptance of what is put right in front of you. The very basic ideas of “university” and schooling adhere with that. Aristotle, Plato, the greatest philosophers and thinkers of the world all questioned and debated issues and preconceived ideas. They wouldn’t accept blindly one way of thought. This idea, of fostering personal beliefs and the ability to express and argue them, is at the root of education! It’s in DePaul’s mission statement!

“On the personal level, DePaul respects the religiously pluralistic composition of its members and endorses the interplay of diverse value systems beneficial to intellectual inquiry. Academic freedom is guaranteed both as an integral part of the university’s scholarly and religious heritage, and as an essential condition of effective inquiry and instruction.” (Taken directly from the University Mission Statement: mission.depaul.edu).

This flag display offered no choice, and even more importantly, no opportunity for discussion. Maybe what I did was wrong, but it created that discussion. And I believe that is right in line with the mission of DePaul and education in general.

Sincerely,

An anonymous advocate of DePaul’s mission and Vincentian principles.

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