Letter to the editor: Holtschneider must step down or be fired

Letter to the editor: Holtschneider must step down or be fired

Fucking n—!!

Africans belong in Africa. Negroes will never assimilate into a civilized society.
Argentina exterminated their Negroes for this very reason.

Faubus and Wallace were right.

Any loudmouthed black racist can pass as a professor in Obobo’s America. Same criteria as the presidency.

“For the record, I don’t have children” Gee, I wonder why? It couldn’t possibly be because you’re such an insufferable b— that no men would dare even consider dating you, let alone have children with you. Nah, it must be white people’s fault, somehow.

You blacks are utterly stupid, the US is going down the drain financially and you think you are helping?

These e-mails were sent to DePaul Political Science Chair and Professor, Valerie Johnson. Her crime that incurred the wrath of the blogosphere? She tweeted support for an African-American female student at DePaul who led a protest against Milo Yiannopoulos’ “Feminism is Cancer, Dangerous F—t Tour.” These comments reflect true malice and threat, and were completely foreseeable given the Breitbart editor’s claim to fame in the #gamergate online harassment of journalists critiquing sexist video games and the rabid following of alt-right trolls he inspires.

Under the guise of free speech, the President rejected calls to disallow Yiannopoulos’ appearance on campus, although from the inception of the controversy Holtschneider knew that the speaker was “unworthy of university discourse.” That the president of a major American university could harbor such an incoherent conception of free speech is both shocking and embarrassing; that he would then blame the subjects of Yiannopoulos’ hate speech for asserting their own free speech rights is unconscionable.

Under the president’s jejune understanding of free speech, the College Republicans would be free to invite former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who has now recast his white supremacist past as a present-day crusade to ensure that “the rights of people of European descent be respected as much as any other people’s rights.” Duke’s rhetoric is of a piece with Yiannopoulos’, who sponsors a “privilege grant” “exclusively available to white men who wish to pursue their post-secondary education on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates.” If this is not evidence enough of the white supremacist ilk from which Yiannopoulos’ rhetoric derives, consider some of his comments from his appearance of at DePaul:

“You know, I worked out why there are so many black girls here. I think it’s because I f—d their brothers.”

 “I give (the Black Lives Matter protest) twenty minutes. The statistics for black incarceration are about to go up.”

 “If you weren’t such an obnoxious c—t, I might even hit on you.”

Even the most rudimentary understanding of free speech would see this language for what it is: classic “fighting words” which would be entitled to no protection under the First Amendment. Yet in his May 25 e-mail, rather than acknowledging that allowing the speech to go forward was an error of judgment that promoted white supremacy, President Holtschneider remarked that “those who interrupted the speech were wrong to do so.” But why? The president acknowledges that the speech did not rise to the level of intellectual discourse. Yiannopoulos was not in the same category, for instance, as Michael Steele, the former chairperson of the Republican National Committee, who was invited to DePaul by its College Republicans a few years back. Steele’s speech went uninterrupted because, to borrow Holtschneider’s own description of Yiannopolos, Steele was not a mere “entertainer[] and self-serving provocateur[]” whose “shtick is to shock and incite a strong emotional response.” In short, Yiannopoulos has no right to speak uninterrupted by those who oppose his views any more than did segregationist Gov. George Wallace when he decided to take his 1968 presidential campaign of bigotry and white backlash to New York City. A university president who cannot understand these distinctions is one who is ill-suited to lead a modern university such as DePaul whose very business model depends on the recruitment of a racially and ethnically diverse student body.

There is no precept of free speech known to the law, to morality, or to common sense, that required marginalized communities of students to sit quietly as supplicants while the campus that their tuition, grant and loan dollars fund was deployed as a sounding board for their own belittlement based on their race, gender, and sexual orientation. The president has betrayed these students and has undoubtedly done lasting harm to their perceptions of DePaul.

How much longer will the DePaul University community be subject to embarrassing headlines produced by a president who has had a 14-year learning curve but who, incident after incident, seems to learn very little except how to protect his own power? When the university made national news for denying tenure to all its minority applicants while granting it to all its white applicants, the university responded by attempting to assign racial minority status to white applicants who had not self-selected a race. When President Holtschneider was presented with the choice of protecting the free speech rights of a prolific faculty member, Norman Finkelstein, or succumbing to outside disapproval of Finkelstein’s pro-Palestinian views, Finkelstein was denied tenure and DePaul has since become a symbol of censorship within academic circles. Elevating the free speech rights of Yiannopoulos above those of a serious and respected scholar will only make DePaul a further laughingstock. And when DePaul’s Conservative Alliance held an “affirmative action bake sale” the objective and effect of which was to belittle students of color based solely on their race, rather than sanctioning the group, President Holtschneider added to the controversy by allowing an all-white committee to promulgate a vague and toothless speech and expression “guideline.”

In his lengthy tenure at DePaul, the President has compiled a similarly lengthy compendium of presidential mishaps and misjudgments, such as the few previously mentioned. The University community can no longer afford the costly on-the-job training it has extended Father Holtschneider, only to have that latitude misused for the president’s preservation of his own power at the cost of the academic freedom of DePaul’s professoriate (Finkelstein) and the equality of marginalized communities (Yiannopoulos, tenure controversy, affirmative action bake sale). Enough is enough.

Terry Smith is a Distinguished Research Professor of Law at DePaul.

View Comments (39)
More to Discover

Comments (39)

Comments are Closed.
All The DePaulia Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest
  • T

    TollCollectorJun 15, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    As far as tuition spent on “belittling speech” (not that I agree) where’s the authors outrage about Portland’s Whiteness Month and similar anti-white racist ramblings (by Asian and Latino professors) on US universities? Are those OK because they target white males?

  • D

    DonQuaviusJun 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Did I miss something? Feminism is cancer.

  • G

    guinspenJun 14, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    “Distinguished Research Professor?”

    No, Terry Smith is a sputtering dunce.

  • R

    Richard SmithJun 14, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    It is a disgrace that the “distinguished” Terry Smith, of Kim Jong Il mindset, is allowed to poison students minds with his Stalinist views.

    The school became a laughing stock indeed, but because of the BLM bullies and the disgraceful rac*ists of Terry Smith’s ilk. You are not a “professor” Terry Smith, you are an ignorant censor, an argument against tenure, a stain on what was left on DePaul’s reputation. Shame on you and on the other faculty that tolerates people like you to literally abuse students with different views.

  • J

    JohnJun 14, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    In my opinion, Terry Smith is a terrible person. Anyone who would respond to recent events at DePaul with these words:

    “In short, Yiannopoulos has no right to speak uninterrupted by those who oppose his views …”

    is an enemy of rational thought; perhaps even an enemy of civilization.

  • T

    tjp77Jun 13, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Wow. This is completely deranged. Time to burn the universities to the ground and start over.

  • T

    tilton60115Jun 13, 2016 at 4:49 am

    Reading the above emails, my response is, “Consider the source.” 1. Do people think this way? Sure. Big deal. Sucks to be them. 2. Could these emails be composed by someone trying to cause problems and get a response? Sure. It’s been done before and will be done again. Again, sucks to be them. My response: Ignore them, and get on with life.
    And as far as the call to remove the president: The leader of an institution cannot be responsible for what others say, and his/her job performance should not be judge on how much people allow themselves to be offended by speech. It’s called developing a thick skin, people.

  • A

    Aggie95Jun 5, 2016 at 11:25 am

    DePaul …. DePaul …. Hmmmm seems that DePaul has been in the news for something else oh wait I remember something about evil vile white racists attacking poor peace loving black students on a bus and all the …. Hmmmmm …. Oh wait a sec …. Never mind that wasn’t it …. Isn’t the choice to be offended more or less a judgement and temprament call I don’t think the liberal’s at DePaul have either

  • R

    Rose MayerJun 4, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Lol, trying to get a liberal to make sense is like trying to get a 5 year old to build a house. It’s impossible.

  • R

    Rose MayerJun 4, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    You’re right, Holtschneider should be fired. But not for the reasons you pathetically gave. You call yourself “distinguished” yet you’ve only painted one side of the liberal story.
    He should be fired for not protecting Milo’s event properly. Milo was forced to pay extra for security that just sat there like wet blankets while he was being verbally and physically attacked.
    I’ve never seen a more disgusting display of liberalism at its finest. I bet if the speaker was African-American and liberal and there were white conservatives rushing the stage, this would have been a completely different story and outcome.
    People are waking up and no longer tolerate this kind of hypocrisy. You should all be fired for your lack of understanding of how free-speech works!!! Shame on all of you!

    • J

      JohnJun 14, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Of course if the speaker were a liberal African American they would have defended his right to speak. I’m a “liberal” but I can see how horrible these other liberals have become. A few decades ago conservatism was dominated by Christians in way that made conservatives seem a little like brainwashed cultists… but now today liberalism is dominated by these SJW types who are *definitely* brain washed cultists.

  • M

    markmespositoJun 4, 2016 at 5:09 am

    Interesting yet feeble defense to the Stalinistic tactics used to disrupt speech the author disagrees with. Milo’s attempted talk was in no way “fighting words” yet that’s the rationale used to suppress his and the vast majority of the audience’s rights. You’d think a law school professor could do better but it’s tough when you’re blinded by ideology.

  • D

    DyneKerrelJun 3, 2016 at 8:49 am

    “privilege grant” “exclusively available to white men who wish to pursue their post-secondary education on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates.”

    You mean he wants to give poor white boys the opportunity to be on an EQUAL footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates……what a monster.

  • D

    disqus_RjXh7K39rwJun 3, 2016 at 7:09 am


  • F

    FreedomForeverJun 3, 2016 at 3:32 am

    Is there a reason for the language censorship? Are college kids not able to handle curse words? Also, Milo and those on his side were totally right in the GamerGate debacle. Go listen to Milo explain himself on the Rubin Report (on YouTube, Rubin is a liberal too so it’s not just an echo chamber). You will find that Milo is actually reasonable.

  • M

    Max_PJun 3, 2016 at 1:38 am

    Shock horror: People who would bother to send Professor Johnson bigoted and trollish emails are bigots and trolls. Kind of a self-selecting group wouldn’t you say? I’d be more surprised if there were matters of political contention with a large public interest within which there were absolutely no extremist or radical elements. Especially when you factor in the anonymity that the internet enables. Lets be real here. When you have a group of BLM activists on stage calling a young black woman a “white supremacist” for holding a differing political opinion, it evidently taints the pristine picture of good verses evil that you have sketched out for us.

    If journalists had have shown more respect for objectivity. If they hadn’t been so ready to confuse fact with opinion. If they had have been more transparent in declaring their interests. If a number of outlets had not shown utter contempt for a large portion of the community by declaring them dead and over with. If they had not outright insulted the intelligence of their audience. If they had not tried to obscure and deflect their own short comings by ignoring legitimate criticism while creating a narrative of endemic sexism and misogyny, then there would have been no #gamergate. Furthermore, there would have been no void for Yiannopoulos to step into.

    It would be an error to misconstrue Yiannopoulos’ rise in popularity as an insulated phenomenon of the conservative right. He freely admits that a large portion of his followers lean left. What’s interesting is that few in academia and few on the “progressive” left have stopped to contemplate why this may be.

    As for the call for Holtschneider to step down or be fired, not being connected to the university I don’t have a strong opinion except to say that this sounds like more of the same ‘call-out culture’ that I and many others are growing weary of. “Forget the facts, forget nuance, forget negotiation, if you don’t tow the ideological line, you’ve got to go. Now everybody pile on”

    • J

      JohnJun 14, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      “People who would bother to send Professor Johnson bigoted and trollish emails are bigots and trolls. Kind of a self-selecting group wouldn’t you say?”

      Don’t forget, SJWs LOVE posturing as racists and sending anonymous hate letters to others in their community, in order to fan the flames of hatred.

  • I

    iroots.org activismJun 2, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    There is no respectable person who condones bullying. That said, everyone who watches the video can hear and see very clearly DePaul student(s) yell at the young African-American Republican student and call her a “white-supremacist.” That was hateful, right? Does the left address that?

    • H

      haaaaaaaaaaJun 2, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      So when the other side condescending yells “Get a Job” at the protestors, that isn’t bullying? Every side in the Milo situation looks bad.

      • H

        HaydenJun 2, 2016 at 10:51 pm

        But one side came into the event organised by the other side. If you poke the bear you can expect the bear to take a swing. Milo’s supporters did not go looking for a fight, they didn’t march into the women’s studies department and start yelling that feminism is cancer, they organised a private event which was violently taken over by protestors. If you think you can violently take over an event and not have people yell things at you then you’re delusional.

        • H

          haaaaaaaaaaJun 3, 2016 at 1:33 pm

          I agree with you that the event should’ve gone on as scheduled, but you’re forgetting the part where the posters for the event openly mocked feminists and the like, and they were put up all around campus. They were obviously trying to upset people and use the protests to get on the news, and they very much succeeded. The idea that Milo is innocent of inciting this type of behavior is ridiculous, but that said, it falls on the protestors to exhibit more self-control.

          • H

            HaydenJun 5, 2016 at 10:33 pm

            Last I checked I have every right to mock whatever political group I want, feminism included. I do adore that these feminists who will oh so openly loathe any resemblance of victim blaming will use it happily when they violently attack somebody who was “asking for it”

      • C

        Chino GambinoJun 2, 2016 at 11:22 pm

        No its not, “get a job” is tame, its a likely condition of people protesting and normally not something to be ashamed of but for causing trouble for others. Trying to tar someone as a ‘white supremacist’ for disagreeing with anti-liberal uncivil behavior isn’t comparable, that status has real stigma attached which is why its used so recklessly. Those protesters prevented everyone’s right to hear, they wasted everyone’s time and money and had no right to do so.

        If you keep allowing uncivil methods of preventing political speech to prevail, or worse endorsing them you’ll end up with more than hostile emails. Holtschneider and much of the administration should be sacked for their lack of principles and their part in aiding the protesters. Had they been escorted out there would be no issue.

      • C

        ChicagoJohnJun 3, 2016 at 4:15 pm

        Yelling get a job is bullying?
        To whom? People who don’t seek employment?
        If you find “get a job” to be bullying, what line of dialog will NOT make you shutter?

        • A

          Aggie95Jun 5, 2016 at 11:17 am

          Here’s your welfare check

      • V

        Valek420Jun 15, 2016 at 4:42 pm

        When “get a job” is a insult, that’s a sad day. Usually only those with a limp wrist would be “offended” by that.

      • D

        DonQuaviusJun 17, 2016 at 9:07 am

        Bullying implies a position of power. The sneauflaek protestors were there under their own volition.

  • R

    Reptilian HunterJun 2, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Wow, for a research professor of law, you somehow managed to miss all of the cases that limited the fighting words doctrine after Chaplinsky.

    Here’s a good resource for you: 93 Colum. L. Rev. 1527, specifically the analysis on page 1551:

    “There are five elements that must coalesce to render a speech act unprotected under the fighting words doctrine: first, the words must constitute a direct personal insult; second, the words must be directed to the addressee personally and individually, and may not be a generalized insult addressed to a large group or indiscriminately to the world at large; third, the words must be addressed to the person face-to-face; fourth, the words must be of such a nature as to be likely to provoke the average addressee to an immediate violent response; and finally, the words must be likely to provoke the actual addressee to violence in light of all the circumstances.”

    Since you only quoted three statements as “fighting words”, I’ll do you a favor and analyze them for you.

    The first two statements fail the second element of the fighting words doctrine, because they are not directed personally and individually, they are generalized words directed to a group.

    And the third statement fails the fourth element, unless you’re telling me that being hit on by a gay man would drive the average person to immediate violence.

    • H

      haaaaaaaaaaJun 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      I’ll bite, because I appreciate you bringing actual law into this.

      The first two statements are obviously directed at the protestors in the building, not at the “world at large” or a particularly large group — “black girls here” is a telling quote — and in the third statement, you are ignoring the fact that he calls his target “an obnoxious c–t” which is clearly inflammatory.

      • R

        Reptilian HunterJun 3, 2016 at 2:37 am

        Well, I tried to in my first draft, but the auto mod rejected my post for spelling out C–t. Anyway, the average person isn’t driven to violence just for being called an “obnoxious c–t” If that was the case, there would be more barfights during Australian soccer matches.

        Also, even if the “black girls here” comment isn’t directed at a large group like the Black Lives Matter comment, telling someone that they’re upset because they’re f—ing their brother wouldn’t drive the average person to sudden violence. Hell, if “I f—-d your mother” doesn’t drive the average person to violence, since that’s a common insult, what does?

        Just in case the automod doesn’t let my first post through.

  • J

    Jon KorpasJun 2, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    He should be fired immediately for not standing up for Milo, who was threatened with violence by the two protestors during which this article quotes. DePaul seems to be a complete waste of time for anyone actually seeking an education and not a day care.

  • S

    Sven Åke SvenssonJun 2, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Not a single word about what the other side has done here. Reflections over ones own actions are not happening i guess. Well. Good luck with that.

  • D

    DPU Students for Free SpeechJun 2, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    This article is utterly disgusting. The author’s method of pulling from the most vile and ridiculous e-mails sent to Valerie Johnson and using them to paint a narrative about certain segments of the DePaul community is dishonest and malicious. If anyone needs to step down or be fired, people like Terry Smith should be the first to go. Where is your journalistic integrity? You call yourself a “Distinguished Research Professor” and you clearly haven’t done any research. You didn’t even spell Ku Klux Klan right! Perhaps most alarming is your hatred for one of our most basic freedoms: the freedom of speech.

    “We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.” — John Stuart Mill

    • D

      DPU Students for Free SpeechJun 2, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Sorry for micro-aggressing you by correcting your spelling. However, thank you for making the correction. You suddenly seem 0.00001% more intelligent.

    • H

      haaaaaaaaaaJun 2, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      The fact of the matter is, those emails/tweets were still sent to her, and if anything, this article probably includes only a small segment of awful things that were sent to her. You would be better off posting examples of attempts at a more civilized discussion than claiming the author did not do enough research, when you yourself have no evidence in your post.

      Also, it is far more likely that one of the DePaulia editors corrected the Ku Klux Klan typo, rather than Smith, so I’m afraid your passive aggressive comment is falling on deaf ears.

      • R

        Reptilian HunterJun 3, 2016 at 2:35 am

        So, how are Milo, or the College Republicans, or the DePaul administration responsible for those emails and tweets being sent to her? Are they responsible for every third party’s actions?

        • H

          haaaaaaaaaaJun 3, 2016 at 1:17 pm

          No, but I think the author’s point is that a significant portion of Milo’s audience tends to behave this way. Milo in particular is a firebrand who riles up his supporters to go after people who disagree with him. Other more respected speakers, like Rick Santorum, don’t have an “internet army” to harass and attack, and are much better about expressing their opinions without drumming up drama just for the sake of publicity. If the choice is between respectful discourse and someone who will say almost anything to get attention and broaden his personal brand, I think DePaul would be much better off getting more speakers like Rick Santorum and less like Milo.

          • R

            Rose MayerJun 4, 2016 at 1:59 pm

            Where does personal responsibility come in? Why do liberals continue to allow people to become violent over words? Milo isn’t responsible for people’s feelings. People have to make up their own minds how they feel and act responsibly. Milo had every right to speak at that event and the university should be shamed for not protecting his right and the rights of the other people who attended to hear him speak!
            If you are such a special snowflake and get offended by every word and you are still in college, I can’t wait until you are out in the real world and get fired for your incompetence.

          • A

            Aggie95Jun 5, 2016 at 11:16 am

            Odd it seems like the drama was brought by those who stormed the stage