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The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Faculty info sheet addresses ongoing racial tensions


An info sheet Friday was given to faculty detailing the efforts administrators are taking after the Milo Yiannopoulos’ event last week. The document, obtained by The DePaulia, came hours before a student town hall with President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., and days before a similar event with faculty addressing race tensions on campus.

The document lists the problems and aftermath of the last week, and also answers some frequently asked questions from staff. Among those questions are why student groups are allowed to bring people to campus if their views are against the university’s mission and what actions, if any, will be brought against the protestors of the day.

Valerie Johnson, chair of the political science department who has also received hate mail and other messages, said the document is not enough.

“I find it objectionable that this narrative starts with the protests when many things happened before that,” Johnson said.

In a DePaul Facebook group in January, the n-word was used in multiple posts in a discussion thread. After racial incidents at Mizzou, BSU and other student groups held a solidarity event, and after meeting with them, Holtschneider issued a “tepid” response, Johnson said.

Leading up to last Tuesday, there were also chalkings on sidewalks around the Student Center in April which included phrases like “Build the wall” and “Blue Lives Matter.” The day of the Yiannopoulos event, a student wrote an anti-Mexico statement in an oil-like substance on the quad. A petition before the event raised concerns about the nature of the speech, noting fears of xenophobic and racist speech at the event. Holtschneider, in a quote on the petition’s site, said he did not share the same level of concern as those creating the petition.

This quote and the lack of action to stop the speech or turn it into a moderated one, Johnson said, shows that Holtschneider “had plenty of time to exhibit some concern for marginalized groups.”

The event itself has caused an uproar on campus, and emails from Holtschneider have led to many calls for Holtschneider’s resignation.

Ann Russo, associate professor and graduate program director of the Women and Gender Studies and Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies departments, said that though emails and info sheets can be helpful to making sure people know what went on last Tuesday, addressing the timeline of events on campus and allowing those most affected to lead discussion is important.

“There are so many things that need to be done and those most impacted should be at the center of formulating and envisioning next steps and necessary measures to cultivate accountability for the racial, gender, xenophobic harassment and hostilities of this past couple of weeks,” Russo said. “The town halls are a necessary but only a small step in the process.”

Within the FAQ section of the sheet, the answer to whether or not protesters would be reprimanded was that the actions of those who disrupted are currently being addressed. Johnson said this is unconscionable.

“The very notion that these students may face disciplinary action is problematic,” Johnson said. “It’s tragic that DePaul has chosen the ‘cover your ass’ approach.’”

Johnson said this is a leadership crisis, “pure and simple.”

The school is attempting to address the concerns of its faculty, staff and students no matter their political background or thoughts on the administration’s actions over the past two weeks in the coming week as the school winds down for summer break. Provost Martin denBoer, at the student town hall Friday, said he felt it was important to hear from multiple perspectives across the university as DePaul goes forward.

“I’m here because I believe in what the university does in a Vincentian sense. I want to improve things, and learning about what’s not working is an opportunity,” denBoer said. “For students it’s much more real and emotional. Students are more vulnerable to this than faculty or staff, but there’s a lot of emotion there too, because they fear for themselves and for their students.”

Read the full info sheet. 

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  • C

    ChicagoJohnJun 14, 2016 at 3:45 am

    “The very notion that these students may face disciplinary action is problematic”

    You mean… because any student should feel free to interrupt any event that they don’t like, at any time?
    Has anyone in the administration taken a teaching class?
    Does anyone there realize that in order to have a place of higher learning, the first thing that you need to do is allow the speakers to speak… particularly WHEN you don’t agree with them?
    Do you believe that the students should be able to tell anyone else who they can listen to speak? And if so, does that mean that someone can come in and shut THEIR meetings down without any disciplinary action?
    Because I’m just predicting… that will happen next.

  • T

    tilton60115Jun 13, 2016 at 4:40 am

    I long for the days when campuses were a mecca of free speech–a place where the intersections of differing opinions and beliefs could be freely expressed. This presupposes a certain level of maturity, a desire for open communication and a desire to allow all to express their feelings–whether one agrees with them or not. We have a generation of whiners who have had all their whims accommodated–and if the message doesn’t fit their agenda, they’ll stop the message rather than coming up with an intelligent response. Grow up people, the real world neither wants to nor will accommdate you.

  • J

    JerseyCowboyJun 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Is this info sheet serious?

    “Is DePaul planning any programming to balance the extreme conservative views of recent speakers
    on campus?” The conservative views brought to campus ARE the balance.

    Also, why was a piece of rope left on the ground deemed more important than the woman who physically attacked Milo? The only people that needed a safe space were Milo and the hosts who were on that stage.

  • I activismJun 6, 2016 at 8:33 am

    “The very notion that these students may face disciplinary action is problematic,” Nearly spit my coffee out at that statement! This has become like a South Park episode. If you aren’t aware, look up either “PC bro” or “Safe Space song” and you’ll see what I mean.