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FIREs full press release on this case appears below, but if your e-mail client does not support HTML, you can view a link-rich version at www.thefire.org/index.php/article/6754.html.
Greg Lukianoff, Interim President
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 215-717-3473; Fax: 215-717-3440
DePaul cannot seem to resist punishing its students and professors for expressing their political viewpoints, stated Greg Lukianoff, FIREs interim president. Fighting repression at DePaul is becoming a full-time job.
DePauls latest foray into censorship began on January 17, when the DePaul Conservative Alliance (DCA) held an affirmative action bake sale at a table in the student center. Affirmative action bake sales are a widely used form of satirical protest against affirmative action. Organizers display a menu on which black and Hispanic students are charged lower prices than Asian and white students for the same items. The bake sales are intended to spark debate about affirmative action policies, not to raise revenue. At DePaul, the protest did just that, drawing a crowd of people who argued about the issue vehemently but peacefully.
Less than an hour into the sale, DePauls dean of students ordered the DCA to shut down the protest. University spokeswoman Denise Mattson told the student newspaper that the location of the protest was inappropriate, even though the university allowed a PETA table protesting the use of fur to be set up in exactly the same place a week later. On January 20, undergraduate Michael OShea, who led the protest, was informed that he was under investigation for violating DePauls discriminatory harassment policy. OShea met with administrative investigator Cynthia Summers on January 24. In a chilling e-mail exchange, Summers answered OSheas question of exactly why the bake sale was being investigated by saying, [t]here is no because for the investigation that is pre-determined.
If DePaul cannot even describe the supposed problem with the protest, why is it conducting this absurd inquisition? asked FIREs Lukianoff. The mere fact that a protest might upset people does not make it harassment. DePauls abuse of a harassment policy to engage in political persecution must end.
FIRE wrote DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider on January 23, saying that the shutting down of the bake sale protest, as well as the harassment investigation of OShea, indicate a dismaying disregard for freedom of expression and open debate at DePaul. FIRE also pointed out DePauls dismal record of support for free expression, and noted the Catholic universitys promise that [s]tudents have the right to their own ideas, beliefs and political associations. Students have the right to ask questions and express their opinions . Yet even after drawing nationwide scorn for dismissing a professor for his views and tearing down Republican students flyers, DePaul continues to claim that it absolutely firmly believes in free speech for students and that giving students the opportunity to explore different point of views is what the university is about. Holtschneider has yet to respond to FIREs letter.
Every time DePaul is caught abusing the free speech rights of its students and faculty, it responds by saying how much it really adores free speech. Well, FIRE and the public are having a hard time believing that. DePauls illiberal actions speak far louder than its empty words, concluded Lukianoff.
FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nations colleges and universities. FIREs efforts to preserve liberty at
Greg Lukianoff, Interim President, FIRE: 215-717-3473; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, President,
FIRE's work is made possible by the generosity of our individual supporters. Please click here to make your tax-deductible contribution.
|Dateline: January 29, 2006Subscribe | My Subscription | Search | Archives | About ICB | Contact Us|
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Point-Counterpoint - Hamas Won - What Now?
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1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
January 27, 2006
JINSA Report #546
Unilateral Action and the Price of Democracy
President Bush told the Palestinians, "The United States does not
support political parties that want to destroy our ally, Israel, and
people must renounce that part of their platform."
Why must they and what real difference does the Hamas victory make?
Neither Fatah nor Hamas was going to make a serious "peace agreement"
with Israel; both Fatah and Hamas conduct terrorist operations and are
planning to continue to do so; neither Fatah nor Hamas accepts the
legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East; and neither can be
induced to do so by piecemeal Israeli concessions. The Palestinians knew
that and voted for the party they wanted to deal with their domestic
Rather than demanding what we will not get, it might be useful to remind
the Palestinians that Hamas has not become king of the hill. It has
simply become the majority party in the Palestinian Legislature - like
when the Republicans replaced the Democrats in Congress. As such it is
the successor to the obligations OF the Legislature. And Abu Mazen is
still President and still obliged to meet HIS obligations under the Road
Map. The U.S. expects both to meet internationally accepted standards
Oh, you don't think they will? We don't either; they never have before.
But our government has an obligation a) to insist that they do, and b)
to find meaningful consequences for when they don't.
The President should first stop begging the Palestinians to "return" to
some mythical "peace process" and let them know that since they put
their domestic concerns first, so will we. It would be foolish to cut
off the money we currently spend through NGOs on projects in the PA -
Iran would happily make up the difference, with the attendant political
influence. But the U.S. and the EU should withdraw political support for
Palestinian statehood and decline to treat PA personnel like diplomats
when they troop through Europe and the UN. [This should include the
Olympics - in 2004 the Palestinians marched under their flag as if they
were a country.] At the level of public perception, Palestinians relish
being the political equivalent of the Israelis - they are not and they
should be denied.
At the security level, Israel has every right to assume that the
President and the Parliament will control the borders of their
territory. Israel will be entitled - as every country is entitled - to
unilateral action including "hot pursuit" and retaliation if they don't.
Ariel Sharon first raised the specter of unilateral action when it was
clear that the PA was operating as a state sponsor of terror and could
not be an acceptable political interlocutor. His point wasn't to make
them stop being what they were - he couldn't - but to announce his
intention to protect the citizens of Israel from them.
The U.S. and the Europeans should be clear and public in advance that if
Hamas chooses to maintain itself as an active terrorist organization,
when Israel retaliates, the civilized countries will approve.
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