On Monday, DePaul University president, Dennis H. Holtschneider announced his resignation asserting that it would be best for DePaul if he stepped aside. Holtschneider noted that he wished to avoid a situation where DePaul would have “one president define the next strategic direction for another president to manage.”
The explanation provided was a benign one but belies a more sinister cause having nothing to do with the university’s strategic vision and everything to do with a pernicious ideology that has become pervasive throughout college campuses across the United States. This ideology has taken firm root and is spreading like a malignant cancer, impervious to treatment. It is an ideology firmly rooted in radical leftist fascism, cobbled together from a motley alliance of radical feminists, anarchists, Islamist supremacists and so-called social justice warriors whose sole aim is to stifle free speech through fear, intimidation and bullying.
Holtschneider is the latest victim of campus terrorism and his resignation can be directly linked to the appearance of conservative social commentator and Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos at DePaul in May. DePaul was one of many stops on Yiannopoulos’ “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” which has taken direct aim at university totalitarianism and the need to alter its malevolent trajectory.
Leftists, who despise all forms free speech –except their own – blocked entrances and rushed the stage from where Yiannopoulos addressed the audience forcing the event’s premature termination. On instructions from university officials, police who were on hand did nothing to intervene. This sad spectacle repeated itself at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where a bomb threat at a Yiannopoulos event forced police to evacuate attendees.
Holtschneider initially defended Yiannopoulos’ right to free speech and the right of others to assemble and listen to his thought-provoking ideas noting that all speakers had the right to a “respectful hearing.” But his bold stand in defense of free speech was brief and just days later, he issued a cowardly retraction after coming under intense pressure from campus fascists and thought police. In addition to their objections to Yiannopoulos, campus radicals griped about campus chalk scrawls which stated “Blue Lives Matter.” Apparently, an expression of concern for the lives of those who uphold the rule of law and protect our streets also falls under the category of forbidden speech.
In an email, Holtschneider apologized for “the harm that was unleashed by a speaker whose intent was to ignite racial tensions and demean those most marginalized, both in our society and at DePaul.” That forced contrition handed a victory to campus totalitarians and caused immeasurable harm to the university’s standing and reputation.
A similar scenario unfolded at San Diego State University where university president, Elliot Hirshman, was forced to issue a rather craven apology to a mob of Islamists for earlier remarks he made in support of free speech. It began with a poster campaign initiated by the David Horowitz Freedom Center that named seven students who “allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetrate” a campaign of fear and terror against Jewish students on campus. Campus Islamists, who are free to spew the vilest of anti-Semitic calumnies, were enraged but Hirshman correctly assessed the matter as a free speech issue.
On April 27, a group of Islamists and members of the hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine (an organization with links to Muslim extremists) managed to surround a police car in which Hirshman was a passenger and refused to allow the vehicle’s passage, effectively trapping him. Some unfurled Islamic prayer matts and knelt while others chanted the usual slogans and banalities. Eventually, after about an hour, Hirshman emerged from the car and was forced to apologize to the protestors for defending the rightful exercise of free speech.
The two cited examples are not aberrations but reflect a growing trend on university campuses. The concept of the free exchange of ideas has given way to an oppressive, regressive leftism that has taken political correctness to new extremes. Of course, it is still open season on the Jews and there is no limitation to defamatory hate speech directed against Israel. An illustration of this sad reality is best exemplified by a very troubling incident which occurred at San Francisco State University.
On April 6, Israel’s mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat was in the midst of addressing a group of SFSU students when his speech was suddenly interrupted by a rabid group of SJP militants spewing anti-Semitic pejoratives and epithets with the aid of bullhorns. Police stood idly by and did nothing thereby facilitating the disruption. Barkat was eventually forced to leave the podium and addressed audience members in a more informal setting.
The hooligans who committed the disruption were clearly identified by video and the university promised an investigation but to my knowledge, no disciplinary action against the offending students was ever instituted. In addition to permitting the suppression of free speech, the university may also be in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin.
Across college campuses throughout the United States, there is a relentless assault on free speech that has had a detrimental muzzling effect on the free exchange of ideas. The radical left and Islamist groups like the SJP have banded together to create a toxic environment of hate, fear and suspicion and it is incumbent on university officials to take back their universities and impose the necessary disciplinary steps to reverse this deleterious trend.