College Republicans at Fordham Rescind Invitation to Ann Coulter After Being Attacked by University President
Welcome to the new age of liberal tolerance.
The college Republicans at Fordham University were scheduled to hear a talk by Ann Coulter on November 29th. Upon hearing this news, the university president attacked the conservative club that invited her.
Ann Coulter was scheduled to speak at Fordham University on November 29. Her appearance, organized by the conservative club on campus and funded by the school, would have marked the first time this fall a conservative addressed the Fordham student body.
Upon the announcement this week of the event, the conservative club was routinely attacked by others on campus.
Adding to the attacks against the club was the university president, Joseph McShane. Instead of welcoming Ann Coulter and encouraging students to consider her ideas, he issues an email to students, alumni, and faculty blasting the club for inviting her to speak.
He writes that groups area allowed to bring speakers with “diverse viewpoints” and that the school won’t block her fromspeaking, yet he felt compelled to openly attack the conservative group leadership for hosting her.
Here’s the text of the email he sent.
University Statement on Ann Coulter Appearance | November 9, 2012
The College Republicans, a student club at Fordham University, has invited Ann Coulter to speak on campus on November 29. The event is funded through student activity fees and is not open to the public nor the media. Student groups are allowed, and encouraged, to invite speakers who represent diverse, and sometimes unpopular, points of view, in keeping with the canons of academic freedom.
Accordingly, the University will not block the College Republicans from hosting their speaker of choice on campus.
To say that I am disappointed with the judgment and maturity of the College Republicans, however, would be a tremendous understatement. There are many people who can speak to the conservative point of view with integrity and conviction, but Ms. Coulter is not among them. Her rhetoric is often hateful and needlessly provocative-more heat than light-and her message is aimed squarely at the darker side of our nature.
As members of a Jesuit institution, we are called upon to deal with one another with civility and compassion, not to sling mud and
impugn the motives of those with whom we disagree or to engage in racial or social stereotyping. In the wake of several bias
incidents last spring, I told the University community that I hold out great contempt for anyone who would intentionally inflict pain on another human being because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or creed.
“Disgust”was the word I used to sum up my feelings about those incidents. Hate speech, name-calling, and incivility are completely
at odds with the Jesuit ideals that have always guided and animated Fordham.
Still, to prohibit Ms. Coulter from speaking at Fordham would be to do greater violence to the academy, and to the Jesuit tradition of fearless and robust engagement. Preventing Ms. Coulter from speaking would counter one wrong with another. The old saw goes that the answer to bad speech is more speech. This is especially true at a university, and I fully expect our students, faculty,
alumni, parents, and staff to voice their opposition, civilly and respectfully, and forcefully.
The College Republicans have unwittingly provided Fordham with a test of its character: do we abandon our ideals in the face of
repugnant speech and seek to stifle Ms. Coulter’s (and the student organizers’) opinions, or do we use her appearance as an
opportunity to prove that our ideas are better and our faith in the academy-and one another-stronger? We have chosen the latter course, confident in our community, and in the power of decency and reason to overcome hatred and prejudice.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President
And now, according to Mediaite, the club has rescinded their invitation to Ms. Coulter.
The school’s College Republicans have rescinded their invitation to Coulter. Several of the club’s members tell us they disagree with this cancellation, but in another letter obtained by Mediaite, the school president praises their decision wholeheartedly:
Here’s the text of the second email Fordham’s president sent.
Late yesterday, Fordham received word that the College Republicans, a student club at the University, has rescinded its lecture invitation to Ann Coulter.
Allow me to give credit where it is due: the leadership of the College Republicans acted quickly, took responsibility for their decisions, and expressed their regrets sincerely and eloquently. Most gratifying, I believe, is that they framed their decision in light of Fordham’s mission and values. There can be no finer testament to the value of a Fordham education and the caliber of our students.
Yesterday I wrote that the College Republicans provided Fordham with a test of its character. They, the University community, and our extended Fordham family passed the test with flying colors, engaging in impassioned but overwhelmingly civil debate on politics, academic freedom, and freedom of speech.
We can all be proud of Fordham today, and I am proud to serve you.
The Fordham College Republicans issued this statement of capitulation:
The College Republicans regret the controversy surrounding our planned lecture featuring Ann Coulter. The size and severity of opposition to this event have caught us by surprise and caused us to question our decision to welcome her to Rose Hill. Looking at the concerns raised about Ms. Coulter, many of them reasonable, we have determined that some of her comments do not represent the ideals of the College Republicans and are inconsistent with both our organization’s mission and the University’s. We regret that we failed to thoroughly research her before announcing; that is our error and we do not excuse ourselves for it. Consistent with our strong disagreement with certain comments by Ms. Coulter, we have chosen to cancel the event and rescind Ms. Coulter’s invitation to speak at Fordham.
We made this choice freely before Father McShane’s email was sent out and we became aware of his feelings – had the President simply reached out to us before releasing his statement, he would have learned that the event was being cancelled. We hope the University community will forgive the College Republicans for our error and continue to allow us to serve as its main voice of the sensible, compassionate, and conservative political movement that we strive to be. We fell short of that standard this time, and we offer our sincere apologies.
This is the America in which we now live. As we said at Legal Insurrection, it’s time to shock the higher-ed system, it’s so far gone nothing else will work.
A good start is for College Republicans to get a backbone and not give in to pressure. If we allow university administrators de facto veto power over whose and what ideas we hear, we have ceded precious territory. Coulter is the canary in the university free speech coal mine.
Can anyone give an example of a single liberal speaker who was denied an opportunity to speak on a college campus during Bush’s two terms as president? Of course not.
Back then, liberals were welcomed on campuses to tell everyone what a fascist Bush was.
Too bad our current academic overlords are no longer interested in free speech.
Fordham President Attacks Conservative Club for Hosting Coulter (Young America's Foundation)