DePaul University, which threatened to arrest Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro for stepping foot on campus in November 2016, is at its anti-free speech antics again. This time they've preemptively banned conservative comedian and commentator Steven Crowder because, as the administration put it, his style does not "align" with DePaul's "educational mission." In a statement provided to The Daily Wire, Crowder has officially responded — and it's classic Crowder.
DePaul's preemptive denial of Crowder's possible appearance on the campus came in response to a request by the Young America's Foundation to possibly host Crowder at an event on campus. The university turned down the request before Crowder was even aware that he might be invited. In a letter sent to YAF chair Jorin Burkhart, DePaul's Associate Vice President of Student Development Peggy Burke said the review board determined that Crowder was not allowed to appear on campus because he sometimes makes fun of his opponents.
"The Speaker Review Board denied this speaker request due to their research on Mr. Crowder and came to the conclusion that he creates videos to purposely to rouse and provoke people by making fun of the opposing side," wrote Burke. "They didn’t see how this aligns with DePaul’s educational mission."
In response, Crowder issued his own statement in which he said the university's decision has now given him no choice but to, in "one way or another," make his way to DePaul.
"I had no idea I was even being considered as a speaker on campus," Crowder said in a statement sent to The Daily Wire. "Thanks, guys (and girls, and zis). But now that I know they've banned me, it seems that one way or another, I HAVE to visit DePaul, right? I mean, what choice do I have?"
The comedian and podcast host also defended the content of his videos which the review board found so "provoking."
"As far as my 'videos,' listen, I'm a late-night comic," said Crowder. "I host a late-night show. We do PLENTY of bits that will offend people of all different stripes. I make no apologies. That's not our primary intent, however. On the flip-side, you can go watch several HOURS of my 'Change My Mind' segments on YouTube, in which I engage strangers and/or students in civil disagreements, unedited, sometimes for hours at a time. Nobody else in the history of news commentary has done that. I will respectfully engage with ANYONE willing to have a productive, reasonable dialogue.
"If the faculty and students of DePaul are too weak-minded to do the same, then I feel sorry for them and hope to see full refunds issued to parents who were under the false impression they were paying for a proper education," he concluded.
As Campus Reform reports, Burkhart also responded to DePaul's latest violation of free speech protections. "It's ridiculous and pathetic that DePaul, a place which boasts in its so-called open-mindedness, is afraid of someone as mainstream and harmless as Steven Crowder," Burkhart told Campus Reform. "However, based on the administration’s pattern of making it difficult to impossible for conservative groups to hold successful events, I can’t say I’m surprised."
The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro experienced that "pattern" firsthand back in November 2016. Below is an excerpt of his account of what took place on campus when he showed up (formatting adjusted):
This week, I showed up at DePaul at the invitation of the YAF group on campus. The administration made clear that they’d shut down the event if I was a speaker, so the group attempted to register me as a guest. The administration blocked that. So we attempted to register me as a member of fellow speaker Christina Hoff Sommers’ team. The administration wouldn’t allow that either. In an unprecedented move, expecting my arrival, they mandated that everyone wear special wristbands and be screened by metal detectors.
When I showed up, I was confronted by 30 security guards from the university. There were also five or six local cops present, as well as a sheriff from Cook County to facilitate an arrest if security decided to move on me. And they did openly threaten me with arrest if I attempted to attend Sommers’ lecture.
I walked up to security; click here to see what transpired.
Here’s the thing: there were no protesters. None. Not a single one.
But the administration was so intent on placating protesters who didn’t even show up that they banned me personally from entering a campus to give a speech on free speech.