Students at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois held a funeral to mourn the “death” of free speech after DePaul was ranked the worst school for free speech in the country by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
The students held the event as part of Turning Point USA at DePaul’s weekly gatherings on various topics. This week, the students decided, they would hold the Funeral For Free Speech to coincide with Halloween.
Gabriella Caldarone, a fourth-year finance student at DePaul, said several major events at DePaul had been reflective of its free speech shutdown, one of which included a lecture by The Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro being banned for potentially “triggering” campus liberals.
“It was a response to Ben and Milo being banned, the Unborn Lives Matter poster being banned, DePaul putting up posters in dorms about words you couldn’t say, DePaul administration currently working on revising the speech codes, and the administration charging the Socialist club $1000 for security fees that they could not afford to host a meeting because their ideas were controversial,” Caldarone told The Daily Wire.
The students involved in the ‘funeral’ wore black outfits and sad faces while looking down at a table filled with free speech stickers, pins, two tombstones, flowers to commemorate the dead, a small casket, and photos of conservative journalists who were banned at DePaul over the past year, including Shapiro and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
“Here lies free speech,” one of the tombstones read.
Approximately ten students were involved in planning the event with Turning Point USA, a rapidly expanding national youth grassroots movement founded by free market activist Charlie Kirk. The event was organized by Anna Bauch, a third-year communications student and president of DePaul’s chapter of Turning Point USA.
Bauch told The Daily Wire she hoped the free speech funeral would kick off at other colleges across the country as well, adding that the death of free speech is not just an issue for conservatives.
“The socialist club was almost charged $1000 to have a meeting because their views are deemed too controversial,” she said. “We had flowers laid on a mini casket and had students write notes to free speech on why they miss having it around. I wanted to raise awareness of the necessity of free speech at institutions of higher education because they only way to either solidify your views or be challenged is by allowing various viewpoints on campus.”
Bauch said she did not think Ben should have been deemed “triggering” for DePaul.
“Although DePaul is a private school and they are allowed to ban whomever, I do not find Ben’s banishment to be justified,” she said.
Follow Pardes Seleh on Twitter.