On National Television Tonight: DePaul Surrenders
January 6, 2006
When the CRs submitted the flyers for approval, administrators responded first by misleading the CRs into thinking that the event was cancelled, then by invoking a policy that stated, “We do not approve propaganda.” The students, who did not believe that quoting a person’s own remarks was “propaganda,” posted the flyers anyway, leading to a formal warning from DePaul and a surreptitious addition to the policy saying that posters could be used only to promote events, not to protest them.
[O]n November 23, 2005, FIRE wrote a letter to DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider, pointing out that the vague and constantly shifting ban on “propaganda” gave administrators the unfettered power to censor student speech at will. Holtschneider replied on December 12, incorrectly asserting that no DePaul policies mentioned the word “propaganda” and stating that the policy prohibits the denunciation of any speaker appearing at DePaul. Yet FIRE’s research shows that not only did the “propaganda” ban exist, but the stipulation that flyers may only “promote events” appeared in the policy after the College Republicans’ flyers were denied approval.