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Catholic university nixes ‘provocative’ pro-life poster

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 10/25/16

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The relationship between the DePaul College Republicans (DCR) and university administration has been noticeably strained over the past six months. Disputes over what speakers should be allowed on campus and what speech is considered offensive have caused many members of the College Republicans to feel the university is silencing their political views.

Despite this, when the DRC submitted a poster advertising their organization that said “Unborn Lives Matter” to the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) for approval, they were expecting zero pushback. But the proposal for the poster, which was clearly inspired by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement’s well-known black and white design, was denied by the administration.

John Minster, Vice President of DCR, said members were shocked by the decision.

“We were upset and surprised,” Minster said. “We were surprised because while we understand where (the administration is) coming from, given the issue (and) given the problems we’ve already had with speech at the school, we assumed that given it’s just a poster this wouldn’t be an issue. (We thought) this is something that they would say, ‘OK, fine.’ They might not agree with it, they might not like it, but given the sort of pro-life values behind it we thought it would be fine. And obviously we thought wrong.”

The university released an official statement explaining their decision to deny the DCR from using their “Unborn Lives Matter” poster.

“In making this decision, we looked no further than the university’s Guiding Principles for Speech & Expression which note a ‘distinction between being provocative and being hurtful.’ The principles also state that ‘speech whose primary purpose is to wound is inconsistent with our Vincentian and Catholic Values.’ The proposed banner was, at best deceptive, and the words, font, colors and design were clearly intended to do a disservice to the Black Lives Matter and pro-life movements. The students submitted an alternative banner that was approved.”

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