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Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:18 PM

Fordham head blasts Ann Coulter


Fordham head blasts Ann Coulter
Father Joseph McShane calls the College Republicans' guest speaker "hateful and needlessly provocative"
By Joan Walsh


McShane notes that Fordham has been blighted by ugly racial and homophobic incidents in the last few years, and he laments the lack of “maturity” shown by his young campus Republicans in inviting the provocateur Coulter. But he says he trusts the Fordham “community” to model “the power of decency and reason to overcome hatred and prejudice.” Let’s hope that happens. Personally, I hope Coulter reads McShane’s statement, withdraws from the engagement, and spends some time reflecting on why she’s filled with so much hate. But I’m a dreamer.

Here’s the whole statement:

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

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Reply Fordham head blasts Ann Coulter (Original post)
babylonsister Nov 2012 OP
Angry Dragon Nov 2012 #1
babylonsister Nov 2012 #2
Angry Dragon Nov 2012 #3
tanyev Nov 2012 #4

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:40 PM

1. is not open to the public nor the media

sounds like they have a lot to hide or are ashamed by their speaker

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:42 PM

2. No, clubs (College Democrats and College Republicans) host their guests;

it's an internal club thing, nothing nefarious. At least that's what I got out of it per Joan Walsh, top of column; her daughter goes/went there.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:47 PM

3. sounds like a waste of money to bring in someone for a pep rally

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 07:01 PM

4. That's going to spur her on to greater heights of nastiness.

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