The University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota prohibited a conservative club from hosting prominent pro-life speaker Star Parker for an on-campus event.
The campus Young America’s Foundation (YAF) chapter invited Parker to speak on campus, but administrators alerted the group in a February 20 email that “there were quite a few concerns about Star.”
“Our staff has been very adamant about bringing speakers to campus who educate and expand worldviews, but we really don’t bring speakers who radically hold beliefs that UNW as a whole would not agree with,” an administrator wrote to YAF Chair Haley Tschetter.
The school describes itself as a “Christ-centered liberal arts university” that is “grounded first and foremost in the truth of the Bible.”
In its email to Tschetter, the university goes on to explain that “in the past” it has generally “stayed away from sensationalized speakers.”
“Again, it may be different if we were able to bring a panel and provide a variety of thought, but in the past UNW has stayed away from sensationalized speakers. I foresee us continuing to do this,” the email states. “After reviewing some of Star’s material online we didn’t feel she was a good fit for our community. I would recommend planning far in advance for future activities so that we can discuss appropriate speakers for UNW.”
Tschetter claims she spoke with President Alan Cureton about the matter, and was told that “it’s better to provide a balanced view from different outlooks.”
“I was excited to embark on this new adventure and thrilled that Star Parker agreed to come and speak to my campus,” Tschetter commented. “After doing a little reading on several YAF speakers, I thought she could address some relevant topics to our campus. However, many are too fearful of ‘controversy’ to allow her lecture to take place. Issues already divide campuses, Christians, and people nationwide—speaking about them will not cause a divide, it will bring the underlying issues to light and provide an opportunity for them to be discussed openly and civilly.”
Apart from her work as a pro-life advocate, Parker is founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a network of pastors that works with impoverished communities.
“I accepted UNW YAF’s gracious invitation to defend life and traditional Christian principles,” Parker said. “Abortion has devastated the black community and is the moral crisis of our time. Christian universities are precisely where this urgent discussion should be happening.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Northwestern University” by Northwestern University.