The College Republicans at Fordham University have invited Ann Coulter to speak to their club, on campus. I first learned of Coulter speaking at Fordham via the light-hearted and amusing @FordhamPains Twitter.
— Fordham Pains (@FordhamPains) November 8, 2012
The FordahmPains Twitter also points to a petition on change.org asking the university to disinvite Coulter from speaking. As of 3:00 PM on Friday, the petition had gathered 1,840 signatures. The petition suggests that the university had invited her, which personally bugged me because Coulter is one of the most hateful conservative pundits today. However, the university has not invited her. Instead, it was a student group that invited her and will be sponsoring the event, albeit with student activity fees, that will take place on campus.
The President of the university issued an official statement, indicating that the administration will not stop Coulter from speaking on campus but expressed its chagrin in no uncertain terms.
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.
A university should refrain from policing student speech, as it can have a chilling effect on the academic and personal development of its students. I applaud the university for not taking any actions against the College Republicans or the students editors of the The Ram newspaper, who published a silly story in its April Fool’s issue about Fordham turning Jewish. However, it’s quite disturbing to know that there exists on campus an environment that makes immature jokes that traffic in Jewish stereotypes or that invites someone who regularly makes racist and homophobic statements. It embarrasses the university and the rest of its community. I applaud the university for publicly censuring the College Republicans for inviting Coulter to speak on campus.
Update: The College Republicans have cancelled their Ann Coulter event. I’m somewhat satisfied to know that Coulter is cheaper than George Will. I also find it amusing to learn that Herman Cain has a reputation for being too unreliable on the lecture circuit.