The University of St. Thomas is the major private university in the Twin Cities, with campuses in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is a Catholic institution, but it also worships strange gods at the shrine of political correctness.
After Ann Coulter addressed a standing room only crowd that mobbed the university’s O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in 2005, the school’s president — Father Dennis Dease — condemned Coulter’s talk as “hateful speech.” Father Dease was nowhere to be seen when Coulter appeared at St. Thomas, and couldn’t be troubled to specify how Coulter’s speech exceeded the bounds of civility at St. Thomas.
Father Dease expressed displeasure with Coulter’s “vitriolic criticism of ‘liberals'” and the allegedly “disrespectful and mean-spirited manner” with which she responded to “audience members who challenged her viewpoints.” One such challenge came from a member of the audience who had taken the microphone to tell Coulter “**** you” and salute her with the middle finger of both hands. Father Dease of course missed that, because he had missed the whole event. We covered the ensuing controversy in several posts including “Exceeding the bounds at UST,” “Hateful speech revisited,” “Drawing lines,” and “In which St. Thomas keeps digging.”
Coulter had appeared at St. Thomas through the offices of the Young America’s Foundation, which underwrote her speech. Memories are long among the petty tyrants of the St. Thomas administration. The St. Thomas Standard and the St. Thomas Students for Human Life teamed up to bring Star Parker to speak at St. Thomas on April 21, 2008 in a speech that was to be underwritten by YAF. Permission was denied by the school’s student life committee.
St. Thomas Vice President for Student Affairs Jane Canney recently explained the school’s denial of permission for the event in a meeting with Katie Kieffer (a St. Thomas alum, who had brought Coulter to campus) and her sister Amie (a St. Thomas senior), founder and editor, respectively, of the St. Thomas Standard. Katie Kieffer has provided us a detailed account of the meeting, supported by email messages that preceded it.
According to Ms. Kieffer’s account of the meeting, Canney articulated a “‘Shut up,’ he explained” rationale for the school’s denial of permisson for Parker to appear:
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