DEPAUL — DePaul University is bracing for a campus appearance Wednesday evening by libertarian author Charles Murray.
The Division of Student Affairs sent out a letter to "members of the DePaul community" Tuesday stating that the event would be restricted to university students, faculty and staff and explaining the reasoning behind allowing the provocative right-wing thinker to speak.
According to an email signed by Eugene Zdziarski, vice president of student affairs, and Elizabeth Ortiz, vice president of institutional diversity & equity, a "newly established speaker review board, comprised of students, faculty and staff, carefully considered the DePaul College Republicans’ request to invite Mr. Murray as a speaker," weighed according to the university's Guiding Principles for Speech and Expression.
According to the letter: "The board did not find sufficient reason to deny Mr. Murray the opportunity to speak on campus," and his lecture "will be followed by a Q&A segment so that viewpoints can be heard, defended and challenged."
Murray is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. He is the author of "Losing Ground," a 1984 book credited with laying the intellectual groundwork for President Bill Clinton's 1996 Welfare Reform Act, designed to trim welfare rolls, and the 1994 book "The Bell Curve," which made what some critics found to be explosive claims about the role of IQ in America's class system.
He also wrote the books "What It Means to Be a Libertarian" and, more recently, "Coming Apart," a 2012 work with the subtitle "The State of White America: 1960-2010," which again suggested a predisposition based on "cognitive ability" for some to rise in the social strata while others decline.
Murray's ideas would seem to be arid enough for any university confab, but an appearance by him recently roiled the University of Michigan campus.
DePaul, too, has been struggling with the ramifications of free speech on campus. A man was stabbed on Sheffield Avenue down the street from the student center in May after a "Rally Against Hate." An appearance by conservative TV pundit Gavin McInnes was subsequently canceled by the university.
A year before that, Black Lives Matter protesters shut down a DePaul appearance by former Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and that later led to the university banning an appearance by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro last year.
It should be noted that since then former DePaul president, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, has stepped down in favor of A. Gabriel Esteban, although he won't have his formal inauguration until Nov. 19.
DePaul has set protest guidelines, which the Student Affairs letter said "affirm the right to protest in ways that do not disrupt the event." It added that "at the start of the event all attendees will be reminded of the university’s expectation in this regard."
DePaul College Republicans said in a Facebook event post that they're "proud to bring Dr. Charles Murray to DePaul University" and "are excited for this event," while repeating that it's only open to DePaul students, faculty and staff.
According to the group, it's set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Courtelyou Commons, 2324 N. Fremont St.