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Charles Murray Appearance At DePaul Brings Out Students To Protest In Rain

By Ted Cox | November 2, 2017 5:51am
 DePaul students protest in the rain outside a campus appearance by conservative author Charles Murray Wednesday.
DePaul students protest in the rain outside a campus appearance by conservative author Charles Murray Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

DEPAUL — More than 100 DePaul University students protested in the rain Wednesday outside a campus appearance by libertarian author Charles Murray.

About 20 students aligned with the protesters "infiltrated" Murray's address, but got up and walked out when he began to speak.

Otherwise, the protest was orderly if not always respectful.

DePaul College Republicans, the group that invited Murray to campus, said it had a "full house" for the appearance at Courtelyou Commons, 2324 N. Fremont St. But the protesters who walked out said they left about 80 people inside, and protest organizers claimed to have more than double that outside.

"We were very pleased how the event went off, but would have liked to see the group of people who marched out stay and actually challenge Dr. Murray," said John Minster, chairman of the DePaul Republicans. "We got some of that anyways, which was great, but the more the merrier."

Phillipe Thao, a senior, said the protest was "a collective effort by multiple student organizations" opposed to Murray's positions.

DePaul has had trouble with previous campus appearances by conservative speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos, resulting in cancellation of an appearance by Ben Shapiro last year. An appearance by conservative Canadian TV pundit Gavin McInnes was likewise banned this year, and an ensuing "Rally Against Hate" led to a stabbing down the street from the Student Center.

Murray's talk was limited to DePaul students, faculty and staff, and members of the news media were not allowed in.

Outside, protesters charged the author of "The Bell Curve," "Losing Ground," "What It Means to Be a Libertarian" and more recently "Coming Apart: The State of White America: 1960-2010" with "pseudo-science" for his views generally stating that IQ and "cognitive ability" account for class divisions.

They carried signs reading, "Resist white supremacy" and "Charles Murray better scurry," and chanted, "What do we want? Evidence-based research! When do we want it? After peer review!" Some charged him with being an outright racist.

As Murray spoke inside, protesters passed a megaphone back and forth among each other and spoke outside for more than an hour as persistent rain fell, with several pointing out Murray did not represent what DePaul stands for or Vincentian values.

"It's frustrating they would put this ahead of Vincentian values and the safety of students," Thao said.

But at least one other protester endorsed the university's hands-off approach, saying a crackdown on free speech could equally affect leftists as those on the right.

Chicago Police were on the scene, including Near North Police District Cmdr. Paul Bauer, but no conflict erupted before protesters dispersed a little more than an hour into the event.