One University’s Double Standard on “Inclusion”

Two years ago, my school, Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, passed what it calls The Oath of Inclusion. The aim of the “oath” is to preserve a tolerant and open campus “in the spirit of inclusion.” The document in part reads:

I will embrace people for the diversity of their identities, creating a community inclusive of race, ethnicity, sex, age, ability, faith, orientation, gender, class and ideology. I will challenge my worldview through education inside and outside the classroom.

However, over my three and a half years at SLU, I have seen my university fail to live up to this standard time and time again — at least with regards to the “ideology” portion of the oath and unspoken claim to preserve an open-minded atmosphere on campus. The following narrative will serve to prove my point.

Earlier this morning, I was alerted by The David Horowitz Freedom Center about an anti-Israel conference set to take place September 21-23 on my school’s campus. I was familiar with the center because my freshman year, the university banned David Horowitz from campus because they were concerned his speech on “Islamo-Fascism” could be construed as “attacking another faith.” Horowitz subsequently released a statement claiming that SLU’s opposition of his speech was based upon “gross and demonstrable lies” and that the university’s action constituted “raw censorship.” I could not agree more. The SLU College Republicans (over which I currently preside) issued a press release detailing its side of the story but its efforts were in vain. Even though the campus has hosted Holocaust revisionist Norman Finkelstein in the past, Horowitz was somehow deemed “too controversial” (or perhaps, too conservative).

Yet, now, three years later, Saint Louis University has seemingly reversed its fears over a campus guest “attacking another faith.” The conference next week entitled “End the Occupation,” will take place in our Busch Student Center, a common gathering spot for students. Note: The conference is not sponsored by the University, but outside groups must go through an approval process and pay a fee before hosting an event on campus. The organization hosting the event, also called “End the Occupation,” works in the St. Louis area to “end the Israeli occupation and apartheid of Palestine”. Their website is almost completely filled with Anti-Israel posts, news stories and blogs. They have even come out in support of “Specially Designated Terrorist” Muhammad A. Salah, a known supporter of Hamas. SLU deemed David Horowitz “controversial” but then allows this organization to hold an event in close proximity to thousands of students? I sense an issue here, or rather, a double standard.

Saint Louis University officials claimed that David Horowitz’s speech would not live up to the ideals of university’s mission. I claim, rather, that the school has failed once again to live up to its own mission. Tolerance and “inclusion” are not selective. My school is offended by an out-of-context assumption about a conservative speaker but is seemingly tacitly supportive of an organization whose main goal is to dismantle the state of Israel as we know it. The College Republicans have fallen outside the university’s seemingly narrow standard of “inclusion,” but “End the Occupation” fits nicely inside. I should not be surprised, however, since anti-Israel sentiment bubbles under the surface of our student body here at SLU. When the university invited Holocaust survivor Eli Weisel to speak on campus several protesters rudely interrupted his speech calling for him to “come to Gaza” and see the “devastation” wrought by Israeli “occupation.” Personally, I stand with Israel and I’m offended that this kind of behavior is becoming more and more common on my campus.

Thus far, the president of St. Louis University has not responded to concerns about this conference. SLU has noble values ingrained in its mission, but I am saddened that my school has failed to live up to it’s own values again. I understand that this event is not directly sponsored by our school, but it was approved to take place on campus after David Horowitz was rejected. Until I hear differently, I take the university’s silence as tacit support of the conference. I urge St. Louis University and its student body to acknowledge this double standard and have a truly open and honest discussion about the narrow standard of “inclusion” on campus. At St. Louis University, pro-Israel sentiment is silenced while Anti-Israel thoughts are allowed to thrive. Conservatives are shunned for speaking their minds where liberal policies are encouraged. Finally, I humbly request that the University make an official statement regarding this conference. The students and St. Louis community are owed that much.

Amy Lutz | Saint Louis University | @AmyLutz4

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20 Responses

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  1. Dawn
    Sep 20, 2012 - 04:51 AM

    Amy, thanks for helping expose this hatred and hypocrisy! It’s shameful that such things are not only tolerated, but embraced! I heard about this today on the radio and just found your blog and youtube interview. You have my support and the support of many in the community! The University President needs to answer to this! Thanks for your strength and leadership!!

  2. Liz Trent
    Sep 18, 2012 - 02:05 PM

    Here we see the Jordanians and Egyptians who were left over after the 1967 war with Israel, called “Palestinians” they REJOICE after three thousand Americans were brutally murdered in an attack which brought down the twin towers in NYC on 9/11, 2001. SLU is bringing a group who hates Israel and stands with these enemies of our nation. They will hold a three day think tank pow wow, and attempt to sway US policy away from supporting Israel, a Western Democracy, and attempt to teach SLU students to support these thugs, No I don’t think they have any right to speak on campus NO.

  3. Liz Trent
    Sep 18, 2012 - 01:53 PM

    This video shows how the Soviets used ideological subversion. Ideological subversion and lies and deception and providing aid and comfort to the enemies of a free Western civil society is NOT free speech. SLU staff are concerned about the “feelings” of students who claim they are “offended” by David Horowitz but they are really afraid that students will hear the truth and realized they have been duped and they paid the tuition to be deceived. The administrators of SLU are responsible for their actions. In my opinion they are traitors to our constitution. To deny David Horowitz and allow “End the Occupation” is a clear signal that Father Biondi is unable or unwilling to evaluative the world around him.


    • K
      Sep 19, 2012 - 01:49 AM

      i think it’s relevant to note that the SLU College Democrats also protested the blocking of Horowitz from campus. so. cool yo jets.

  4. Liz Trent
    Sep 17, 2012 - 05:54 PM

    just delete the last allow

  5. Lizzie
    Sep 17, 2012 - 01:16 AM

    I agree that SLU has issues with censoring certain speakers and events; however, it is in no way limited to censoring extreme conservative ideas. I’ve been on exec. board for a completely politically neutral group on campus for the past three years, and we’ve have multiple speakers turned down because of some small thing in their past that either the president or alums don’t agree with. We tried to bring in a speaker who wasn’t coming to speak about anything political and they were turned down at the last minute for once supporting Planned Parenthood in the past. So in that case, a speaker was turned down because they were seen as too liberal – and they weren’t even coming for a political talk! The bureaucracy of this school is insanely annoying at times. But let’s not try to put this on the Oath of Conclusion. Our group has had issues way before the oath was ever an idea, and we’ve seen both conservative and liberal speakers turned away.

    • Liz Trent
      Sep 17, 2012 - 03:34 PM

      A comment like yours is just another example of how the ideological army is used to confuse. You have presented no real evidence here. SLU is highly left leaning and will not stop at suppressing free speech to keep it that way. I doubt you saw anything, except an excellent article by Amy that threatened to expose them. Americans have been aware for decades that our universities have become the protectors and promoters of failed communist thinking. Students graduate, unable to think or evaluate our world accurately. Hitler would never have survived without the complete support of the intellectual elites.

      • Lizzie
        Sep 17, 2012 - 04:54 PM

        Haha. How did I not present any real evidence? I just gave you a real example. Do you want more details or something? Habitat for Humanity tried to bring in a speaker to talk about substandard housing and they were turned down two days before the event because they once voted on some kind of legislation that was pro-Planned Parenthood. How is that no evidence? YOU are the one who is making baseless claims with no evidence. “Americans have been aware for decades that our universities have become the protectors and promoters of failed communist thinking.” That is like some automated robot response with ABSOLUTELY no evidence provided in your post.

        I was simply providing evidence of administrative bureaucracy that I, as a student at SLU, have experienced. And I provided it in a balanced an fair way. You are not only not a student at SLU, and therefore have no experience to speak from, but also provide no legitimate argument or useful information. You’re simply regurgitating strategically-worded baseless claims that you probably heard on some extreme radio show, blog or other biased source.

      • Liz Trent
        Sep 17, 2012 - 05:53 PM

        Personal attacks 1.calling me a robot (not even human) 2. calling me stupid 3.calling me inexperienced 4. claiming that non university students have no right to speak. Has anyone ever taught you that personal attacks are not good debate?

        These are the tactics of the left, you can never beat us in the world if ideas, yours have been tried and have failed repeatedly. Our ideas bring prosperity to all.

        End the Occupation is a hate group, they have no business being on campus. Any sound traditional, freedom loving University would never allow them to come lie to students allow. SLU is leftist.

      • K
        Sep 17, 2012 - 07:16 PM

        i really hope you can sit back and enjoy the supreme irony of the idea that a “freedom loving University” should censor groups on campus.

        After you do that, I hope you can realize how irrelevant your points are to what Lizzie is trying to say. Fact: Universities censor both sides. The end.

      • Lizzie
        Sep 17, 2012 - 08:45 PM

        Okay, it’s obvious that you have no real response to my argument, as you had to fabricate person attacks I made toward you. I said your response sounded robotic, not that you’re a robot. The word “stupid” did not appear once in my post. I also did not call you inexperienced or say you have no right to speak. I simply said that since you are not a student here, you have no personal experiences with the school on which to base your claims.
        I also agree that there is great irony in you saying that any freedom-loving university would ban this group from coming. You’re literally arguing against the original idea of this story by saying that SLU should censor this group. So, once again, you have provided no sound argument or facts. In fact, I’m not even sure why you bothered providing that response at all as it adds no intellectual or stimulating discussion to this thread.

      • Eric
        Sep 20, 2012 - 05:03 AM

        The idea that SLU is insanely left leaning is absurd. SLU has censored both liberal and conservative speakers. I personally was the one that tried to bring the speaker that Lizzie mentioned to campus; she was a local alderwoman who was going to speak for a Habitat event and was denied because she had sat on a Planned Parenthood board in the past. In my personal opinion SLU is all about its bottom line – they will censor any speaker or event that it deems un-Catholic enough to piss off rich alumni. When it comes to speakers (and nearly any administrative decision at SLU), cash is king. There is evidence for this all over SLU. Recent decisions such removing whole departments (urban affairs), firing workers (Library), and attempting to dismantle the tenure system prove that Biondi sees things only in terms of dollar signs. There is no doubt that the views of alumni and donors factor into decisions about speakers – I was told this flat out by more than one administrator when I attempted to navigate SLU bureaucracy and find out why my speaker was denied . Anyway my main point is this: You can’t have it both ways. If you want SLU to have conservative speakers (and they have had SEVERAL in the past e.g. David Limbaugh, S.E. Cupp)then you HAVE to allow speakers with left leaning ideas to speak as well (even ones that aren’t 100% Pro-Israel). That’s what is supposed to be so great about a University setting – free expression of ideas!!! It’s a radical concept for SLU I know! All in all, I agree that SLU should be more consistent in its policy of approving speakers but the argument that conservatives are persecuted here at SLU is baseless.

  6. Sean L
    Sep 15, 2012 - 12:29 PM

    Really Amy, are you shocked? Anti-semitism isn’t dead, it’s still very fashionable on college campuses. Since multiculturalism is really anti-occidentalism, and the most powerful Eastern religion is Islam, “the enemy of my friend is my enemy.” And since Iran has declared that they want to wipe Israel off the map…

  7. JD
    Sep 15, 2012 - 04:12 AM

    I am an alumnus, and my former university shall not see one penny of mine.

  8. Abby
    Sep 13, 2012 - 10:14 PM

    This is outrageous that this is happening on this campus. It just goes to show that though we want to allow free speech, the content of it is never looked at.

  9. Liz Trent
    Sep 13, 2012 - 04:36 PM

    An official statement is needed. This type of event is shameful and I wonder if the KKK, Neo Nazi’s or regular Nazi’s would have been received with such open arms. When one considers the similarity in ideology between Nazi’s and Islamist Supremacists, the thought that this group was even allowed a paid room is mind boggling.

    Ideological subversion and propaganda are NOT free speech. American is not for sale. Just because a group holding a bag of Saudi petrodollars comes to town, does not mean we take the cash and cover our actions under a blanket of free speech, political correctness, and tolerance.

    Tolerance of evil is a crime. Thomas Mann



  1. TCC: ‘One University’s Double Standard on “Inclusion’” | The High School Conservative
  2. One University’s Double Standard On “Inclusion” « The Greenroom

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