When Ann Coulter (Almost) Came to Fordham

Until recently, I considered myself very lucky to go to a school like Fordham University. It is a classic college campus in one of the best cities in the world, and it has a surprisingly vibrant conservative student body. Granted, this is still a center-left school, but belonging to an active College Republicans chapter is something that I know very few students have the chance to do, especially when we have a relationship with the College Democrats that is more cordial and bipartisan then most other places (see: Congress). So when we asked Ann Coulter to come and speak, we expected a stimulating environment, but what we got instead was a mob more bent on ad hominem attacks against the club and the speaker, and a university president that engaged in public shaming rather than the intelligent dialogue he claimed to support.

The story of our club bringing Ann Coulter to campus, as told by groups like Salon and Mediaite, tells a story about how our club apologized over inviting her, citing that “we failed to thoroughly research her before announcing, that is our error and we do not excuse ourselves for it.” People would also be led to believe that we did so after our University President, Father Joseph McShane, S.J., sent out a campus-wide email criticizing us on our “maturity” in the decision to invite her. As a result, we had to rescind our invitation, to the disappointment of many in the club, myself included.

There are some things that should be clarified from this instance. First off, the decision to cancel the event was made hours before Fr. McShane sent out the unnecessarily condescending email to the entire student body. It was nothing more than an attempt by Fr. McShane to make himself seem important in the decision, as well as a chance to insert his own remarks about the event that had already been approved. Had he come to us first, which is what he should have done, the email would’ve been unnecessary. To me, this was personal, because we as a club have been one of the best organized at the school, and he tosses us under the bus to score points with alumni and the anti-Coulter lynch mob that descended on us, which was loaded with attacks on fellow members of the club, threats of inciting riots at the event, as well as people attempting to heckle or attack Ms. Coulter. The dialogue that Fr. McShane was trying to promote in his letter was not evident from the many Facebook groups.

He referenced the hate-crime events from last year, where racial and homophobic slurs were painted on students’ doors, and his administration was criticized for not handling the situation in a timely and effective manner. It seems that he is now going overboard on anything he sees as hateful, even though comparing Ms. Coulter to hate-filled vandals is an outlandish allegation, and calling out our club in the process took it to an unnecessary level. While he allowed the event to go on, it had already been cancelled (which he would’ve realized if he made the effort to reach out to us first).

I would’ve let the event go on, but unfortunately my club’s executive board caved in and actually apologized over inviting her. I’m not sure what stung more, the university president calling us out, or being stabbed in the back by our club’s elected leaders. There is no other word for it: we surrendered. If there is one thing conservatives do not do, it’s throw up the white flag in the face of mob tyranny, especially when the College Democrats, of all people, were helping this event proceed. Rather than this event be a show of strength, it was a show of weakness, helped along by the high-handedness of our administration.

John McKenna | Fordham University | @BosConservative

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17 Responses

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  1. Ms. Liberty
    Nov 20, 2012 - 03:10 PM

    Well, I see the haters and racists are here in force today spewing the venom they have been commanded to repeat by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

    For years now, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter have incited their followers to violence against minority communities; now hear how The Pig squeals when a diverse student community rises up in solidarity against White Privilege. Our campus “tolerance” does NOT and will NOT tolerate calls for violent racism from you, Mr. McKenna or anyone else.

    The racists and white supremacists of the College Republicans need to crawl back to masturbating on their Bibles, their guns and their AM radios and leave the rest of us alone.

  2. quidfecisti
    Nov 20, 2012 - 08:18 AM

    So you’re both too cowardly to actually sponsor her as a speaker and too cowardly to admit that you made a mistake? Charming.

  3. Omar
    Nov 15, 2012 - 10:53 PM

    I find Coulter to be refreshingly blunt – all the more so since she absolutely delights in skewering liberal shibboleths.

  4. Sarah Rolph
    Nov 15, 2012 - 08:15 PM

    I just read the email from the college president about this.

    This blog post is much better. Better writing, better thinking.

    In a certain sense, that seems more important than the issue being discussed. It’s heartening to see smart young people writing well and thinking clearly. That will take you far.

    It’s also heartening to learn about your vibrant College Republicans and your good relationship with your political adversaries. That speaks very well for all of you.

    Leadership doesn’t always come from the top. It comes from the people who have the wherewithal to lead. Now more than ever we need everyone who can to take as much leadership as possible.

    Thanks for reminding us what that looks like.

  5. Sandy Daze
    Nov 15, 2012 - 07:37 PM

    Sorry that this has happened. Reflects continued poor judgement on the part of Catholic University and College administrators, but of course, this is no surprise for those watching the decline in higher education. Tolerance for opposing views? HA. Willingness to stand on principles? HA. Qualities that make Catholic education institutions unique? HA. See Notre Dame and Georgetown. Fordham is in bad company to be sure.

    Perhaps it is time to go to a college university where all points of view are embraced and discussion is encouraged not intimidated. Perhaps it is time to consider Hillsdale College.

    Take good care & God Bless,

  6. Brandt Hardin
    Nov 13, 2012 - 10:46 PM

    Coulter is just one of the talking heads guarding the inhabitants of Bullsh*t Mountain from rejoining the world of the sane. Fox News is a propaganda machine which dumbs down America by the day through disinformation and their slanted agendas. See their anchors spewing forth feces from their mouths in my visual homage to the network on my artist’s blog at

    • Mark
      Nov 14, 2012 - 03:09 PM

      But of course there is no slant or bias at the “C” networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC) is there?

      Do the opinion shows and segments on FOX lean right? Absolutely. Is Hannity any farther right than Chris Matthews is left? Not hardly.

      If it wasn’t for FOX and their NEWS reporting, we wouldn’t know half of what went on in Benghazi. The C networks swept it under the rug.

      • Jason
        Nov 14, 2012 - 09:53 PM

        The point is that Fox News takes this to an intolerable extreme and Coulter only seems to perpetuate this action. I don’t think he was implying Fox is the only network with bias, at least I am certainly not implying that. However, Fox (and especially Coulter) are a perfect primary target for correcting bias in the media since they often take it too far. Even Coulter herself says, “what’s the point of this show” when speaking on Hannity about a Romney campaign blunder. Watch this video and around 3min 45sec in she drops that gem:—dog-days-edition—mitt-romney—wife-cancer . When a republican pundit is pointing out the direct support of a candidate by a NEWS network there is an issue.

        I feel that just like we need bi-partisanship and compromise in the government to actually get things done, we also need non-biased media to provide FACTS not opinions masquerading as facts.

        And, to speak more towards the subject of this article then the subjects of previous commenters, Ann Coulter should not be a top speaking choice. Namely because Coulter perpetuates falsehoods, lies, and bias. Regardless of any positive outcomes from Coulter, she is NOT a shining example of how information and commentary should be delivered or represented. Encouraging more to act as she does only works to inflate the already serious issue of bias in the media and falsehood in politics.

        P.S. Mark – bias by one does not justify bias by others. That is how children think, and largely why they need to be told what is right and wrong. All biased networks are wrong, they can not and should not justify their actions with “but the other guys do it too!!”. Someone needs to step up and provide actual TRUTH, not a steaming pile of shit with a little flag in it labelled “truth”.

      • Omar
        Nov 15, 2012 - 10:58 PM

        There is no such thing as wholly unbiased media. Everyone has a bias so why pretend? Simply familiarize yourself with the reporting style of the outlet or person in question and weigh the information accordingly.

      • hombre
        Nov 15, 2012 - 11:16 PM

        Are Democrats really so ignorant that they don’t know the difference between Fox commentary and Fox news. Do they now characterize newspaper editorials as “news.” (Hint: Hannity is commentary.)

        Does Brandt Hardin represent the discernment and maturity level of the new left. I say,”Yes.”

      • Dan
        Nov 20, 2012 - 01:55 PM

        An “unbiased media”, someone needs to man-up and face reality.

        Overtones of intolerance and hate ooze from the left when it comes the conservative leaders of this country, as is evident by the lack of civility in these posts. If one believes that an invited speaker is less than truthful, the honorable track to take would be to counter with facts during an appropriate venue organized by those who find it so necessary.

        Also evident by the words and actions here in, honor is not a trait of progressives. The real rub here is, facts are not on their side so their only recourse is make the event uncivilized and violent to get it shutdown. Progressives pretend to be opposed to censorship but as is seen by this situation, their actions expose the truth their words attempt to mask.

  7. Christopher Rushlau
    Nov 13, 2012 - 08:47 PM

    Catholic higher education will need a generation to recover from the shame of DePaul’s denial of tenure to Norman Finkelstein.



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