Education

Fordham College Republicans withdraw Coulter invite

Faculty members got into the act as well. In a memo, Gwenyth Jackaway, a professor of communication and media studies, agreed that Fordham should not forcibly rescind Coulter’s invitation, The Observer notes. At the same time, Jackaway said she was “saddened and disappointed that there are students at Fordham who would want to invite Ms. Coulter.”

Jackaway, who teaches a course focusing on freedom of expression, also charged that Coulter and her ilk “inflame emotions that can be harmful to the safety and stability of our society.”

On Nov. 10, Fordham’s College Republicans caved in to mounting pressure from both students and administrators. Their statement, published by The Observer, argues that they were ignorant of Coulter’s views and her status as a notorious provocateur.

“The College Republicans regret the controversy surrounding our planned lecture featuring Ann Coulter,” the group says in their statement. “The size and severity of opposition to this event have caught us by surprise, and caused us to question our decision to welcome her to Rose Hill.

“Looking at the concerns raised about Ms. Coulter, many of them reasonable, we have determined that some of her comments do not represent the ideals of the College Republicans and are inconsistent with both our organization’s mission, and the University’s. We regret that we failed to thoroughly research her before announcing…”

“We have decided that it was in our best interest to cancel the event,” Theodore Conrad, president of Fordham’s College Republicans said, according to The Observer.

“We did not properly vet a potential speaker for Fordham University,” Conrad told The Observer. “I feel we would be doing a lot of people a disservice in bringing a speaker like that to Fordham.”

Fordham’s College Republicans also claim to have made their decision to rescind the invitation before McShane dressed them down in his Nov. 9 statement.

“We made this choice freely, before Father McShane’s email was sent out and we became aware of his feelings,” the statement by the College Republicans continues. “Had the President simply reached out to us before releasing his statement he would have learned that the event was being cancelled.”

After the College Republicans cancelled the Coulter appearance, McShane issued another statement that showered praise on the College Republicans, according to The Observer. McShane said they “acted quickly, took responsibility for their decisions, and expressed their regrets sincerely and eloquently.”

McShane also suggested that the Fordham community, by denying Coulter the opportunity to speak, had engaged in “civil debate on politics, academic freedom and freedom of speech.”

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