Marquette University Students Shut Down Convocation in Protest of Racial “Oppressions and Hardships”

Recently, Marquette University faced criticism over the removal of the image of Father Jacques Marquette and a Native American from its seal after protests. Now the University is facing another controversy after black student activists shutdown its convocation to protest the “oppressions and hardships” faced at the university. This includes the alleged elimination of  the Office of Engagement and Inclusion, which officials have denied as simply false.The Black Student Council of Marquette University, organized the protests to “bring to light the constant oppressions and hardships placed on students of color.” They claimed that “we are constantly under appreciated, watched, socially abused and forgotten by administration.” That included claims that “the fact that they eliminated the entire Office of Engagement and Inclusion (OEI) without stating why is unacceptable.” However, the university states that it did not explain why because it did not eliminate the office. The university also denied the claim that the school’s Urban Scholars program is understaffed.Local media reported that Provo and Vice President of Academic Affairs Kimo Ah Yun had to tell new students and their families that the event would be postponed.

Senior and McNair Scholar Lionel Clay is quoted as saying “We shut this down to represent how they’re trying to shut us down. Trying to silence our voices. How they’re trying to mute us. How they don’t want us to be there.” However, there was also this quote from incoming freshman Brennan Wills: “I appreciate that Marquette acknowledges the First Amendment rights of free speech. I don’t enjoy how in the end the event was still canceled, and I don’t get to experience this.”

Willis has a point. The protesters stopped these students and families from an important part of their college experience, a convocation that the protesters were allowed when they were incoming students. In my view, it was a reckless and callous act. There is no question that stopping the convocation received the greatest press attention but it also hurt fellow students and their families. Rather than conducting a sit-in at an administrative building or protesting other events, the students selected an event that would deny other students one of the most memorable moments of their education. However, it was not the protest itself but the storming of the stage that went too far in my view.

The question is how the university should respond. It is does not appear that any discipline will be meted out for blocking the event.

This presents a different situation from prior cancellation campaigns where protesters keep speakers from being heard due to their holding dissenting views.

Blocking others from speaking is not the exercise of free speech. It is the very antithesis of free speech. Nevertheless, faculty have supported such claims. CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek showed how far this trend has gone. When conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech,”  Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech. (Bilek later cancelled herself and resigned).

Here the effort was to protest university policies and the treatment of African American students. While the protesters were reportedly wrong on the issue of the OEI office, they were seeking to draw attention to what they viewed as racist policies or practices by the university.  For many decades, students have engaged in such sit downs, strikes, and protests. There is a difference from trying to prevent others from speaking on campus.

The problem, however, remains the specific event and method that they chose. I believe that preventing other students from experiencing this rite of passage was wrong and worthy of discipline. I would not support expulsion, but I believe that the students should be sanctioned in the form of an official reprimand or even a suspension. That should be accompanied with a warning that any similar disruption of a convocation or graduation in the future would result in expulsion. That does not mean that they cannot protest such events. The students have a free speech right to protest at the convocation. They do not have the right to storm the stage and disrupt the convocation. This protest harmed other students. The same is true for preventing classes from being held by storming a classroom, as was the situation previously discussed at Northwestern.

I have also advocated in the past that students who disrupt speakers face expulsion after being given a prior warning and official reprimand. There is a difference between protesting outside of events or classes and storming rooms or stages to prevent others from hearing teachers or speakers. It is the difference between being heard and preventing others from being heard.

In this case, the protesters used an important ceremony for other students as a vehicle for their own speech. In doing so, they harmed other students and the school by blocking the convocation rather than simply engaging in a nearby protest. As institutions of higher learning, we have to draw a bright line in the protection of a diversity of viewpoints as well as the protections of the spaces for learning. Protests are an important part of that culture but so is the recognition of basic respect and tolerance for other students and faculty in their own activities and expression.





61 thoughts on “Marquette University Students Shut Down Convocation in Protest of Racial “Oppressions and Hardships””

  1. 21

    There is no rationale to establish any policy on the ravings of immature and inexperienced young adults.

    The majority of students at any university must be “seen and not heard.”

    Universities must discipline to control disruptive behavior.

    Students must been seen studying and passing.

    Miscreants are not students, they are criminals.

    America requires people to be 21 years of age to purchase alcohol.

    American Founders required citizens to be 21 years of age to vote in 1788.

    There is/was good reason for those criteria.

    Universities must require and educate on the presentation of proper decorum and deference by students under 21.

    21 Years of Age to Purchase Alcohol

    “A combination of Federal, State, and local laws help shape the role alcohol plays in the United States… The primary Federal law governing alcohol policy is the 21st Amendment, which repealed national prohibition. It also gives individual States control… Some States offer local governments control over alcohol policy development and enforcement. Other States control alcohol policy at the State government level. Even with this flexibility for the States, Congress retains the power to use financial and tax incentives to promote certain alcohol policies, such as the minimum legal drinking age. The Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act of 1984 sets the minimum legal drinking age to 21 and every State abides by that standard.”

    – NIH, NIAAA

  2. Another step towards further marginalization. These type of protests, like self segregation and safe places, will get you nowhere positive. Who wants to be around people who think and act this way? They are drinking a very nasty Kool Aid being sold to them by race hustlers and self-hating, brainwashed college grads and profs.

  3. ..EXCUSE ME… BUT.. these folks are students there, which means they were welcomed into the school – no doubt on full scholarships – given a chance to make a great start in Life… where they will (according to the trends) no doubt given great jobs above other races…where they can also help lift others as they have been lifted.. indeed as all who came to the USA have been lifted and assimilated… so why are they allowed to disrupt and insult everyone else with their short-sidedness, hatred and revenge via false charges.. what else do they expect…??!!

    1. RE:”so why are they allowed to disrupt and insult everyone else with their short-sidedness, hatred and revenge via false charges.” Due to their youth and immaturity, and being blind to the wisdom inherent in your comment notwithstanding….because they can and they will. Reitred as a Clinical Associate Professor at a recognized professional school, the students piped the tune. Where they came up short due to lack of interest or motivation, the faculty was expected to fill in the gaps. If one failed to do so, one was evaluated by students as inadequate.

  4. If you want bad behavior in children, don’t punish them for it. Let them know they can do whatever they want with impunity and they will shut down a convocation just to ruin the day for hundreds of people. Where does this end?

  5. RE:”Protests are an important part of that culture but so is the recognition of basic respect and tolerance for other students and faculty in their own activities and expression…The manifestations of protest in contemporary culture do not support such a philosophy. The 2020 Summer of ‘Love’ is bold evidence of same. The Cancel Culture Gestapo staffing the HR departments of corporate entities and the halls of academia will deprive you of your livelihood and pursuit of happiness if you are accused of creating a hostile work environment. All need be decided is that your personal expressions of sociopolitical and economic thought are inconsistent with what is deemed ‘right, correct, and proper’ by the majority employed there. Prejudice and discrimination on the basis of sociopolitical and economic thought should punishable under the provisions of the Civil Rights Act. Don’t expect that to come to pass anytime soon.

  6. Racial concordance. A promising new framework for social justice.

    A growing body of scientific research supported by the National Institutes of Health suggests that racial concordance in the healthcare setting plays an important role in improving patient-provider communication, patient satisfaction, and healthcare outcomes. The benefits of racial concordance are especially striking for diverse patient populations.

    These findings suggest avenues for extending existing policy initiatives to improve racial concordance in healthcare. These avenues could include eliminating standardized testing and other barriers to medical training for diverse populations (not just for physicians but extending through all levels of the healthcare system), specialized training on racially concordant health issues, and expanding federal programs to encourage racial concordance – and discourage racial discordance – in patient-provider interactions.

    The framework could be generalized to improve racial concordance in other areas including education, housing, and employment.

    Racial concordance. Eliminating racial discordance. A promising new framework for social justice.

    Here is an explanation in less scientific terms:

    Racially-concordant care: why it matters if your provider looks like you

    1. RE:”Racially-concordant care: why it matters if your provider looks like you..” Such was the philosophy behind the community schools movement in NYC during the 60’s. That the teachers should look like their students. More than 1/2 century later they are still up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

  7. Just keep in mind that the left has no real agenda if they can’t find something to complain about. They are not a positive growth ideology, they are a whine and gripe group of malcontents whose only purpose is to condemn the “other”. They are truly the most divisive and racist group to grab on to power and look just where they have brought this nation – to the door of ruin.

  8. The Pungi’s rhythm and melancholy tone of Socialism on Display, closed minded neophytes.

  9. In the late 1960’s, student protests, often violent, were the bane of college campuses. Most college administrators sought to appease the protesters, at the expense of the other students. But when the University of Chicago suffered a series of student actions over a period of several months, President Edward Levi, the legal scholar and future Attorney General, took a different course: he enforced the school rules through a hearing process. Many of the protesters were expelled from the school. Surprisingly, the protests ended. “Levi’s administration gained national attention for its response to student protests, particularly the February, 1969 student occupation of the administration building in response to the denial of tenure to professor Marlene Dixon. Levi and his administration and staff moved their work offsite for the two-week duration of the protests. Many protesters were then expelled or suspended. The measured nature of Levi’s initial response, the reliance on university rules and disciplinary bodies and the severity of the punishments were the subject of widespread comment.” []

    1. RE:”In the late 1960’s, student protests, often violent, were the bane of college campuses..” I venture to say that those of like mindset who manged to remain rose up the academic ladder and chain of command such that they are now ‘occupying’ the Dean’s office as the Deans, setting and supporting the issues raised by the student bodies, the Woke Agenda, and the Cancel Culture Gestapo many in the outside world are railing against..

      1. Your observation, while correct, would lead us to the realization that not only does the DC swamp need fumigation, so do the halls of academia. Until we disinfect our institutions of higher learning (where I also note we get our public school teachers) there will be a continued disentegration of the culture and societal norms that created this once great nation.

        1. RE:” so do the halls of academia.” Quite right! Now to establish how to bell the cat!

  10. “Constant oppressions and hardships placed on students of color” and “constantly under appreciated, watched, socially abused and forgotten by administration.” Why blacks apply to and stay at these racist institutions is hard to understand. There are plenty of other schools that would appreciate their desire for separate facilities and fellowship and obvious understanding that even people of pallor have rights. The HBCUs come to mind.

  11. So now the definition of “oppression” has shifted to being “under appreciated”? These privileged students — of all races — need a reality check. They go to these elite colleges expecting the administration to be surrogate helicopter parents. They have no intention of studying, working hard, or even learning. They simply want to act out and exercise their tiny amount of power by shutting things down. It’s the colleges’ fault for allowing this in the first place. They created the Frankenstein, now let them deal with it.

    1. What else do you expect from the Participation Trophy Generation?. If you don’t get a gold star on your forehead every day just for showing up you’re obviously “oppressed”.

    2. What does, “under appreciated,” mean?
      If you read the statement put out by the university, it states “30% of our incoming first-year class identifies as students of color, which is an all-time high in student diversity.”
      Is that not progress?
      Or is it not 51% right now that they feel is under appreciated?
      It is also a private university that charges $46k a year.
      As a non-white person, I would give that a hard pass.

      1. “What does, “under appreciated,” mean?”

        Not kowtowing to their every foot-stomping tantrum.

        You really need to get out of your farmer’s bubble of: “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

        The modern mindset is: There are no facts of reality. There are only the whims of the Chosen Ones.

  12. Where do these protestors expect to get jobs, when any future employer will Google their names and see that as young adults, they engaged in disruptive and destructive behavior towards the very institution that was providing them with a great educational opportunity? People who bite the hand that feeds them are the last ones that any employer will want in his workforce!

    1. My wife and I own and operate a executive recruiting firm. This is why we search the social media history of any candidate before presenting them to our client. If you have a past of this kind of stupidity there is no way we are putting our stamp of approval on you. We have an industry reputation to protect.

  13. wait, the people who on average are admitting with MUCH POORER academic records are complaining?

    1. They ALWAYS complain. ALWAYS. In fact, complaining is the only skill that they have perfected! You don’t see any YouTube videos of them building, inventing, designing or creating anything of value to society.

  14. RE:Marquette University Students Shut Down…” ‘ Victimhood 101’ gets a 10K loan forgiveness.

    1. they are playing the LONG Game….One Billion of Reparations for every black person… So what if NOT one of them was ever a slave…and trillions of OTHER PEOPLES MONEY have been lavished on their communities! Maybe they would be happier to go to one of the Great African Universities to be with their majority? End Victimhood!

  15. If the universities had a real entrance exam and our government stopped picking up the tab for tuition there probably wouldn’t be a black student council.

  16. So someone starts a rumor either unintentionally or intentionally, the Office of Engagement and Inclusion was eliminated.
    The rumor could easily be confirmed as true or false with a little effort, talking to the correct officials, and reviewing the facts.
    Nah. Why do that?
    Rather then have a sit in, or request a meeting with university officials to state grievances, they disrespect and ruin the day for all those other students.
    And what exactly do they expect to address, “we are constantly under appreciated, watched, socially abused and forgotten by administration.”
    Or, “We shut this down to represent how they’re trying to shut us down,. Trying to silence our voices. How they’re trying to mute us. How they don’t want us to be there.”
    All based off a false rumor?
    Of course the question is, will they acknowledge they were wrong in their assessment the Office of Engagement and Inclusion was eliminated and issue an apology?

    1. all Offices of Engagement and Inclusion should be eliminated. As they are Straight White hate groups! Through history there have been strong black business, science and political leaders…now we are FORCED to accept their second, third, forth, etc tiers purely based on SKIN COLOR! End Racism!

  17. Attention whores

    Set up a panel to discuss, include the oppressed for sure, and have people like Condaliza Rice, 0n the panel.

  18. I guess this is where I disagree with you Professor Turley. If the students wish to demonstrate, then go right ahead. It’s their right to do so. Blocking a convocation or any scheduled events at a University and preventing a speaker from speaking should be punishable by expulsion. It should be right there in the student handbook.
    When you deny other students their rights then you have gone too far. Better yet, asses a fine and do not release the diploma until the fine is paid. Asses the diploma as incomplete.
    “Watched, socially abused, under appreciated and forgotten”. Well any student could say that and usually does. I felt the same way in college and nobody gave a damn. Just pay the tuition, go to class, get the diploma and the rest is up to you. You will not go through life with dancing girls or boys throwing rose petals on your path to light the way. Of course any employee working for a living could also say the same thing most days.
    I was told, “Well, thats life, deal with it “. So I did.

  19. The Black Student Council of Marquette University, organized the protests…

    Well, there’s their first mistake. The school should never have allowed more than one Student Council. Expulsions and not warnings would be well deserved.

    1. RE:”The Black Student Council of Marquette University: Such a representation should be enough to persuade discerning potential applicants of other complexions, nationalities, and creeds to look elsewhere. For sure, my grandchildren who are now among that lot, will not be looking at Marquette. Diversity, in its concept, does not nullify unity which is what the idea of alma mater has always represented.

  20. The conduct of the Black Student Council of Marquette University, a group of entitled, recalcitrant children isn’t the issue anymore than is the false flag of, “First Amendment” rights. This is simply Socialists breaking down yet another American institution and the flaccid response by an impuissant administration.

Comments are closed.