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. Two points: Do they have any examples of this oppression that the students of color are experiencing…and how many of the students of color who are protesting received financial aid or benefited from Affirmative Action?

  2. Until colleges and universities return to the practice of expelling uncivilized and disruptive students, the higher education system will continue to crumble. Essentially the inmates are in charge of the asylums!

    1. Romans Chapter 1

      21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

      22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

      23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

      24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

      25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

      26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

      27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

      28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

      29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

      30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

      31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

      32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    1. “History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the party is always right.”

  3. Expel the troublemakers! They blame everyone rather than acknowledging their own inadequate intellectual and social skills.

  4. That’s pretty funny. I would wager a King’s ransom that the majority of those supposedly “protesting” in-equality gained their admission un-equally to Marquette as well as receiving financial assistance. Exactly because of their skin color. Having been allowed to enter with a lower standard than others more qualified.

    1. Rubicon Cross: The University of Pennsylvania”s medical school has just waived the MCAT [admissions] exam for the express purpose of attracting more minorities. Unbelievable. Expect the LSAT, GMAT, CAT, etc. to follow!

  5. protestors storming stages takes on a new, dangerous, and sinister angle after the Salman Rushdie attack. at a minimum it’s pure intimidation, and now stage holders know their lives are in danger.

  6. College campuses center for you to shut your mouth open your ears read your books learn what the world’s about
    After all you are the student you’re there to learn and not many 18-year-olds have a good concept of what’s going on in this world little alone on college campus
    What a joke! Spending that kind of money to listen to teenagers talk to professors about what they need to do

  7. 1. I guarantee the Jesuits brought this on themselves, and most or all of them are on board with it. They love anything BLM or rainbow. I went to a Jesuit school and both of my kids went to Jesuit schools. Almost without exception Jesuits are dyed-in-the-wool democrats and fall in love with any kind of social justice scam.

    2. It is a fact that the “underprivileged” “students” can skip the SAT, get a C average at a failed public High School, and go to Marquette or any other private high end university they choose for ten cents on the dollar. If you don’t believe me check it out yourself. Their ingratitude is unflattering to say the least.

    3. It would be very interesting to know exactly how these “students” have been wronged. Perhaps some faculty member or fellow student didn’t kiss their butts fast enough or use perfect technique? I can promise you that these Jesuits have pampered them and babied them every step of the way.

  8. The Denomination of Woke requires unparalleled Ego to think their path in life is superior and that all others require silencing. The duplicity of their accusations whatever they may be, are astonishingly naïve, divisive, narrow-minded, lacking decorum, immature, and are being made by functional illiterates, knowing they have the perfect path, yea right, and I have a used bridge to sell.

  9. A “McNair Scholar” shut this down?” That is a federal program, named in honor of the Black astronaut who died on the Challenger in 1986, that helps prepare minority students for grad school. What a disgrace this student is!

  10. So, the Black Student Council at Marquette organized a protest under the guise of free speech and then resorted to”agressive tactics” to make their point.

    Marquette is a top university and this group attends it. Should these students not be considered “privileged”?

    1. $46,000 a year for undergraduates. How many Americans spend $200,000 on a college education that most the time isn’t worth having. Colleges have turned into nothing more than Indoctrination centers where people like these at Marquette University think they’re being mistreated, when in fact they have it better than the vast majority of the world.

  11. Have ‘those folks’ ever really accomplished anything important? How many Earth-shaking inventions and ideas come from Africa? Millions are starving there but unlimited breeding continues apace. As in this case, there is always Whitey to blame for their problems. So the blocking of the student convocation is just a minor example of a pattern of behavior by Black students. Let’s have a look at the GRADES of these tantrum-throwing Wokesters. My guess is they would prefer rabble-rousing to actually attending class and doing the required course-work. Let’s see them grades!! My guess is they are sub-par at best. Prove me wrong!!

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