“DePaul has a wide variety of religious groups on campus, but one in particular called Vessel is outwardly promoting that they are ‘non-affirming’ to the LGBTQIA+ community because of religious beliefs and claiming that it’s a ‘sinful’ lifestyle.”
It is an ironic moment for the Catholic university given the church’s religious position on homosexual sexual activity as a sin.
On an Instagram page that was later removed, Vessel posted a Q&A exchange, including a query of whether the group was “affirming of the LGBTQ+ lifestyle.” Vessel responded “We are non-affirming. This means that we do not agree the LGBTQIA+ lifestyle is supported by biblical text.”
I can understand why many students are offended by the position, but this is part of a diverse academic environment. There are many groups espousing support for such rights and lifestyle choices. That is the very essence of higher education in allowing a diversity of viewpoints and passionate but civil discourse.
Vessel told The DePaulia that they have tried to have such a dialogue:
We have reached out to those who have raised issues with our group (none of these people have attended or attempted to attend a meeting) in order to promote conversation and understanding, but none have followed up on this.
DePaul needs to reaffirm a commitment to free speech and a diversity of viewpoints. There is no need to endorse the views on either side. This is another effort to silence rather than debate those who hold opposing views.
Polls show that both faculty and students are now fearful in sharing their views in class or on campus due to this environment of intolerance. Faculty and administrators today are destroying higher education with their crackdowns on speech and viewpoints. A recent survey of students at the University of Wisconsin found that almost sixty percent of students are afraid to share their opinions in class due to the intolerance on campuses today. It is only the latest such poll on how the orthodoxy and intolerance of higher education is having a chilling effect on student speech and class discussions. Notably, this is almost identical to earlier polling at other schools.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) has released a new survey of nearly 1,500 faculty members at four-year colleges in the US. Ideologically the survey of college faculty is consistent with other polls and surveys in showing that over half of the faculty nationwide is afraid to speak freely in the current atmosphere of intolerance and orthodoxy. What is most striking about this and other surveys is that the number of conservatives on faculties is comparably very small. Yet, even liberal faculty now fear backlash for speaking freely in classes or on campus.