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Pro-Life Student Placed on Probation at DePaul University

On Jan. 22,13 students vandalized a pro-life display at DePaul University. In response, the student whose display was vandalized and who tried to expose those behind the crime is being placed on academic probation with the threat of expulsion.

Thirteen students at DePaul University admitted to vandalizing the pro-life display at DePaul, according to a University investigation report published online by the Young America's Foundation. Several of these students may be involved with homosexual and feminist activism, The Cardinal Newman Society has learned.

The vandals destroyed a pro-life display on the DePaul University campus featuring hundreds of pink and blue flags representing the children killed each day through abortion. The DePaul Chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, a project of the Young America's Foundation, had obtained the necessary permit to erect the display from 7a.m. to 7 p.m. on campus. A group of students took down the flags around 4 p.m.in the afternoon, shoving them into trashcans around campus.

“They set up a display on the most open and iconic part of campus, claiming their territory in an authoritative and unfair way,” wrote an anonymous student to the student newspaper, The DePaulian, who admitted to removing three of the flags. “Allowing such a display without giving viewers a choice is wrong.”

The University finalized their investigation of the vandalism on Feb. 5 using security video footage, according to a DePaul investigation report published by the Young America's Foundation. The report identified two male students and 11 female students and said that they admitted to the vandalism.

Several of the students' names match those of DePaul students involved in feminist and homosexual activism, The Cardinal Newman Society discovered. It is possible that students at DePaul share the same names. According to various online sources, at least seven students with the same names as those in the DePaul report are pursuing Women’s and Gender Studies majors.  At least four with the same names have been active in homosexual advocacy groups including Act Out, a campus club-- two students were former co-presidents -- and The Civil Rights Agenda, an organization working to increase individual rights for homosexual citizens in Illinois. One student with the same name worked as an intern with GirlsRock! Chicago as a camp counselor, where she admitted “facilitating shredding/shaping young minds/spreading the gospel of feminism.”

At least two similarly named students held University jobs on campus, including one who worked in the University’s Office of Mission and Values.

DePaul’s Code of Student Responsibility states that “a student shall take no action that damages, or tends to damage, personal or private property not his or her own without the consent of the owner or person legally responsible for such property.”

“What (this) says is that while DePaul affirms the right of individuals to express their viewpoints, even at the risk of controversy, DePaul also insists that each individual remember that the right of expression carries with it the equally important responsibility to exercise that right with a conscientious respect for human dignity,” Cynthia Lawson, vice president of public relations, told the DePaulian following the vandalism.

“What is ironic is that liberals are the biggest proponents of hate crimes yet they are often the ones who practice them the most,” said Kristopher Del Campo, the student who coordinated the pro-life display, at a cost of $500. “This is an act of intolerance by students who don't value the free exchange of ideas.”

This isn't DePaul's first encounter with freedom of speech issues. In 2011, the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) named DePaul as one of the 12 worst colleges for free speech in the country.

Punishing the Victim

Del Campo reported the vandalism to DePaul’s Department of Public Safety, which investigated the incident. DePaul Assistant Dean of Students Domonic Rollins provided Del Campo with a report from the Department of Public Safety that included a list of the names of 13 students who had admitted to vandalizing the display. On February 5, the national YAF organization posted that document on its website.

On Feb. 8, DePaul notified Del Campo that he was suspected of violating DePaul’s Code of Student Responsibility. The University found Del Campo guilty of “disorderly, violent, intimidating or dangerous behavior to self or others,” and “judicial process compliance.”

Repeated calls to DePaul University were not returned.

“Instead of supporting a student whose free speech rights were violated, DePaul University bullied Kristopher Del Campo for daring to expose the 13 vandals,” said Ron Robinson, president of Young America’s Foundation.

Del Campo has received support from FIRE. Associate director Peter Bonilla sent a letter to the University’s president.

“Simply publishing the names of the students who confessed to vandalizing YAF’s display does not place them at ‘substantial risk of physical harm,’ wrote Bonilla. “The 13 DePaul students named in the public safety report admitted not only to vandalizing YAF’s display but also planning to do so. Students who purposefully vandalize the works of other students should not expect to be shielded from the public consequences of their actions.”

Del Campo told The Cardinal Newman Society that while he’s been placed on probation and threatened with expulsion, he hasn’t been told what disciplinary action was taken against the 13 vandals.

“The University may want to expel me now, but I’m fighting for what I believe in,” said Del Campo.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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