A pro-life, African-American woman who founded a center that advocates for economic opportunity and poverty-fighting solutions would seem to be the perfect person to speak at a school which describes itself as providing, “Christ-centered, academically excellent education.” But that’s not true at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, where Star Parker was recently banned from speaking.
In e-mails obtained by Students for Life of America, student leaders of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter on campus were told they could bring Star Parker to campus for an open event. Writing to Hayley Tschetter an executive board member of YAF, Kayla Hoye, the Director of Programs for the university wrote in a series of e-mails over several days, “there were quite a few concerns about Star. Our staff has been very adamant about bringing speakers to campus who educate and expand worldviews, but we really don’t bring speakers who radically hold beliefs that UNW as a whole would not agree with.”
“Again, it may be different if we were able to bring a panel and provide a variety of thought, but in the past UNW has stayed away from sensationalized speakers. I foresee us continuing to do this.After reviewing some of Star’s material online we didn’t feel she was a good fit for our community. I would recommend planning far in advance for future activities so that we can discuss appropriate speakers for UNW.”
Tschetter noted, “Many people connected to the University of Northwestern community received an email last night, claiming that a club did not follow “university policies and procedures” so the request to “hold an outside event on campus was denied.” This email failed to outline what club and who was the speaker or address any issues relating to policy. I along with my Young Americans for Freedom Chapter (YAF) were going to host Christian, pro-life speaker Star Parker. After following directions given to me by administration about how to go about doing so, permission was suddenly retracted.
UNW’s public reaction was also a frustrating take on the situation. Instead of being truthful about the events, they chose to publicly slander me. To claim, without offering any proof, that I was acting outside of University policy is an unfair accusation. Instead of responding to the questions of the community, they smeared my name by portraying me as a rule-breaker. I spent weeks sending emails, having meetings and asking questions that culminated in the article published as I was not receiving any
In a statement, quoted in the Christian Post, Parker said, “Abortion has devastated the black community and is the moral crisis of our time. Christian universities are precisely where this urgent discussion should be happening.”
Noah Maldonado, Northern Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America noted, “The students in the YAF chapter on campus, which includes many members of our Students for Life group, should be allowed to host Star Parker. We strongly believe in free-speech rights for all people, and a Christian speaker who talks about issues like abortion and poverty should be welcomed at a Christian university.”
The university has sent out another clarifying e-mail, which YAF analyzes and explains the issues with; the update can be read here.
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