DePaul president resigns amid Milo controversy, takes one year sabbatical
DePaul University’s president stepped down Monday amid controversy over allowing conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus.
“DePaul University announced today that the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., will step down from his position as president at the end of the 2016-17 academic year,” a Monday press release confirmed. “After 13 years of leadership, Fr. Holtschneider will assume his tenured faculty position at DePaul, following a one-year sabbatical.”
Yiannopoulos’ appearance at DePaul in May provoked one of the most riotous protests on his speaking tour (which is characteristically boisterous) to date, where protesters threatened the pundit with violence and forced him to shut the event down early for his own safety.
Following the disruption, which garnered the attention of the national media, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider apologized to the public for the incident, all the while issuing backhanded insults at Yiannopoulos, who, Holtschneider claimed, was “unworthy of university discourse.”
The lukewarm apology offered no condolences to Yiannopoulos, who was mandated to pay DePaul additional security fees for the event despite the fact that his paid guards did nothing to settle the chaos.
Holtschneider, though, later apologized a second time for even daring to hint at offering an apology to Yiannopoulos after facing scrutiny from liberal activists.
“They read my letter about free speech as they were still shaking from the frightening effects of the hate speech they experienced,” Holtschneider wrote. “I am deeply sorry for the harm that was unleashed by a speaker whose intent was to ignite racial tensions and demean those most marginalized, both in our society and at DePaul.”
Holtschneider also noted that Public Safety immediately “began new safety initiatives” after Yiannopoulos’ event, including “24-hour campus escorts.”
Students, however, were apparently still upset with Holtschneider’s handling of the incident, resulting in his resignation late Monday evening.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the president of DePaul University,” Fr. Holtschneider said in the press release. “In the past 12 years, the university has achieved many of the goals set for enrollment, finances, academic excellence, new programs, facilities, alumni organization, national reputation and, most important, its Catholic and Vincentian mission.”
Holtschneider made no mention of Yiannopoulos in the announcement.
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