Will tomorrow's meeting result in expulsion for student who passed out Matt Walsh flyers?
James Dowling, a student at Saint Louis University, is currently involved in a Dec. 15 hearing on campus that may result in him facing expulsion.
The hearing was scheduled regarding an incident in which Dowling handed out conservative flyers on public property.
James Dowling, a student at Saint Louis University (SLU) and a member of SLU’s College Republicans, is attending a hearing Dec. 15 on campus that may result in his expulsion, according to the student.
Back on Dec. 1, Campus Reform reported on an SLU incident in which Daily Wire commentator Matt Walsh was invited to speak by Young Americans for Freedom and the St. Louis College Republicans at an event on campus.
The College Republicans designed posters to advertise the Matt Walsh event on their campus.
However, their organization was hit with a “30-day marketing ban” due to the fact that “one of [their] original posters did not feature an image of a ‘masked Billiken,’” SLU’s mascot, according to Nick Baker, SLU’s College Republicans President.
With the ban in place, Dowling decided to hand out flyers for this event off campus to gain support and increase attendance. Shortly after he started handing out flyers, he was stopped by members of SLU administration.
Campus Reform obtained two videos from Dowling that showcases this interaction.
In the video, one of the administrators threatened to take down the flyers.
Dowling tells the administrator that he would come back later and rehang them. In response, another administrator asks, “Is this the best use of your time before an event?”
After this incident took place, Dowling received an email from the university, which was also obtained by Campus Reform.
The Dec. 8 email was sent to Dowling from SLU’s William Bowey, Assistant Director in the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards.
“My name is Bill Bowey and I serve as the Assistant Director in the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards. I am writing to request a meeting with you tomorrow December 9th at 10am to discuss an important matter. I have reviewed your class schedule when determining this time.”
Campus Reform obtained a video of the meeting, which lasted for over an hour.
The meeting served to inform Dowling that a hearing was being scheduled regarding the flyer incident on campus.
According to Dowling, the hearing is currently scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 11am.
“If I can find a lawyer, I will try to have them there with me, but Mr. Bowey indicated to me that nobody is allowed to speak on my behalf,” Dowling told Campus Reform.
Dowling made it clear that he was not in violation of any school policy at the time of the incident.
“I am confident that I was acting within my First Amendment rights off campus. I don’t see the case against me being strong, but the fact that it hasn’t been dropped yet is worrisome.”
According to Dowling, the worst-case scenario of the hearing “could include expulsion.”
Though in reality, he expects to receive a punishment “like 40 hours of community service, writing a reflection letter, or even forcing me to speak with a Jesuit on ‘faith and morality.’”
Dowling has this message for Saint Louis University:
“You cannot call yourself a university in the pursuit of truth if you do not have basic freedom of speech.”
Nick Baker, College Republicans President at SLU, does not support the university’s decision to conduct a hearing regarding this incident.
“This is yet another case of politically motivated prosecution by the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards,” Baker told Campus Reform.
“I’m sure that my own days at SLU are also numbered now that I’ve expressed my distaste for the university’s left-wing agenda, but I will spend every minute I have left defending our rights and true Catholic values, no matter how many of my left-wing peers, faculty, and administrators disagree.”
Ryan Olsen, the spokesperson of SLU’s College Republicans, provided Campus Reform with this statement:
“We are very disappointed that SLU is going after one of our members for exercising his right to free speech on a public walkway. We adamantly oppose policies that restrict free speech - especially when they are enforced outside of the university’s jurisdiction.”
Campus Reform reached out to Saint Louis University, William Bowey, and Matt Walsh for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @logandubil