Saint Louis University school administrators in Missouri are threatening to suspend or expel a conservative student for posting event posters advertising Daily Wire podcast host Matt Walsh's university lecture off-campus.
SLU officials informed a member of the university's College Republicans, student James Dowling, via Zoom call Thursday that he could face expulsion for alleged "failure to comply" and "inappropriate conduct" after he placed the lecture advertisements at an off-campus location on Dec. 1 before Walsh's appearance.
When he refused to kowtow to SLU administrators demanding he take down the Walsh posters from a crosswalk off-campus, two university employees filed displinary charges against Dowling. The school's feud with Dowling is still ongoing over a week after the event, culminating in an upcoming conduct hearing.
"If you were to be found responsible for a policy violation, suspension or expulsion from the institution are included within the range of possible outcomes that could be applied," Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards (OSRCS) assistant director William Bowey told Dowling on the virtual call.
Dowling was told that he was being charged with both of the aforementioned failure-to-comply and inappropriate conduct offenses. Dowling was "allegedly confrontational, disrespectful, and failed to comply with reasonable requests made by the staff in accordance with their duties," according to Bowey's characterization.
An electronic Dec. 9 memo sent to Dowling from the university's OSRCS alleges that the "incident" occurred near Grand Ave. and West Pine "on or around Saint Louis University campus" that "may involve violations" of the school's Community Standards found in the SLU student handbook, citing the "unapproved signs."
Section 2.7.14a "Failure to Comply" of the university's Community Standard violations states on SLU's website: "Failure to comply with a University agreement, written or verbal instructions, a reasonable request of a University staff member while acting within the appropriate performance of their duties, authorized University agent, or law enforcement official and/or failure to properly identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so. An example of this would be a university giving instruction for Students to not be in common areas after a certain time, but a Student does not comply with the order."
Section 2.7.21 "Inappropriate Conduct" states in the SLU student handbook: "Behavior that fails to uphold the University's mission, values, objectives and responsibilities; behavior that fails to model good citizenship."
Dowling was told that the disciplinary hearing will follow procedures for Suspendable Violations found in section 2.8.3 of the SLU student handbook.
The conservative student was assigned a representative advisor, part of the Campus Ministry, which "supports the mission of the University in the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity."
"Higher purpose. Greater good," the letter signs off with SLU's tagline. The university is recognized as one of the nation's top colleges for "community service engagement and meaningful impact," according to SLU's website.
The university also touts SLU's research institutes, including the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity, the WATER Institute, and the Advanced Health Data Institute that "empower SLU researchers to find innovative solutions to today's most pressing health and social justice problems. "
Walsh's successful speech on Dec. 1, a sold-out, free event at The Coronado, ignited uproar across the student body and school administration at the university.
Outside the packed event, pro-abortion and trans-rights protesters blocked an intersection and refused to engage in debate when Walsh approached the mob.
The "teach-in" protest was organized by an unaffiliated student-led group called "B!llikens For Reproductive Justice" who were there "to demonstrate that Matt Walsh and the bigotry he represents are not welcome on this campus."
SLU administrators present outside the event took issue with the school and organization's names being used on flyers for the Young America's for Freedom-SLU College Republicans event and demanded Dowling remove every poster.
"Since removing every poster was not feasible nor fair, Dowling, wanting to remain in the school's good graces, offered to cross out the names with a sharpie," YAF reported in its News Guard publication. "This was not good enough for them, despite not having any jurisdiction over the off-campus location."
Dowling contacted the city to ensure that the poster placement-area in question is not university property—it isn't, according to YAF. "During the encounter, there was no doubt in my mind that the administrators were both outside of their realm of control and acting out of personal political bias," Dowling told YAF. "I don't know why I'm under investigation for this ordeal. I think SLU should be investing their time into investigating their bully administrators instead."
In video footage of the altercation involving two administrators, the conservative student, and two YAF employees, SLU officials David Young and Jackie Weber are "hostile" and "antagonistic" toward Dowling as well as the YAF staffers.
"If you don't remove [the posters], I'll remove them myself," said Young, director of Event Services and the Busch Student Center. "I'm done with the conversation."
Dowling, donning a red Beretta shirt, replied: "I can come back here in like 30 minutes and put them right back up, cross out [College Republicans]."
"Is this the best use of your time before an event?"questioned Weber, director of the Student Involvement Center. Dowling fired the same question back at Weber.
"Are you done? Are you going to interrupt? Or are you going to let us talk?" Weber asked. To which, Dowling answered, while holding the Walsh flyers: "See, now you're talking down like I'm a child. I don't appreciate that."
When confronted with the fact that the highlighted area is not university property—but public city property—the SLU administrators ignored it, demanding that the flyers be taken down despite the event beginning just 90 minutes later.
SLU officials claimed that due to the disciplinary status of the College Republicans chapter, the student organization could not post any promotional materials on-or-off campus. YAF reported in early November that the college group was punished by the private university for daring to ask, "What is a woman?" on Instagram.
"Now, the school, which clearly has a vendetta, is attempting to schedule an official conduct hearing during finals week. So much for looking after their students' mental well-being," YAF's article reads, noting: "SLU has refused to comment on any of stories Young America's Foundation has covered on the school."
YAF stated in the report that SLU has "proven to be a left-wing institution hell-bent on silencing and oppressing conservative students and their views."
"They did everything in their power to disrupt the recent Matt Walsh lecture," YAF added, pointing to almost 300 administrators and professors who signed a statement admitting collective commitment to left-wing gender ideology, "which directly contradicts the Catholic faith that the school supposedly adheres to."
The signed Statement of Solidarity against Walsh's remarks, discussing "How The Trans Agenda Erases Women And Denies Reality," published in SLU student news site The University News on Nov. 30 claims that bringing the "divisive" YAF speaker to SLU's campus is "insensitive" to the transgender demographic and that "associating childbirth with womanhood is also dangerous..."
"In his upcoming talk at SLU, Matt Walsh plans on discussing the biological ability to carry a pregnancy in order to ostracize transgender women," the statement says.
To "affirm transgender and nonbinary students," the hundreds of signatories pledged to pursue a policy that ensures no such speakers have a platform at SLU.
Faculty and students at SLU's school of Social Work also penned an open letter and launched a Change.org petition addressed to SLU president Fred Pestello, demanding university leadership cancel Walsh's speech that "may instill further fear" among "women, racial minorities, and the LGBTQIA+ community."
More than 1,200 campus leftists signed the petition, urging a discussion about the university policy and school's vetting procedure for speakers that "allowed" Walsh's lecture. "We are not in support of ending civil discourse and the discussion of various points of view, rather we are in support of closing loopholes that create opportunities for hate speech," the Nov. 17 letter claims, maintaining that the request had nothing to do with politics, but instead a "safety" concern.
Walsh, a practicing Catholic, expresses mainstream conservative views on marriage, abortion, and gender that are in line with the Catholic faith. SLU is a purported Catholic university that contradicts the tenets of its religion, YAF says.
"Now, they're really crossing the line. They are trying to viciously take out their anger on an innocent student," the YAF article concludes. "The only way to fight these monstrous, leftist administrator bureaucracies is to stand tall and continue to stand by your beliefs. YAF has our students' backs, always."
Ahead of Dowling's hearing scheduled later in the week that will investigate SLU's claims, YAF urged its followers to contact Pestello, the SLU president, "to show that this egregious targeting of a conservative student cannot stand."
"SLU cannot call itself 'a university in pursuit of truth and reason' if it is unwilling to allow freedom of speech and the protections that come along with it," Dowling told The Post Millennial in a statement emailed Monday afternoon.
In another email statement, SLU College Republicans president Nick Baker told The Post Millennial: "This is yet another case of politically motivated prosecution by the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards."
Baker said that he has lost faith in the school after SLU administration went after the Republican club for asking another student organizer, the "SLU Sluts," to define the term "woman," and upon learning that the office's director distributed copies of "The Genderbread Person" to students a few years ago.
"I have no confidence in their ability to be fair and objective in their decisions," Baker stated. "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."
SLU College Republicans spokesman Ryan Olson said: "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."
The school launched its initial November investigation into SLU College Republicans "for refusing to bow to the anti-science Left," according to a tip reported to YAF's national Campus Bias Tip Line, which "exposes discriminatory and biased actions from leftist professors, administrators, and schools."
SLU College Republicans received a Nov. 2 letter from the school's OSRCS, informing the club of the probe investigating a Sept. 29 video posted on the organization's Instagram page. The clip, garnering over 1,000 views, poked fun at the SLU Sluts leftist group—which argued that "not all women have a uterus" and "not all people with uteruses are women"—with a famous line from Walsh.
SLU College Republicans was slapped with an "Inappropriate Conduct" charge as well and instructed to schedule an individual hearing regarding the matter.
"If you fail to schedule or attend this meeting, the allegations will be resolved without your input," Bowey had notified Baker and the conservative group.
Meanwhile, the SLU Sluts had targeted conservative students in the past, encouraging doxing and harassment of the young Republicans in classes.
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