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Statement from DePaul University president on decision to rescind speaker invitation

​CHICAGO — The Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University, sent the following text to students, faculty and staff today, with regard to a decision to rescind an invitation to Gavin McInnes to speak on campus.

“Last fall, DePaul granted permission to a student organization to host Canadian entertainer and provocateur Gavin McInnes. Since that time, we have observed with alarm his statements encouraging violence — in particular, violence aimed at protesters who disagree with his positions.

“In discussing his recently formed group, the Proud Boys, with a news organization, he said the last step of the initiation process involves ‘a major fight for the cause. You get beat up, kick the crap out of an antifa.’

“After clashes outside his February event at New York University, McInnes told his followers: ‘We’re the only ones fighting these guys and I want you to fight them, too. It’s fun. When they go low, go lower. Mace them back, throw bricks at their head. Let’s destroy them. We’ve been doing it a while now and I gotta say, it’s really invigorating. Even when you lose, you feel great about yourself.’

“We also took note when McInnes found common cause with the newly created Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, or FOAK, a military wing of the Proud Boys. In announcing its existence, the group said it was ‘seeking able bodies and strong-minded men who can keep a cool head under pressure, comfortable in fisticuffs’ and that it will serve as ‘a force to protect and serve when the police are told to stand down.’

“The group, which has pledged to meet protests with violence, was directly endorsed by McInnes on Twitter: ‘Happy to announce the military division of #Proudboys headed by @BasedStickMan_#AltKnights’

“DePaul University works to ensure that student organizations can host speakers and events of their choosing. The encouragement of violence, however, has no place here. This is not about the content of McInnes’ speech, but about his public endorsement of violence and the establishment of a military division of his own group, the Proud Boys.

“Our students’ well-being remains our highest priority, and therefore DePaul is rescinding McInnes’s invitation to speak on campus.”


Media Contact:
Carol Hughes