A university that boasts of offering “Minnesota’s finest Christian education” blocked a black pro-life advocate from speaking on campus.
The Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the University of Northwestern at St. Paul said administrators refused their request to have Star Parker speak to the university earlier this year, CBN News reports.
A university administrator said Parker’s “radical beliefs” were part of the reason for their refusal. Parker is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a leading pro-life advocate in the black community and a frequent speaker on college campuses.
The administrator gave several reasons for the refusal in an email to the student chapter, including a “main concern” that the event is open to anyone on campus.
“… it would be different if you were having a speaker just come speak to your club. Speakers open to all UNW students would have more strictness,” the administrator wrote.
The email continued: “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. 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.”
After the unsuccessful exchange, the students said they set up a meeting with University of Northwestern President Alan Cureton, who also refused their request.
In a statement, student chapter leader Hayley Tschetter said the president told them he “didn’t want to be divisive,” and asked for a “balanced view from different outlooks.”
When Tschetter asked what opposing viewpoint the university wants, “he didn’t really have an answer,” she said.
The students said they requested a meeting with UNW Vice President of Student Life Nina M. Barnes, but Barnes has not responded yet.
“I was excited to embark on this new adventure and thrilled that Star Parker agreed to come and speak to my campus,” Tschetter said. “However, many are too fearful of ‘controversy’ to allow her lecture to take place. Issues already divide campuses, Christians, and people nationwide—speaking about them will not cause a divide, it will bring the underlying issues to light and provide an opportunity for them to be discussed openly and civilly.”
Parker said she was grateful for the students’ invitation.
“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,” she said in a statement.