Thank you for reaching out about the College Democrats event.
The College Democrats have been very cooperative throughout this process and fulfilled all the requirements for getting approval for a campus event. They have been working with me and Diana Ward and provided a list of panel speakers on March 25. As we got nearer to the event, I did a little more research on the backgrounds of the various speakers and I was concerned that inviting a representative from the New Orleans Abortion Fund, which raises money to pay for legal abortions, ran counter to our Jesuit, Catholic values and the university’s official pro-life stance and fell outside the realm of the general intention of the program that was communicated to me.
Consequently, I reached out to Dylan Ritter with my concerns and asked him whether he would consider replacing the representative from the New Orleans Abortion Fund with another speaker. Dylan and I had two very cordial conversations, for which I am grateful, as I know this required thinking about a last-minute change to the event. This afternoon, he told me during a meeting with him that the College Democrats had decided to rescind their invitation and go with an alternative speaker.
Respectful civil discourse and navigating complicated issues is an important element of a university education and of daily life. I believe that the discussion tomorrow will be an opportunity to listen to various perspectives on a complex and complicated issue. It’s also an opportunity for us all to use our critical and ethical decision-making skills as we measure our own values against those that may conflict with them.