- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2008

A Catholic university in Minnesota will not allow a pro-life activist to speak on campus.

Two student organizations at the University of St. Thomas in the Twin Cities wanted to bring author Star Parker to campus later this month with funds from the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), an organization that sponsors conservative speakers on college campuses. The university’s Student Life Committee, composed of students, faculty and staff, declined the proposal.

Douglas E. Hennes, vice president for university and government relations, explained in a statement that the university could not require Miss Parker to sign a contract with guidelines for the lecture, as is normal, because an outside group would have paid for the speech.

The deciding factors were the school’s inability to control the event and its discomfort with YAF’s sponsorship, he said.

“The university was not comfortable in allowing the Young America’s Foundation to be involved with the Parker event,” he said. “The foundation paid for commentator Ann Coulter to speak at St. Thomas in 2005, and her remarks were considered highly inflammatory and disrespectful to the mission and values of the university.”

The university said Miss Coulter violated the university’s commitment to “civil discourse” with comments that many deemed racially and religiously insensitive, Mr. Hennes said in an interview, denying that Miss Parker’s views on abortion, which are similar to the Catholic Church’s teachings, were a factor.

After the committee rejected the Parker proposal, a student in one of the sponsoring organizations asked Margaret Cahill, campus life director, whether she could save the speech with a signed statement from Miss Parker promising not say anything disrespectful in her lecture, Mr. Hennes said. The school declined.

Miss Parker, who is black, would have given her lecture next Monday about abortion’s impact on minorities and the eugenics-tied early history of Planned Parenthood. The St. Thomas group Students for Human Life and the St. Thomas Standard, an independent conservative newspaper, planned to sponsor the lecture, with funding from YAF and Conservative Student News Inc.

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