Thursday, December 20, 2007

Personal Aside: Why DePaul Should be Stripped of its “Catholic” Name—for Truth in Labeling if for No Other Reason.



Last week I began a three-part series in “The Wanderer,” the oldest national Catholic weekly newspaper in the country, arguing that DePaul University should be stripped of its Catholic label. Cardinal Francis George can do the honors if he chooses—because while the university is run by the Vincentian order and a largely lay board, it stands on archdiocese ground. I cannot reprint the first article here but it is available on “The Wanderer” website for a small fee. But I can paraphrase some of the arguments without breaking the seal of confidentiality.

Usually when an authenticist Catholic argues for the stripping of the name Catholic from an institution of higher learning, he is greeted by liberal snobs who say “you don’t understand the idea of a university” or “dissent is the foundation stone of learning.” Right they are—but the genius of a truly serviceable Catholic university has always been that while it should be a forum where contrary ideas are presented, the nature of the school is to conclude with an affirmation of what the Catholic position is. This is the way it used to be ever since the time when Catholic monks formed the university system of the West. It is absolutely not what happens now in many (not all) mainline Catholic universities. But DePaul is the worst.

How is DePaul is worst? First, it fails to separate falsity from truth which is the core of a university’s purpose. Second, it has actively persecuted a faculty member for his ideas and has driven him out of the university because not even in a classroom setting he challenged a canard represented by Muslims that Israel usurped its land and deserves to be driven into the seat. Third, it has constructed a gay-rights minor which engages in the seduction of the innocent, disseminating texts that are so pornographic as to do systemic violence to women and men (as pornography is likely to do).

In the first article that ran last week, I ran out a litany of teaching jobs I have had (for the most part in addition to working as a vice president of Quaker Oats—not for the purpose of preening but to show that having taught in many universities, including twice at DePaul, I know what I’m talking about. Teaching for me began at the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, when the Dean contacted me and said that his MBA candidates were well schooled in business but not particularly in the intersection of government and business. So I began there in 1974 once a week, going to Philadelphia from Washington, D. C. where I made my weekly trek for 27 years, staying overnight at the Bellevue Stratford hotel (famed later for being the host hotel for Legionnaire’s disease), teaching the next morning and coming home.

I put in a two-year stint at Wharton, was asked to do a third but declined because the Kellogg school of Northwestern wanted to initiate the same course which I called “Influencing the System.” I taught at Kellogg for two years. Then I got the Kennedy fellowship at Harvard’s Institute of Politics where I stayed in Cambridge for six months total (thanks to my company’s forbearance). After that I got a Woodrow Wilson International Fellowship from Princeton, N. J. which sent me around the country several times a year (mostly on vacation) lecturing at smaller schools. They ranged form Philips Exeter (an academy) to the hotbed of radicalism in the nation—Reed College in Portland, Oregon in the mid-1970s where, believe it or not, I was summoned to stand in a prisoner’s dock by the student senate and prove that the grocery industry was not exploiting the poor! I beat the indictment by saying that the poor can live—although I don’t recommend it for dietary variety…but nevertheless can live—on the oatmeal that my company invented from oats that had heretofore been used to feed horses and which in the 19th century pioneered its manufacture for what is now 2 pennies a serving. Case closed.

Rounding out the circuit I taught at the University of South Texas, at Ripon College, Ripon, Wisconsin and a hot of others including Loyola University-Chicago (two stints) and DePaul (two stints) where I co-taught with a good friend of mine, David Wilhelm, the former Democratic national chairman. And that was before one of the more salutary experiences—teaching at Roosevelt University under the aegis of my friend Dr. Paul Green and with the support of many including Jack Franks and his Dad (his Dad having been an alum of Roosevelt).

That’s as much as I will write on the subject right now—but when I finish I hope I will have made the case that DePaul is far less an academic institution than all the others and that it has persecuted unjustly a professor who had the courage to stand up against a mob. There is no doubt whatsoever that Cardinal George can strip the Catholic identification from DePaul. In doing so he can disabuse an institution which is sailing under false pretenses—that it is a Catholic university…and that it is for all practical purposes a university of the mind where ideas can thrive and not undergo persecution.

But make no mistake: DePaul is the place where the Democratic party has matriculated and its board is filled with Democratic worthies and a lot of others who wish to perpetuate the fiction that it is a fine university and a Catholic one at that.

Your own comments reflecting your experiences and observations will be gratefully received.


  1. DePaul has a special meaning for me. It served the largely blue collar immigrant families, including many Jewish students in its law school, for decades. My dad went to its academy around 1910 as did I for several years in the 1950s. The academy closed in the mid-1960s, and the university began a campaign of buying up property all around its Lincoln Park campus--helping to accelerate the destruction of a once vibrant community by turning it into a ghetto for the affluent.

    All this is unimportant compared to its betrayal of its Catholic values, its Church, the Magisterium, and Our Lord. It sickens me now to read of DePaul claiming to be a Catholic university when it amounts to not much more that a place for a mostly normally mediocre education--unless one minors in its Queer studies program--the flagship of its liberal arts department. No Cathloic institution can serve the "two masters". DePaul has chosen Mammon--let it then pay the price accordingly.

  2. 25 Years ago DePaul's law school was going down the tubes of liberalism according to a good friend who went there. At that time he said the mainly Irish Catholic long time professors were being replaced with liberals.

    One was Iwrin Chermerinski who taught Constituational Law who later went on to become the CBS Constitutional law commentator. According to my friend Professor Chemerinski was a hard liberal who taught his course with a leftist liberal bent. In his class one did not dare speak up for the rights of the unborn and other conservative issues. According to my friend the professor always had the LIBERAL last word. The liberal Warren Court was celebrated. At the end of the course, Professor Chemerinski tearfully encouraged the class to "join the movement". This went for family law where Divorce was celebrated. It even was in contract law. Feminism was celebrated there. For a conservative the line was "cooperate and graduate". The leftist Lawyer's Guild was promoted. What upset my friend the most was that in order to have a good resume, it was expected that you volunteer at the ACLU... YES the ACLU with its hideous and left wing anti-religious and anti-Catholic agenda especially being pro-abortion.

    One would expect all of this from a SECULAR University but not a CATHOLIC ONE! By the way, my friend was so disgusted that he refuses to give a dime to DePaul! I agree that DePaul should be stripped of its "Catholic" Name... and should also pay taxes on its properties!

  3. Well chosen and well written words Mr. Hetman. Amen!

  4. The absence of Catholic authenticity was extreme at DePaul when I attended. While the university complimented itself on its diversity and inclusiveness, it seemed as if the guests decided to take over and remodel the home of the gracious hosts who had invited them to dine without consulting them on the plans. Perhaps, today, the invitees want to kick the owners out altogether. The university seemed determined to please its non-Catholic students more so than promoting Catholicism. It is still possible to have a first rate legal program at a Catholic university. Many Notre Dame graduates cherish their time on campus at South Bend where it was possible to have access religious activities while attending to one's legal training. DePaul had its fair share of ACLU types and Marxists and gay activists on its faculty. If you refused to parrot their politics, your grades suffered. I had one professor who wanted to legalize sodomy and prostitution teaching criminal law classes. One other person actively promoted a homosexual agenda from his academic post. One other such person died of AIDS. Another professor was quietly removed for pursuing a same sex relationship with a law student. All of this occurred twenty years ago when the USA was supposedly conservative in its politics. DePaul bewildered me then and I am embarrassed by the university now, but nothing that DePaul tolerates can shock me any longer.