DePaul University’s president has resigned, despite a contract extending through 2016, in the wake of campus unrest following a May speech from firebrand gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos.
President Dennis H. Holtschneider’s resignation letter makes no mention of the controversy, simply stating that “it’s best for DePaul if I step aside.” He wrote that the decision had been “underway since my Christmas retreat” and that he’d informed the board of his forthcoming departure in March, adding that he did so to allow the university to avoid a situation where DePaul would have “one president define the next strategic direction for another president to manage.”
But earlier this month, a prominent DePaul law professor wrote in the student newspaper that Holtschneider should step down or be fired. He claimed that by allowing Yiannopoulos to speak, “the president has betrayed [marginalized] students and has undoubtedly done lasting harm to their perceptions of DePaul.”
At Yiannopoulos’s May 24 event, protestors stormed the stage, eventually shutting down the event and capturing national attention. Though DePaul’s college Republicans put down a $1,000 security deposit, administrators reportedly told police officers to “stand and passively watch,” one participant wrote in the Huffington Post.
Holtschneider, who was in France during the event, initially condemned the interruption, adding that while speakers like Yiannopoulos may be “entertainers and self-serving provocateurs,” all speakers on campus merit a “respectful hearing.”
The DePaul University Black Leadership Coalition pushed back, saying that “the community of African descent at DePaul is deeply offended and disappointed” with Holtschneider’s reaction.