A spokeswoman for Azusa Pacific University on Wednesday declined to respond to the criticisms the university faces as a result of abruptly cancelling a guest lecture by a conservative scholar this week.
Charles Murray – a sometimes controversial sociologist attached to the conservative American Enterprise Institute – was set to give a lecture at the Southern California campus on his latest book “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead.”
Instead, Azusa Pacific’s President, Jon Wallace, shut the talk down in an email to the American Enterprise Institute, saying: “Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday’s conversation.”
Pressed for details on why administrators were so concerned about Murray’s talk, APU spokeswoman Rachel White declined to elaborate further, other than to largely reiterate Wallace’s comments.
“I can add that his visit fell the very last week of our semester when students are busy preparing for finals and graduation,” White said in an email to The College Fix. “The event was postponed, not cancelled, and we hope to have Dr. Murray on campus next year.”
Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen. Meanwhile, conservative reaction regarding the dis-invitation has expressed disappointment and frustration over the situation.
I would think that students (and parents) paying the $40,000 per year for tuition, room, and board at Azusa Pacific would want to know what kind of education and preparation for life they are getting for that money. College is not supposed to be babysitting, or protection from ideas that challenge our prejudices.
Dr. Murray himself, in an open letter to students at Azusa Pacific, chided the university, saying that “Azusa Pacific’s administration wants to protect you from earnest and nerdy old guys who have opinions that some of your faculty do not share. Ask if this is why you’re getting a college education.” He also speculated that the true motivation behind the postponement was that President Wallace and the provost “were afraid of ‘hurting our faculty and students of color.’”
In an interview conducted with Ed Driscoll of PJ Media, Murray commented again on the dis-invitation:
I was going to go speak to them tomorrow; actually going to being talking about [my book] Curmudgeon’s Guide. This has been in my calendar for a couple of months, and I have discovered as of yesterday afternoon, that they have decided my appearance should be “postponed,” on account of needing more time to for a “review” of my “full scholarship.
The Thought Police have struck again. So I decided that I would vent a little bit regarding that. So I did an open letter that I posted on AEI’s Ideas Page, it’s blog.
This is not the first time Dr. Murray has raised concerns at a college campus. In a speech at Duke University in October 2013, members of the group Students for a Democratic Society staged a walkout on Dr. Murray, labeling him a “straight, white, libertarian man” who “has built a career espousing a hierarchy of humans in which babies born poor, brown or female are responsible for their own miserable lot.”
It’s also not the first time APU has spurned conservative voices on its campus- in 2012 the university rejected an application by students to form a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter, stating in a press release that “YAF uses divisive language and embraces some forms of political activism that do not align with who we are as a university.”
College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.
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