St. Thomas president denounces Ann Coulter's speech as hateful
Matt McKinney, Star Tribune
April 26, 2005 DEASE0426
The president of the University of St. Thomas on Monday condemned a speech at the Catholic school last week by conservative author Ann Coulter, saying "such hateful speech vulgarizes our culture and goes against everything the University of St. Thomas stands for."
The Rev. Dennis Dease wrote in Bulletin Today, a university newsletter, that "although her presentation may have been meant as an 'act' or a 'shtick' to entertain by provoking those who disagree, such behavior unfortunately contributes to the growing dark side of our culture -- a disrespect for persons and their sincerely held beliefs."
Coulter spoke at the university on April 18. She was a guest of the school's chapter of the College Republicans and a student newspaper, the Standard, but neither organization paid her speaking fee. That was covered by the Young America's Foundation, a Herndon, Va., organization that bills itself as an outreach program for conservative youth.
A St. Thomas student who heard Coulter said he understood how her comments could have hurt others.
"I knew kind of what she stood for," said Dominic Kramer, a senior political science major. "One thing that disappointed me overall, from both sides, was the feeling of tension in the room. I think Ann was very well aware of that. That's what feeds her fire, if you will."
Coulter spoke at St. Olaf College the day before she visited St. Thomas. The president of St. Olaf, Christopher Thomforde, said students told him that her comments were inflammatory for little reason.
"You'd want a kind of intersection between faithfulness and respect and commitment along with intelligent critique and analysis," he said Monday night. "The issues are highly complicated, and to just sort of incite people is not helpful."
Coulter's booking agent, Walker Hayes, declined Monday to contact her for comment. "We get this sort of stuff all the time, so we're not the ones to trouble her with that," he said.
Matt McKinney is at firstname.lastname@example.org.