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Tipsheet

Saint Louis University Student Threatened with Expulsion for Hanging Matt Walsh Flyers Off Campus

peterspiro/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Saint Louis University is threatening to expel or suspend a conservative student for hanging flyers off school grounds promoting the Daily Wire's Matt Walsh's off-campus lecture on the Supreme Court abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

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The student, James Dowling, was told by school administrators during a Zoom call on Dec. 9 that he could be expelled over his "failure to comply" and "inappropriate conduct." He was notified that he had been "allegedly confrontational, disrespectful, and failed to comply with reasonable requests made by the staff in accordance with their duties."

"If you were to be found responsible for a policy violation, suspension or expulsion from the institution are included within the range of possible outcomes that could be applied," Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards Assistant Director William Bowey told Dowling during the call, according to the Young America's Foundation.

Dowling, a member of the SLU College Republicans chapter, was off campus posting flyers advertising Walsh’s event on Dec. 1 when school administrators present took issue with SLU’s name being printed on the same flyer as the SLU College Republicans. They instructed him to take all of the flyers down, prompting Dowling to offer to use a marker to cross out the names included on the flyers, a proposal the administrators rejected.

Even after it was brought to their attention the fact that the flyers were posted on public city property, not campus grounds, the administrators still demanded they be removed, claiming that the College Republicans chapter was barred from posting promotional materials because of their disciplinary status, regardless of whether they were hung on or off-campus. The club had previously been issued a punishment for posting an Instagram video asking, "What is a woman?"

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In a letter dated Dec. 9, the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards informed Dowling of his alleged violations of SLU’s "Community Standards."

"The Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards has been notified that on or about December 1, 2021, you were involved in an incident near Grand Ave. and West Pine, on or around the Saint Louis University campus, that may involve violations of the Community Standards as found in the Saint Louis University Student Handbook," the letter read. 

"Specifically, it is alleged that you were posting unapproved signs for an off-campus event, and that when contacted by University staff, you were allegedly confrontational, disrespectful, and failed to comply with reasonable requests made by the staff in accordance with their duties," it continued.

The letter also notified Dowling that he would be required to attend a hearing for his "Suspendable Violations" and, should he miss the meeting, his fate would be determined in his absence.

The university's College Republicans chapter slammed the actions from SLU's administrators, saying in a statement that this is "yet another case of politically motivated prosecution by the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards."

"After dealing with them when they went after the club for asking another organization, the ‘SLU Sluts,’ to define the word ‘woman,’ and learning that the office’s director distributed copies of the ‘Genderbread Person’ to students a few years ago, I have no confidence in their ability to be fair and objective in their decisions," SLU College Republicans President Nicholas Baker said.

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Walsh’s lecture, hosted by the SLU College Republicans and YAF at a local hotel, addressed the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that was brought to the bench after Mississippi signed into law legislation banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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