Loyola professor protests removal from Rove speech

Jack Sigel, a part-time English professor at Loyola University Chicago, was removed from a March 22 speech by Republican luminary Karl Rove when Sigel started handing out fliers critical of the speaker and his views. The incident made national news when a conservative blogger posted a video of the altercation between Sigel and police.  Loyola Student Dispatch reporter Elizabeth Noel conducted the first interview with Sigel since the incident.

By Elizabeth Noel

“Left, green, socialist, aspiring feminist.”

This is how Jack Sigel, adjunct professor in the English Department at Loyola University Chicago describes his political views.

Sigel was removed by the Chicago Police Department from Karl Rove’s March 22 speech at Loyola after the sponsoring group, the Loyola College Republicans, complained about him distributing handouts.

In his handout, Sigel referred to Rove as Bush’s “turd blossom” and accuses Rove of using “dirty tricks” throughout his involvement in Bush’s presidency. He cites Plato, Aristotle and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

“I would be very surprised if Karl Rove mentioned any of the things in my handout,” Sigel said. “I was looking to expand what people were going to hear that night. I thought people in the audience, not to mention students, should know.”

The incident was captured on film by conservative blogger and Loyola graduate Bill Kelly, who had free rein with his microphone and camera crew.  Additionally, Kelly wrote about the whole episode in a column in the Washington Times. Kelly did not respond to requests for comment.

Here is Kelly’s video:


Sigel, a New York City native, has been a part-time professor for four years at Loyola, where he teaches writing and Shakespeare classes.

“I never talk about my own political views in class,” Sigel said. “But I do tell my students to pursue a diversity or sources, to question.”

He said he did not create a disturbance when handing out the pamphlets and that he was exercising his right of free speech upheld by the First Amendment.

“I think I bent some people out of shape,” he said. “They read this; they immediately saw red. They didn’t like what they were seeing. But the only disturbance being created was in the realm of ideas.”

Though Sigel said he supported Karl Rove’s right to appear and speak, he thinks his removal was unwarranted.

“I think it’s essential for a university to provide free and open debate on any and all issues,” he said. “I thought it was a clear contradiction for the College Republicans to be saying, ‘We have the right to have a speaker here,’ and then respond to my being there by saying, ‘No I should be censored, I should be kicked out.’”

Loyola professor voices opposition, gets tossed from Rove speech

A part-time English professor from Loyola University Chicago was tossed from last week’s campus appearance by right-wing heavyweight Karl Rove, and the episode was captured on video by a conservative columnist.

Jack Sigel, an adjunct writing professor at Loyola, was escorted from last week’s speech when he began handing out fliers voicing opposition to Rove’s conservative views. He complained that his First Amendment rights were being violated as security removed him from the speech.

The appearance by Rove last Tuesday came with tight security and restrictions on audience members and the media. This led to the removal of Sigel. But the limitations apparently didn’t apply to conservative satirist Bill Kelly, who had free rein with his microphone and camera crew.  Additionally, Kelly wrote about the whole episode in a column in the Washington Times

Here is Kelly’s video:

Karl Rove finally makes his appearance at Loyola

Karl Rove
By Caitlin Botsios

Karl Rove, the  heavyweight Republican counsellor and pundit, finally got his chance to speak at Loyola University Chicago on Tuesday after months of controversy surrounding his ability to appear.

Rove, senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, and now a FOX News regular, was originally scheduled to speak at Loyola during the fall 2010 semester, but the event was cancelled due to Loyola’s concern that sponsoring a political speaker so close to the November midterm election could jeopardize the university’s non-profit tax status.

The cancellation caused an outcry from the College Republicans, the student organization who had planned to host Rove. Group members were persistent in their efforts to reschedule the event to Tuesday.

Rove focused primarily on money during his speech. Discussing the stimulus package, he said, “The President says he’s not going to add a dime to the deficit, and the President is right. He’s not adding a dime. He’s adding gagillions of dimes.”

Rove voiced concerns with the current administration’s agenda saying, “Every major promise that was made about health care isn’t happening.” He continued and stated, “I want cut throat competition with health insurance. I want it to be like auto insurance and commercials on every channel.”

Students in attendance had mixed reviews of his speech.

“I wanted to know where he was getting his facts. He was just throwing numbers left and right,”  said Katie Cox, a marketing student.

 “I just wasn’t floored by anything that was said,” added Alex Neitzke, a philosophy student.

Marko and Victor Edleke, two students who traveled from Highland, Ind. had positive reviews of the event.

“He gave a lot of truths. He was saying what we should do instead of what we are doing now. He’s just giving a lot of solutions,” Victor Edleke said.

The two students also praised the College Republicans, whom organized the event. “The Loyola College Republicans were really nice. It was a great event,” Victor Edleke said.

The second half of the evening was a question and answer segment.

The longest response came with the question, “What was the most difficult thing you encountered in office?”

Rove gave a 20 minute answer detailing Sept. 11 and the movements that he took with the President that day. A more comical moment of the night came when Rove explained the opening minutes for him on Sept. 11 and the problem that he and then-President George W. Bush encountered when the school they were at did not have a television immediately available.

“I spent the opening moments of the War on Terror stealing a television from a grade school room and running it down a hallway,” Rove mused.

Other questions revolved around actions taken in Libya, independent voters, and campaign management.

Several students in attendance voiced their concerns about how the questions were selected.

 “I was very disappointed with the person selecting questions as he was in college republicans and picked what appeared to be bias questions,” said Nick Schuetz a social psychology graduate student.

 “I wanted less softball questions. Looking at the audience, only half the people stood when he entered. I know that people asked harder questions that weren’t being asked,” said Erica Price, another social psychology graduate student.

One thing that all parties agreed on at the event was that the controversy didn’t affect the quality of the event. David Wadell, a 50-yr-old business man who traveled in from Minneapolis stated, “I feel that the crowd was extremely respectful and that the controversy really didn’t impact the event in a negative way.”

Lindsay Blauvelt, a junior journalism major said, “While there were a lot of things that I had to bite my tongue at or respectfully agree with, I respect him for coming and feel the event went well.”

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Rove finally gets chance to speak today at Loyola

Karl Rove
By Jessica Reynolds

After months of controversy, Karl Rove will get his chance to speak today at Loyola University Chicago.

Rove, senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, and now a FOX News regular, will speak at the university at 7 p.m. today.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. in Mundelein Auditorium and students are free with the show of their ID.  Students will also have the opportunity to pose their own questions to Rove by writing them down on note cards that will be quietly collected during the speech to better facilitate the event.

Rove was originally scheduled to speak at Loyola during the fall 2010 semester, but the event was cancelled due to Loyola’s concern that sponsoring a political speaker so close to the November midterm election could jeopardize the university’s non-profit tax status.

The cancellation caused an outcry from the College Republicans, the student organization who had planned to host Rove. Group members were persistent in their efforts to reschedule the event.

“I made a promise to carry out the College Republican’s mission,” said Matthew Noto, a sophomore political science student and president of Loyola College Republicans. “We said we would have Rove on campus, we didn’t let any obstacles stop us. We brushed ourselves off, went back to the drawing board and as promised Karl Rove will be on campus in March.”

Here’s the university’s press release on the event:

“Loyola’s College Republicans are hosting Karl Rove on campus this March and we welcome him. As a Jesuit and Catholic university, Loyola is a community of knowledge and learning open to the free exchange of ideas. We encourage open and debate as we believe such discussion is integral to educating students and our Jesuit Catholic values.

“Ground in our Catholic intellectual faith tradition, Loyola University Chicago believes that demonstrating our openness to explore complex issues are marks of our strength and vitality, and we relish the opportunity to engage in debate and discussion over differing points of view.”

The event is open to the Loyola community.

“No matter what your political affiliation is, all are welcome,” Noto said.

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Loyola still taking heat for Karl Rove flap

Karl Rove
College Republicans across the nation still haven’t gotten over Loyola University Chicago’s refusal to allow conservative Karl Rove from speaking on campus before the fall midterm elections.

Now an organization called Young America’s Foundation has cited Loyola for committing the No. 1 “Politically Correct Campus Offense” in 2010 for the Rove flap.

Young America’s Foundation describes itself as “an educational organization promoting conservative ideas on our nation’s campuses through lectures, publications, and conferences. During the last year, the Foundation sponsored more than 600 lectures, including addresses by Mitt Romney, Walter Williams, Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, Ben Stein, and John Stossel.”

Loyola refused to allow Rove to speak in October, fearing that his right-wing point of view would be politically biased in advance of the elections and could jeopardize the university’s non-profit status. It offered to host Rove after the November elections, and sources say he may still appear at Loyola before the school year ends.

Loyola Student Dispatch broke the original story in July:  College Republicans accuse Loyola of muzzling Karl Rove

Young America’s Foundation awared Loyola the top “Politically Correct Campus Offense” after its team “reviewed 2010’s “best of the worst” campus outrages, and compiled them into a top ten list. ”

Here’s what Young America’s Foundation had to say about Loyola:

#1: Loyola University Chicago refused to allow Karl Rove to speak on campus in October, citing the importance of maintaining “impartiality” so close to election season. The director of student and Greek affairs said that the Rove event would be “problematic given the campaign cycle,” even though Howard Dean and Ralph Nader were allowed to speak in the month of September in past election years. Administrators also said that having Rove speak would jeopardize the school’s 501(c)3 tax status, which Young America’s Foundation’s lawyers and partners and found to be blatantly false.

To view the entire Young America’s Foundation Top 10 list, click here: YAF

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Obama advisor to appear Friday at Loyola

Eboo Patel
Eboo Patel, an expert on faith-based leadership, will deliver two lectures Friday on the Loyola University Chicago Lake Shore Campus.

Patel will first speak at 4 p.m. at the Freshman Convocation, followed by a 7 p.m. lecture at Mundelein Center Auditorium.

Patel, founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core and a member of President Obama’s advisory council of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will discuss “Interfaith Leadership and Transformative Education,” according to a university news release.

Patel, who was named one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009 by U.S.News & World Report, is the award-winning author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation and a regular contributor to the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and CNN. He was named one of ten young Muslim visionaries shaping Islam in America by Islamica Magazine. He was also chosen by Harvard’s Kennedy School Review as one of five future policy leaders to watch. Patel holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

Following his lecture, Patel will sign copies of Acts of Faith and This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women in the University’s Simpson Multipurpose Room. Both the public lecture and book signing are free to attend, but registration is required. To register, visit LUC.edu/patel.

 “As a home for all faiths, Loyola University Chicago is an ideal location for Eboo Patel to discuss the importance of interfaith leadership and how to get young people involved in the movement,”  Loyola Provost John Pelissero said in the news release. “He is a proven leader and his extensive work with the Interfaith Youth Core relates well to Loyola’s commitment to social justice, global awareness, values-based leadership, and a transformative education.”

 In addition to his public lecture, earlier in the day, Patel will participate in a reception with the University’s faculty members, and he will headline Loyola’s First-Year Student Convocation, where he and Loyola University Chicago president Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., will induct first-year students into their graduating class, officially kicking-off the students’ academic careers at Loyola, according to the release.

 Patel’s visit to Loyola University Chicago is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the School of Education, the Division of Public Affairs, and the Office of First-Year Experience. For more information on Patel and his Interfaith Youth Core, visit www.ifyc.org.

Patel’s visit has been met with some controversy by conservative groups and FOX News after the university earlier declined to sponsor an appearance by Republican advisor and commentator Karl Rove. The university stated that having Rove appear before the November midterm elections could jeopardize the school’s tax-exempt status. Conservatives complained that allowing Patel to speak, but not Rove, was a double standard. 

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Loyola offered Rove $25,000 to speak…after November

Karl Rove
Loyola University Chicago was willing to bring Karl Rove to campus – and pay his $25,000 speaking fee – until the school determined that his pre-election visit might jeopardize its non-profit status, The Phoenix student newspaper is reporting. 

Loyola’s College Republicans are accusing the university of blocking Rove’s fall appearance on campus, but the university contends that sponsoring the Republican advisor and Fox News commentator prior to the November midterm elections could violate IRS rules, The Phoenix reports. 

Robert Kelly, Loyola’s  vice president of student development, said that Loyola’s non-profit, tax-exempt status with the IRS does not allow the hosting of political or “potentially political” events on campus before an election, The Phoenix reports. 

Kelly noted that the date of the event, not the speaker, was denied by the university, according to The Phoenix. 

College Republicans President Sean Vera said that because of scheduling conflicts, Rove would not be available to speak on campus after the midterm elections if the university does not allow him to visit Oct. 19. The Phoenix reports. 

 “We’re hoping that the administration will change their mind,” Vera told The Phoenix. “We’re going to continue to fight this and win over public opinion.” 

Click here for the full story:  The Phoenix 

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College Republicans accuse Loyola of muzzling Karl Rove

Karl Rove
The Loyola University Chicago College Republicans are accusing the university of refusing to allow conservative political advisor and analyst Karl Rove  to speak on campus this fall.

The Loyola College Republicans blog states: “University officials denied the request to host Karl Rove, arguing that due to their 501(c)(3) tax status, they cannot host a “political” speaker before the midterm elections. Those with even the faintest knowledge of tax law understand that is simply not the case.”

According to the blog, Kimberly A. Moore, director of student affairs and Greek affairs at Loyola University Chicago, told students in an email that, “The timing of this event is problematic given the campaign cycle.  Loyola has to maintain impartiality in order to protect our tax-exempt status.” 

The Loyola Republicans had this response on their blog: “As if that weren’t egregious enough, Loyola University Chicago has a history of hosting partisan speakers on election years. On September 1, 2004, Howard Dean was allowed to speak on campus. Just a couple weeks later, third party candidate Ralph Nader not only spoke on campus, but it was also advertised as a campaign event and donations were solicited.”

“Loyola officials offered to host the event after the midterm elections, but given Karl Rove’s busy schedule, that is simply not possible,” according to the blog.

Sean Vera, the Loyola College Republicans President and the student who is trying to bring Karl Rove to his campus, had this comment on the blog: “It is very disconcerting to see Loyola not live up to the standards of academic freedom that they frequently preach about. I never expected Loyola would prevent the free exchange of ideas and that they would do so in such a partisan manner.”

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