Ann Coulter speaking at DePaul University on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. (Jeremy Mikula photo for RedEye)
Ann Coulter comes to DePaul University and talks about Illinois’ new civil union law … that might sound like the start to a bad joke, but that’s really what happened Wednesday night.
The outspoken conservative addressed some 150 students, faculty and staff at a lecture titled “What Your Professors Will Never Tell You,” part of the Young America’s Foundation Reagan 100 Lecture Series.
Suzanne Kilgannon, director of the Office of Student Life, noted that DePaul “welcomes different viewpoints.”
Coulter started her speech by congratulating the Obama Administration for the killing of Osama bin Laden, but noted that killing the al Qaeda leader would not bring an end to terrorism or the terrorist organization. From there, Coulter used humor to speak about everything from being “molested” by TSA agents at the airport (“It’s nice to know if that if I’m lacking intimacy I can just go to the airport”) to Obama’s golf handicap (“16″ strokes).
Coulter then turned to policy questions, such as U.S. involvement in the uprisings in the Middle East, saying that ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was a supporter of U.S. policy, and questioned why France was more “macho” than the U.S. in the Libyan conflict.
Throughout the speech, Coulter’s jibes towards liberalism were met by sarcastic laughter and coughing from protesters, approximately 35- to 40-percent of whom turned their chairs around instead of facing Coulter during her speech as an act of silent protest.
After the speech, the floor was opened up to questions.
When asked what her thoughts were on the 2012 presidential election, Coulter said, “[Obama] has a glass jaw. I think he can be beaten, largely because of the economy.”
Coulter also stated that it depends on the candidate running against the president.
Coulter sparked the biggest outrage from protesters when she talked about abortion, gay marriage/civil unions and single motherhood.
Saying that Democratic Party is “obsessed with abortion,” Coulter called abortion a “litmus test for membership in the Democratic Party.” Coulter also questioned how a liberal could ever be a Christian when “they’re in favor of killing a baby peacefully sleeping in the mother’s womb, sucking its brains out [in the eighth month of pregnancy].”
Coulter also criticized Illinois for passing its civil unions law, citing that marriage between a man and a woman is “the linchpin of society.”
“It’s just another attack on marriage,” Coulter said.
The conservative author also fanned flames when she talked about the “problem of single motherhood,” claiming that movies and television promote single motherhood when, according to her, statistics on crime show most offenders come from single parent households.
Reaction to Coulter’s speech was mixed.
“I can’t believe she used ‘rape’ as an adjective, first of all,” said Katie Weiss, 22, after the speech and Q&A. “Second of all, I can’t believe that when she talked about single motherhoods, she completely went in a circle. First she said that we don’t blame deadbeat dads, or we don’t enforce deadbeat dads, and then she talked about all the ways in which deadbeat dads are talked about in media in a positive light. Then said that we shouldn’t support deadbeat dads. That doesn’t make sense.”
“I don’t know where she got her facts, she never stated one source,” Weiss continued. “It was like going into a stand-up comedy. If she had been portrayed as a stand-up comedy I think I would have laughed, I would have had a really good time.”
“And not only that, she offended every single minority group: single mothers, Muslims, gays,” added Mike Moynihan, 23.
“What appalled me the most was she was looking at that young woman in the face and didn’t even apologize for that flying carpet remark,” said Joe Marnen, 21. “She said it was a fact that if [Muslims] boycotted the airports that we’d all be safer.”
Meanwhile, DePaul College Republicans felt the event went well.
“I think we got a lot of conservative students who don’t get their voices heard on campus,” said Dan Dunham, 24, the vice president of DePaul College Republicans. “They got to hear they’re not alone, that a lot of these opinions are being espoused off campus and I think that resonated with a lot of them. I think for the more liberal students, hopefully they got a chance to hear that other side that they just don’t hear in class.”
With regards to the protest, Dunham said, “I think that certainly we all don’t have to agree with her, and I applaud them for coming out. I think it was good that they came — even if they weren’t facing her, they certainly heard what she had to say. They were quiet for the most part, respectful. Would I have preferred that they didn’t turn their chairs around? Yes, I think that was rude to the speaker, but I’m glad that they did come.”