Saint Vincent College’s president, the Reverend Paul Taylor, issued a statement last week denouncing racism after a speech at a conference on campus struck many people as racist, The Tribune-Review reported. “At the heart of the Saint Vincent College mission as a [Roman] Catholic, Benedictine and liberal arts institution is precisely the Love of God and Love of Neighbor,” he said. “Because we are a Catholic College community, we can say that racism denies the sacred nature of a human being. Discrimination and bigotry towards any individual or group dehumanizes and objectifies them.”
The speech in question was by David Azerrad, an assistant professor at Hillsdale College. The speech is on YouTube.
In the beginning of the speech, Azerrad said that Kamala Harris is vice president only because her father is from Jamaica. His overall focus is reflected in the speech's title—“Black Privilege and Racial Hysteria in Contemporary America.”
Gary Quinlivan, dean of Saint Vincent’s Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government and one of the lecture’s organizers, said he regretted Azerrad’s appearance. “It made me cringe,” Quinlivan said. “After the first few minutes, I could tell, ‘Oh no, this is not going to go over well.’ This guy’s lecture doesn’t typify Saint Vincent College. If we had knowledge of the depth this guy was going to, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Azerrad told Inside Higher Ed via email, “You have seen a version of this unfold an untold number of times on our college campuses: a speaker says something perfectly sensible on race (in my case, a defense of colorblindness and a denunciation of preferential treatment), most in attendance are in full agreement, a handful disagree loudly (albeit without offering any counterarguments beyond their indignation that someone deviated from the accepted script when talking about race), and the university administration cowers before their indignation.”