Yesterday we learned the stunning news that Duke University considered the topic of motherhood too traumatic for discussion at its Women’s Center … at least if people who support pro-life positions are having the discussion. After the free-speech activist group FIRE exposed the decision to cancel an event at the Center sponsored by Duke Students for Life, which wasn’t even about opposition to abortion, the Duke University Women’s Center abruptly reversed course, offering a terse apology to the DSFL. I received a copy of the apology this morning:
It would be interesting to know what those steps are, but Gregory apparently declined to mention them in her apology. Also, the DSFL didn’t have a problem “reserving space,” although Gregory corrects that in her next sentence by acknowledging that the Center canceled an existing reservation. The “mistakes were made” sounds remarkably passive — especially since an employee of the center, Gender Violence Prevention Specialist Martin Liccardo, met with the DSFL to tell them personally that they were “traumatizing” women with their support of pro-life policies and that the center had an “ideological conflict” with the DSFL which made their use of the space impossible.
At any rate, the Duke University Women’s Center has done the right thing in apologizing, even if it’s too late to allow the DSFL to hold their event at the Center — and even if it seems more motivated by exposure than remorse. The DUWC goes a lot farther in this apology than most universities caught in the act of suppressing opposing points of view, and if they actually follow through on this promise, then they deserve credit for it.