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YAF chairman punished for releasing names

Published: Monday, March 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, March 4, 2013 00:03


Kristopher Del Campo, chairman of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) organization at DePaul, was placed on judicial probation after the online publication of 13 students’ names involved in vandalizing an anti-abortion rights display.

In a Feb. 27 email posted on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s website, Dean of Students Art Munin notified Del Campo that he had been placed on judicial probation until Summer Quarter 2013 for “Disorderly, Violent, Intimidating or Dangerous Behavior to Self or Others” as well as failing to comply with DePaul’s judicial process compliance, both cited as violations of DePaul’s Code of Student Responsibility. “Any further infractions of the Code of Student Responsibility during your probationary period may result in additional disciplinary action including removal from the university,” wrote Munin.

Cindy Lawson, vice president of public relations and communications at DePaul, confirmed that Del Campo received the list of students as per item 7 of the “Student Rights Within the Judicial Review Process” section of DePaul’s Code of Student Responsibility. Item 7 is “the right to have reasonable access to information specific to one’s case.” However, Lawson stated that it is not standard Public Safety policy to publicly release students’ names after the judicial review process except to any involved parties, in this case including Del Campo.

The national YAF website published the list of students involved in the vandalism in an article Feb. 5. Although Del Campo has not admitted to releasing the report naming the students to the YAF website, the Feb. 27 email written by Munin reiterates the no contact restriction of the 13 students “named in the Public Safety Supplemental Report (Case #N13-01-52) that (he was) were given by Dominic Rollins, Assistant Dean of Students.”

DePaul’s definition of “Disorderly, Violent, Intimidating or Dangerous Behavior to Self or Others” includes “causing significant emotional harm, bullying, and/or endangering the safety, health or life of any person on campus through actions or words.” One of the students involved in the anti-abortion display removal, who spoke in the Feb. 11 issue The DePaulia on the condition of anonymity, said he or she had “lost count” of the online threats directed to the students involved, which describe “bringing us to justice, we should pay.” The student said the public release of the names “has created an unsafe environment based on threats (and) comments we have been receiving, and DePaul is liable for that.”

Del Campo declined to comment when contacted by The DePaulia. Brendan Newell, vice chairman of DePaul’s YAF chapter, said the national YAF organization and FIRE advised the group not to comment until further notice. “None of the members including Kris are going to respond until YAF national believes it is the right time,” said Newell. However, Del Campo told Radio Fox News that he “lost (his) dignity as a person” and that he is speaking out because he doesn’t want other conservatives to go through the same ordeal. “They told me I couldn’t say anything and I had to keep all of this confidential,” Del Campo told Radio Fox News. “The dean told me not to fight … He told me it wasn’t worth it – that I just have 13 weeks left at the university. But I’m going to fight this. This is wrong. This university has a problem with free speech rights and this time they met a challenger who is not backing down.”

Included in the probation is a “no contact restriction” clause prohibiting Del Campo from having communications with the 13 students named in the previous investigation, and doing so “may result in disciplinary action,” wrote Munin. Del Campo is required to participate in an “educational project” that involves writing a three-page reflective letter “as if a year has passed since the incident,” according to the email.

"It is unfortunate that this incident is part of your educational career," wrote Munin. "However, it is our hope that it will not define your entire experience."

The latest development stems from an incident that occurred Jan. 22 when students threw away 500 blue and pink flags symbolizing U.S. abortions set up in DePaul’s Lincoln Park quad by YAF members on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion.

After obtaining a permit and erecting the display that morning, several YAF members returned at 7 p.m. to remove the flags only to find that they had been thrown in the trash. After speaking to a Public Safety officer who had witnessed students removing the flags at around 4 p.m., Del Campo filed an incident report and the university launched an investigation.

A copy of DePaul Public Safety’s “Investigative Supplemental Report” dated Jan. 31 named 13 students involved in the vandalism who, according to the photocopied document published on YAF’s website, had “all admitted in person to participating” in the act after voluntarily turning themselves in to Public Safety.

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Wed Mar 13 2013 00:46
Your rights to self expression end where my nose begins. The 13 who felt it was within their power to deny Del Campo his god-given rights to free speech deserve to be exposed to public ridicule just as any oppressive tyrants who think that they are above by the law because their cause is so just should be.
Fri Mar 8 2013 11:45
Q: Was Mr. Del Campo's alleged publicizing of the vandals identities a violation of any documented prohibition of same?

A: No.

This is why he is being punished under the rubric of "Disorderly, Violent, Intimidating or Dangerous Behavior to Self or Others" which is defined so vaguely as to leave it open to arbitrary and capricious application against students who engage in any form of speech that offends someone.

Did Mr. Del Campo "caus[e] significant emotional harm" by identifying the people who violated him? Who harmed whom? How does one quantify or qualify 'significant emotional harm'?

Did Mr. Del Campo engage in "bullying"? Absolutely not. Naming names is not bullying. If anything, it helps to keep violators from violating again.

Did Mr. Del Campo "endange[r] the safety, health or life of any person on campus through actions or words"? What constitutes endangerment? Did he incite, suggest, or even hint that people should engage in violence or harassment against the vandals? Absolutely not.

If Kris, was a Ms. rather than a Mr. and had been assaulted on campus in some way and released the names of those who had assaulted "her" - this circus side show would not be taking place.

Mr. Del Campo's only crime is that he has attracted unwanted negative publicity to the university and this is its way of silencing him.

Thu Mar 7 2013 18:51
What? How is a whistleblower policy appropriate here? Those students turned themselves in. The school was dealing with the issue, and as an apparent courtesy, kept Del Campo in the loop. I don't think Del Campo was entitled to disclose the names of the violators to the general public. Especially if some nut were to act on that info and do anything to anyone on that list. Then you have a civil suit and the question of how those names ended up on the web. And Del Campo probably doesn't have a lot of money, so guess who'd pay? Yeah, DePaul would.

Del Campo, being an apparent egotist, decided that justice wasn't being done, so he took it into his own hands. And being short-sighted as well, he did a bad job of it. I remember him saying that the students who took down the flags should be expelled. It'd be ironic if he got himself expelled.

Wed Mar 6 2013 21:21
Doesn't DePaul have a whistle blower policy of any kind in place? Or is it the policy of the college that the rights of some students supersede the rights of others? Are all students equal, or are some more equal than others?

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