President Robert L. Manuel > Notes from Rob > 2023-24 > DePaul encampment

DePaul encampment

​​Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

This morning, a group created an encampment on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. We are monitoring the situation closely and wish to convey our intentions for moving forward. 

We have listened to the concerns raised within our university community, and we see that many are hurting right now. Our first hope is that we can find a way to turn this pain into productive dialogue and action that leads to positive change. We are inspired by the pleas for peace shared by Pope Francis this week. Our prayers are with the people of Israel and Palestine – and all the world’s population affected by war.  It is our most sincere prayer that the world’s leaders will work toward peace. 

We reiterate the intentions that we shared last night and the guiding principles of leadership that we shared with our DePaul community in our October message​. Again, we remain steadfastly devoted to academic freedom and free speech. We are unwavering in our commitment to ensure that no acts of hatred, violence, Islamophobia, or antisemitism are tolerated in our community. 

While tents and unpermitted structures on DePaul’s property violate a variety of university policies, we invite the members of our university community who are protesting to discuss with us how to peacefully express themselves. Our goal is to identify a path forward that allows our community to make their voices heard, while also respecting the rights of their fellow students to continue active engagement in their education and staying in compliance with the law and university policy.  

Again, peaceful protest long has been a legitimate means of expression at DePaul. As an institution of higher education, we teach our students to engage in civil, meaningful discussion. In this moment, we are balancing the rights of our students to voice their opinions and the needs to operate a safe environment for all constituents of the university — faculty, staff, and students alike. We have the obligation to ensure the university can continue to maintain an environment that is conducive to academic success. 

We hope to establish a dialogue with the DePaul community members who are leading the protest. We again want to note that we have a team of senior leaders, staff and faculty on campus who are here to engage with those protesting, communicating limits within which the university will permit their efforts and to work toward creative solutions whereby their voices can be heard. We remain hopeful that we can agree to these boundaries — within the policies of the university as well as the state and local ordinances — so that we can support the voices of those who are protesting. 

While it is our fervent desire to promote open dialogue in a spirit of peace, we also must protect the safety of our campus community. Violence, harassment, or intimidation as well as actions that interfere with university operations, damage property, or are disruptive to our neighbors — including but not limited to amplified sound — will lead to immediate disciplinary actions, such as suspension or expulsion, and criminal sanctions. Please remember that any complaints made directly to the Chicago Police Department by the neighboring community will be followed up by them directly, and the university will not be able to intervene in those instances. 

While our patron, Saint Vincent de Paul, is primarily recognized for his charity and compassion for the poor, may our actions within the university community during these difficult times reflect a spirit of charity and compassion toward one another. 


Robert L. Manuel

Salma Ghanem

Sherri Sidler
Executive Vice President and CFO

Gene Zdziarski
Vice President, Student Affairs

Mark Laboe
Interim Vice President, Mission and Ministry