President Robert L. Manuel > Notes from Rob > 2023-24 > Engagement team meeting

Engagement team meeting

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

In the interest of keeping our university community informed about the encampment on our Lincoln Park Campus, we wanted to share another update with you. 

Our patron, St. Vincent de Paul, was known for creating opportunities for many to come together, sit around the same table, and engage in discussion. The Vincentian ideal we’re trying to uphold throughout this process is exactly that – to bring people to the table.

Today, people continued to participate in the encampment on DePaul’s quad, as well as a protest outside the Lincoln Park Student Center and Arts and Letters Hall. The encampment includes faculty, staff, and students. Individuals from outside the DePaul community are using this as a space to protest as well.

We’re pleased to report that a group from the university’s engagement team met with student and faculty representatives of the Divestment Coalition today. This was an initial meeting and a process that will take time and effort. Both sides are committed to keeping the channels of communication open. Our commitment to open discussion with our community on these difficult issues is rooted in Vincentian values, reflecting a spirit of respect, compassion, and care for one another. 

Our approach to engaging with protestors remains the same: allowing the students to make their voices heard, while maintaining an environment that is conducive to academic success and that is safe for all. We are giving students the room to voice opinions with their encampment. So far, there has been a moderate impact on university operations, despite violations of policies meant to ensure a safe campus environment for all.

While we have continued to uphold the rights of DePaul community members to free speech, we have also received multiple reports of signs and chants used by protesters that are intimidating and inciting violence. Such speech stands in conflict with our guiding principles for speech and expression. We have raised our concerns with protesters and communicated a clear message that this be addressed and not allowed to continue. 

Encampment organizers also have brought in their own provisions, including portable bathrooms. Again, while the encampment is in violation of multiple university policies, which must be ultimately addressed, our current goal is to maintain an open communication channel. 

We know this encampment is upsetting to many in our community. University Counseling and Psychological Services and the Division of Mission and Ministry have set up support spaces with drop-in hours. More information on this and other resources is on the Towards Understanding and Dialogue website and listed below. 

We will continue to keep the community updated. 


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

Available Resources for the DePaul Community
If you experience any threats or acts of violence, please report them immediately to Public Safety at 773-325-7777 (Lincoln Park) or 312-362-8400 (Loop).

If you are struggling personally, please know that the following services are always available to you:
  • University Counseling and Psychological Services: Students may call 773-325-2273, option 1 | Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • ComPsych Employee Assistance Program: 1-800-621-4124 | Offered to DePaul employees, spouses, and dependents, ComPsych counseling experts can help you and your family manage through difficult life situations. To speak with a counselor or to schedule an appointment, call 800-621-4124.
  • Division of Mission & Ministry: 773-325-7902 | Guided by an ethic of Vincentian personalism and professionalism, DePaul’s Mission & Ministry department is dedicated to upholding the dignity of all members of our diverse, multi-faith, and inclusive community.  
  • International Student & Scholar Services: 312-362-8376 | | International students can reach out to their assigned advisor for assistance at any time.