by Steven Ertelt
July 25, 2006
Tempe, Arizona (LifeNews.com) — The college pro-life student group at Arizona State University has filed a lawsuit against the college saying it effectively censored the group by making it difficult for it to express its views on campus.
The organization says the college made it difficult for it to hold events by forcing it to pay for very expensive insurance and requiring it to go through excessive bureaucratic red tape that other student groups didn’t have to meet.
ASU Students for Life is asking for a court order limiting the university’s ability to effectively prevent the group from holding events on campus, according to an East Valley Tribune newspaper report.
Nancy Tribbensee, ASU’s general counsel, disputed the pro-life student group’s claims and said that the organization has held numerous events on campus. She argued the university has done nothing to prevent ASU Students for Life from holding events.
The conflict revolves around a proposed December event where the organization planned to display 18-foot tale panels that included graphic pictures of abortions and photos of unborn children in various stages of development, the Tribune reports.
The lawsuit says the pro-life group had to fight with the university over to securing the space, paying for insurance and paying extra expenses to deal with a potential lawsuit the college might get over the display.
Heather Gebelin Hacker, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm that is handling the students’ case, told the Tribune, “It’s not a very big leap of logic to see that they’re kind of making up all these rules as they go along and forcing them against this student group."
“This exhibit is something that administrators don’t want on their campus and they go to any lengths to keep it off,” Hacker said.
But Tribbensee said the requirements for the group’s event had nothing to do with its pro-life views.
“All we did was ask for them to provide insurance because of the very large size of the exhibits that they had,” she told the East Valley newspaper. “We would have done that for everyone. It didn’t matter what it said.”
College pro-life groups have become the victims of repeated harassment and their pro-life displays have been more frequently vandalized.
Students at Harvard University and Baylor University saw their pro-life displays vandalized and a professor at Northern Kentucky University resigned after she led pro-abortion students in trashing a pro-life display the student group there set up.