by Steven Ertelt
December 5, 2006
Providence, RI (LifeNews.com) — A student pro-abortion group at Rhode Island College has filed suit against the institution over the removal of signs near the entrance to the campus. The students accuse the college of violating their free speech rights by removing the signs.
The Women’s Studies Organization filed the lawsuit on Monday saying the college should not have taken down signs saying “Keep Your Rosaries Off Our Ovaries.”
The organization posted them in response to complaints that some local pharmacists had refused to dispense the morning after pill because they’re concerned it may cause abortions in limited circumstances.
According to an AP report, a campus priest noticed the signs and alerted the college president John Nazarian, who ordered them to be removed.
“The issue is this is a public university, and a public university can’t abridge anyone’s free speech rights — including the students,” Jennifer Azevedo, an ACLU attorney representing the students, told AP.
Nazarian said the students hadn’t received proper approval to display the signs but the students say they had received permission and that the area they used to hang the signs had been used before for signs on other topics.
College spokeswoman Jane Fusco told AP the area was typically off limits to signs and said the college also removed them because they didn’t appear to have to do with any college student group or event on campus.
"The college was not objecting to the use of the signs or the message the signs carried,” Fusco said. “The college was concerned about the location of the signage and that, at the time, it didn’t have a program associated with it.”
However, the pro-abortion group said the signs were for an event it was planning on pharmacists and conscience clauses.
According to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, the college denied two previous requests from the group to put up the signs.
Related web sites:
Rhode Island College – https://www.ric.edu