by Steven Ertelt
September 26, 2007
Providence, RI (LifeNews.com) — Rhode Island College has settled a lawsuit filed by a pro-abortion student group over the removal of signs near the entrance to the campus. The students accused the Catholic college of violating their free speech rights by removing the signs.
The Women’s Studies Organization filed the lawsuit last December 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.
A campus priest noticed the signs and alerted the college president John Nazarian, who ordered them to be removed.
On Tuesday, the college announced it had settled the lawsuit with the pro-abortion group and will pay it $11,350 and clarify its policy regarding the posting of signs on or near the campus.
The Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit for the pro-abortion students and Jennifer Azevedo, the ACLU volunteer attorney who represented the organization, spoke about the settlement.
“The settlement is great. I think we got what we wanted," she said. “Whether they admit it or not, I think they realized that it was just something that shouldn’t have happened. These students’ rights got trampled.”
But Jane Fusco, a spokeswoman for Rhode Island College, said the issue was never about denying First Amendment rights.
“It was a matter of miscommunication of the campus sign policy that has now been clarified,” Fusco said. “Throughout the entire mater Rhode Island College has always supported the First Amendment rights of its students and will continue to do so.”
Under the terms, the university will pay $5,000 to the pro-abortion campus group and $6,350 in attorney fees and costs.
The new policy on roadway signs indicates that only signs pertaining to the college or those offering directions to it will be allowed. In both cases, school officials must prepare the signs.
Related web sites:
Rhode Island College – https://www.ric.edu