Pro-Abortion Students: Vandalizing Pro-Life Display is Free Speech

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 12, 2012   |   3:48PM   |   Louisville, KY

The pro-life student group at Northern Kentucky University was a victim of vandalism again recently after pro-abortion students and a professor were taken to court the first time. A previous vandalism scandal placed a spotlight on the university in 2005.

This time, a pro-life clothesline was ripped down at NKU within 24 hours of pro-life students setting it up. It pro-life clothesline was ripped down at NKU within 24 hours of pro-life students setting it up.

“This is supposed to represent that every fourth baby is aborted in America,” said Danielle Roberts, the spokesperson for the group, according to one report. But pro-abortion students say the destruction is a part of their First Amendment rights — even after they were caught by police.

When it happened a second time, NRTL member Nathaniel Hall said, “I was tired of it.” So he and a friend from Thomas Moore College decided to hide in plain sight to catch the troublemakers. They hid in a metal boxlike sculpture a few feet away during the night. They weren’t disappointed.

“I saw one of the guys run over and start cutting it down,” Hall said.

He called the police. The vandals took off.

“We wound up chasing them across campus,” Hall said.

The police caught three suspects; Travis Black, Steven White and Montez Jenkins Copeland. Hall says they were very angry, “telling me that I had no idea what it was like to be a woman, that the display was gruesome, that the statistic was a lie.”

Roberts says the issue is bigger than an argument over abortion.

“I believe it is about our right to express our ideas,” she said.

A fourth suspect, Kyle Pickett turned himself in. Ironically, in a phone conversation Pickett agreed with Roberts, as he defended the actions.

“Tearing it down was expressing our right to free speech,” he said.

Campus police disagree and have charged the students with criminal mischief. NKU officials will be holding a separate disciplinary hearing to determine whether the school should take further action.

Northern Kentucky University has had a long history of vandalism against pro-life displays. The first year that NKU Right to Life formed on campus, in 2006 a professor and 6 students were charged with vandalizing a pro-life “Cemetery of the Innocents.” Every year since then, this one included, a pro-life display has been destroyed.

“When will the pro-aborts learn self-control? When will the mainstream media report on this?” asks Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America.

She told LifeNews, “We are the ones constantly portrayed in the media as crazed lunatics. Interestingly enough it is the advocates of abortion – which is a violent act against an innocent human person – who are the ones constantly vandalizing pro-life displays. I am so thankful for the students at Northern Kentucky University who continue to brave these elements year after year in their efforts to peaceably and lawfully bring the pro-life message to their campus.”

“How can a college campus, a place where all ideas and beliefs are supposedly welcome, be so hostile to a peaceful pro-life display? After seeing this type of vandalization on other college campuses over the past 4 years, I can only conclude that it is because the pro-choice side simply has no effective response to the pro-life movement. They resort to any tactic, even violence, to silence pro-life speech,” she said.

On April 24, 2006, a professor of NKU vandalized the display along with students and, as a consequence, the professor was forced into early retirement by the university. Three pro-abortion students who took part in the vandalism apologized. The students wrote letters to the editor in the student newspaper expressing their views. Though they say they are sorry for vandalizing the display, at least two of the students wrote that they still believe the cross memorial was inappropriate.

Six students joined Sally Jacobsen, a British literature professor in destroying the display. They trashed the crosses and ripped up a sign that accompanied them and their actions were caught on film by a reporter from the student newspaper.

The pro-abortion students were sentenced to perform community service in exchange for dropping charges against them. They were required to pay a $100 fine and issue the letters of apology.

Jacobsen was charged with theft, criminal mischief and criminal solicitation but those charges were dropped after a court demanded that she apologize. Beforehand, she defended her actions.

The court required Jacobsen to complete a mediation and she agreed to pay Northern Right to Life for the costs of the display. Jacobsen also made a $1,000 donation to the Madonna House, a Northern Kentucky crisis pregnancy shelter.

Jacobsen encouraged the students, members of one of her classes, to destroy the display and eventually led them in doing so. She later encouraged the students involved to avoid talking to the police and obtaining attorneys.

Jacobsen was suspended by Northern Kentucky University for the remainder of the school year and her classes given to other professors to complete. She has since retired and moved to Portland, Oregon.

The pro-abortion students who destroyed the pro-life display included: Michelle Cruey,of Walton, KY.; Katie Nelson and Heather Nelson, both of Dayton, Ky.; Stephanie Horton of Alexandria, Ky.; Sara Keebler of Cincinnati, Ohio and Laura Caster of Highland Heights, Ky.