On April 21, the University of Southern California (USC) removed banners of 11-week old unborn babies only a few hours after Students for Life placed them on campus. The banners featured quotes from Mother Teresa like, “Life is a promise, fulfill it” and “at 8 weeks she began to hear … at 11 weeks every organ system was functioning.”
The former president of USC Students for Life group, Lisa Ebiner Gavit, was involved in the banner project and shared her disappointment with The College Fix. She said, “USC Students for Life was deeply disappointed by the actions of the USC administration … when they decided to remove our pro-life banners from campus,” she said. “Our student organization had gone through all the proper administrative channels to reserve the space and install the banners, and we were heartbroken to see that they were taken down after being up for only a few hours. They were supposed to stay up for two weeks. This shuttering of free speech is disappointing, to say the least.”
Gavit added that the banners were placed to advertise their end of the semester event, which was a baby shower for a local pregnancy resource center. She said it was aimed to “show pregnant women that abortion is not their only option.”
Jacob Ellenhorn, a student government senator and member of USC’s Republicans said he didn’t agree with the University’s decision to remove the banners. He said, “[Gavit] told me that the USC office that hung up the signs for her this morning took them down because they did not advertise a particular event or organization. This is strange because rainbow banners for gay pride were up on campus last semester and did not advertise an event or an organization. The same was true for banners hung up during black history month.”
He also expressed his outrage on Facebook saying, “It is unbelievable that USC removed all the posters that were put up around the school,” he stated. “They were put up through all the proper channels. It seems as though not even USC can stand for intellectual diversity. Why stop an authentic conversation about abortion? What is so offensive about the facts of life?”
Like this pro-life news article? Please support LifeNews during our current fundraising campaign with a donation!
On April 22nd, Monique Allard, an assistant provost for student engagement at USC explained why the University removed the banners. In a statement she said, “Recently the USC student organization Students for Life submitted a request to mount banners on light poles along Trousdale Parkway. Trojan Events and Services, a unit of Student Affairs, approved the request in error. Banners may only be mounted along Trousdale if they identify an academic program, department, or event as specified by university policy. The banners did not identify an academic event but instead advertised the services of an external organization.”
She concluded, “Student Affairs regrets the error and will reimburse the student group for the cost of producing and installing the banners. We are working with the student group to find other means of communicating their message, as they do regularly here and at other universities. We respect students’ constitutional right to free speech and only impose reasonable time, place and manner regulations. The university is a diverse community based on the free exchange of ideas, and we encourage free inquiry and discussion.”
However, unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a pro-life group has experienced unequal treatment on a college campus. As LifeNews previously reported, in 2014, a pro-abortion feminist studies professor at University of California Santa Barbara attacked a young pro-life activist, stole and destroyed her sign, and encouraged a group of students to violence. The professor later apologized but was sentenced to three years probation and anger management.
Additionally, last year USC students vandalized a pro-life display created by their Students For Life club. The display featured white hearts and posters to remember all the babies lost since Roe vs. Wade.