Utah State University Campus Police Force Students to Remove Pro-Life Messages

State   |   Kristan Hawkins   |   Sep 24, 2015   |   5:29PM   |   Salt Lake City, UT

More pro-life students have faced adversity at their college campus in response to #WomenBetrayed National Student Action Day. The campus police got involved in this this incident at Utah State University outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. SFLA is currently consulting with our attorneys and the students at the university as we contemplate next steps.

Melissa, a student at Utah State University, relays the story:

My name is Melissa and I am a current student at Utah State University. [Last night] three of my friends and I went out on campus to spread the Pro-life message as part of the  National Pro life Chalk Day your organization promotes. Our school is a public University and I frequently see messages chalked across campus. Messages announcing activities, random pictures, etc…( Last year there was even a club handing out chalk during the day and people were drawing all over the sidewalks). Based on that we didn’t think that there were any restrictions about chalking the sidewalk. However apparently there is and we got in trouble with our Campus Police.

We drew 897 hearts (the number of Planned Parenthood aborted babies) with a big banner across the top saying “say no to abortion” and #defundpp around the bottom. Then we wrote pro life quotes from Dr. Suess, Mother Theresa etc… coming up to it. I have to say it was way cool. It looked great and everyone who passed by thought it was really neat! We again got the impression it was okay for us to be drawing there because a campus security car was parked nearby watching us for almost 20 mins while we were drawing and didn’t say anything, and a campus cop drove over it while we were still there. However as we were leaving a Campus policeman came up and asked us if we had permission to write on the sidewalk. We told him we didn’t know we needed permission,and he informed us that it was classified as Vandalism and asked for our IDs. He told us that chalk isn’t allowed, that it is a big problem and that people would be offended by our message. He told us that we needed to clean it up and took down our ID numbers. We were VERY polite, and told him if we needed to we would go get brooms and clean up our art.

We went to Walmart and bought two brooms and came back to clean it up. When we got back there were FOUR cop cars around our drawings, guarding it as if we they were guarding a crime scene. We told them we hadn’t forgotten about it and got to work. All three of us took turns sweeping for about 40 minutes, trying to erase everything. We told the Campus cops we had got as much as we could and were told to wait for the facilities people to get there. When  the facilities man came we used his water tank on the back of his truck to spray off the rest (note that we didn’t make him do it, we sprayed it off ourselves).

It was interesting to me that when the facilities man was helping us with the hose he asked us what we had drawn that got the cops so riled up. It was apparent that they don’t usually get called to clean up chalk.

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I asked the officer who first approached us if it was the message that got us in trouble or the fact that it was chalk. He told me that no chalk is allowed without permission, but then continued to tell me how offended Pro-abortionists would get if it was on campus,and how it would get posted online and become a big deal. His response made me feel that even though it might be a rule on the books it was only enforced because of the message.

We were let go and didn’t have any charges against us (though one officer told us we might be charged for the cost of the facilities guy coming), but I felt like we were treated unfairly. The feeling my friends and I received from the officers was that our message was offensive and that is why we had to clean it up. I was under the impression that we were all entitled to our own opinions and freedom of speech and expression! Like I said before we cleaned it all up and were nothing but respectful towards the officers. We didn’t want to make a big deal about it and were told we were in the wrong.

Thanks for taking the time to read my long,wordy letter and  for your time and effort in the Pro Life cause. It is organizations like yours that make me think we have a chance to make a difference in causes as important as protecting the sanctity of life. Thank you for supporting children without voices and for getting the facts out there to people like me!

ACTION: Contact the Utah State University administration here.