A college in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania appears to have censored a Young Americans for Freedom club after its students hung pro-life posters on campus.
Gettysburg College recently hosted an event that allowed both students and administrators to explain ways in which they were subject to racism, according to the Young America’s Foundation blog The New Guard. The club seized the opportunity to bring a pro-life perspective to the college event. They created pro-life fliers describing how the abortion industry targets black babies and hung the fliers across campus.
By the following day, all of the fliers were removed, according to the blog. One student club member snapped a photo of another student taking down the fliers and reported it to administrators, the blog reports.
Rather than defend the YAF from intolerance, the College’s Chief Diversity Officer Jeanne Arnold sent the student body a lengthy email on Feb. 23 explaining problems with the pro-life posters, according to the blog. She claimed that the fliers “made misleading use of ‘Black Lives Matter,’” a phrase often used to raise awareness about police violence against blacks. Arnold said she will create a “bias response team” in order to “review policies related to on-campus postings and bias.”
The Gettysburg club members said Arnold’s email “targeted and shamed” their club for promoting pro-life values. Club members said they are afraid the “bias response team” will create rules that will prohibit them from hanging up conservative messages in the future.
Ironically, Arnold wrote in her letter, “… it is the on-going obligation of this institution to educate our community about how to engage in controversial ideas and opinions without undermining the values of Gettysburg College—that is upholding ‘the worth and dignity of all people’ and ‘sensitivity to the human condition.’”
Her letter continued:
Over the course of the academic year, a series of posters have been displayed causing many students to feel marginalized and misrepresented by negative stereotypes. I write to you today because posters that were hung last week in numerous locations on campus singled out African-American women in an effort to promote pro-life positions. These posters also made misleading use of “Black Lives Matter.” It is important to foster dialogue about political and social issues affecting the entire country and uphold a key element of our mission that is the “free and open marketplace of ideas,” but we must find ways to do this in a creative, productive, and effective manner.
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We believe that these posters, and others that have been displayed this academic year that singled out groups through the use of language such as “anchor babies,” have been promoted by a small group of students on campus. The posters have perpetuated a chilly climate for some of our students, faculty, and staff. Students directly and indirectly affected by these posters have expressed frustration and anger. That type of climate is not in line with the environment our community seeks to uphold.
… We are committed to making Gettysburg College a more diverse and inclusive community while providing an environment where issues can be openly discussed and explored. However, success requires that individual members of this community demonstrate their commitment to making Gettysburg College a more inclusive and welcoming campus through their actions.
Sadly, this is the approach most colleges are taking. Abortion is often a taboo topic, something students are greatly discouraged or even forbidden to write and talk about. In her email, Arnold claimed she is “committed to making Gettysburg College a more diverse and inclusive community while providing an environment where issues can be openly discussed and explored.” Yet her own opinions and values apparently take precedence over those of more conservative students.