Recently, several students at Western Washington University were caught on camera using traffic cones to wash away pro-life chalkings by Students for Life at Western Washington University. One student tells a member of Students for Life that the plan is to just erase “the really shitty ones [messages].”
The students began erasing the chalking on Thursday, June 7th around 7 PM PST and then Students for life re-chalked around 1030 PM PST that same night. The following morning, maintenance crews were ordered to wash away the chalkings.
When asked about this, the university appears to apologize for washing away the chalkings, but could not provide guidance on who ordered them to be washed away. A university employee assures the students that only hate speech would be washed away, without defining it. She mentions as well that there might be a conversation with the group if any of the language was triggering.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America stated, “Students for Life at Western Washington should have the same free-speech rights as any other student group on campus. The fact that pro-life messages about supporting women who were post-abortive or promoting adoption is considered too controversial by pro-choice students on campus is disheartening and indicative of the bias against pro-lifers in higher education.”
Karlie Lodjic, president of Students for Life at Western Washington University added, “The university should strongly condemn this vandalism and should work to find the students involved and ensure they face punishment for what they did.”
In an e-mail exchange with Jennifer Cook, Club Activities Coordinator, Cook apologizes for the miscommunication and says the maintenance staffer was confused and says the school supports the group’s right to chalk. However, Cook added, “The only ‘provocative’ writing we would ask to be removed would be hate speech and we would be in communication about that. We might also work with you if it were specifically triggering but even that would not be asked to be washed away.”
Video evidence has been turned over to campus police.