Free Speech isn’t “Free” at UB
In April, we told you about how University at Buffalo Students for Life hosted a debate on abortion. The pro-abortion side, after being given the opportunity to debate the UB Students for Life group, couldn’t even defend their positions and walked out of a formal debate with UB SFL President Christian Andzel and Americans United for Life’s Anna Franzonello in front of 200 audience members.
Now the debate is at the center of a lawsuit between UB SFL and the school. Alliance Defending Freedom is filing the lawsuit on behalf of UB SFL and explained in a press release:
“University officials charged the group nearly $650 for security officers–one of which spent his time reading a newspaper–because it deemed an abortion debate that the group sponsored ‘controversial.’ The university has no guidelines for such a designation and leaves it to the whim of officials, a practice that the U.S. Supreme Court has found to be unconstitutional in other cases. The university did not assess such fees to a group holding a similar event on campus in the same building at the same time.”
SFLA President Kristan Hawkins reacted, “Requiring student groups with limited or no funds to pay for their own security, that the campus should already be providing, at their pro-life events chills the right to speech. The ability of students to hold events and speak out on controversial issues should not be dependent upon their ability to pay for security. Free speech should be exactly that – FREE.
“Pro-abortion students and faculty can essentially drain all of UB Students for Life’s resources and shut them down by claiming that all their events are ‘controversial’ and require paid security. The most important speech to protect is that which is controversial. UB should be encouraging controversial speech, not putting up barriers to it.”
Students for Life of America continues to stand with UB SFL after repeated incidents and attacks, like when history professors compared them to “those who supported lynching” in an op-ed this spring.
If you think your rights are being violated on campus, contact SFLA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 571-379-7261 for strategic and legal help, and watch this video about knowing your legal rights.