Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: Kristan Hawkins Details Attacks on Free-Speech
“The silver lining in all this for pro-life advocates is the resolve of courageous students who refuse to be silenced and who are learning how to engage effectively and lovingly even in hostile environments. Far from being snowflakes, this generation is more pro-life than their parents, and they are willing to do the hard work of defending women and their preborn children no matter the obstacles,” writes SFLA’s Kristan Hawkins.
WASHINGTON D.C. and FREDERICKSBURG, VA (05-22-18) – As the school year draws to a close, Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins discussed the troubling trend in 9 common violations of student free speech in a national column at the Wall Street Journaltoday, writing: “Free speech is out of fashion on college, university and even high school campuses, and pro-life students are hit especially hard. Putting aside any feelings about the issue of abortion, consider that pro-life students increasingly find their ability to make their case suppressed by fellow students and administrators.” As a result, viewpoint discrimination is changing the ways in which some students are permitted to express themselves. (See slideshow of common violations here.)
With more than 1,200 college and high school chapters, Students for Life of America (SFLA) works daily addressing obstacles to student speech that commonly include:
- The vandalization and outright theft of displays and signs.
- A virtual poll tax on speech often in the form of security fees not charged to all who require it.
- A Heckler’s Veto, in which schools cancel or move events when extremist groups or a disgruntled student oppose a speaker.
- A slow walk to nowhere when a pattern of delays for approval of events or clubs creates a virtual veto of student speech.
- A not-even-separate-but-equal accommodation as schools refuse similar support for pro-life students as given to others.
- A religious gag rule in which schools may allow students to speak as long as they stay silent about faith.
- A required “Trigger Warning” in which the school signals through signs posted in the areas where pro-life speech is taking place that such speech is controversial and offensive, to be possibly avoided or protested.
- A power of the purse veto involving biased use of student fees.
- A threat of violence veto.
Hawkins closed the article, noting, “The silver lining in all this for pro-life advocates is the resolve of courageous students who refuse to be silenced and who are learning how to engage effectively and lovingly even in hostile environments. Far from being snowflakes, this generation is more pro-life than their parents, and they are willing to do the hard work of defending women and their preborn children no matter the obstacles.”
To read the entire article, with examples of each type of violation, click here.
Students interested in starting a Students for Life chapter on their high school or college campuses, can get more information by contacting SFLA here.
For more information or an interview, e-mail [email protected]
Students for Life of America is the nation’s largest pro-life youth organization. Headquartered in Fredericksburg, VA, Students for Life has more than 1,200 groups on college and high school campuses located in all fifty states.