Students for Life leaders Ellie Wittman,Bernadette Tasy, Leandra Westbrook, Nathan Cain, and Maddie D’olorio, along with SFLA President Kristan Hawkins, will be at the White House today for President Trump’s announcement concerning free-speech on college campuses. All four are Students for Life leaders that have experience attacks on their free-speech rights.
Tasy, a Students for Life Wilberforce Fellow, and graduate student at Fresno State University successfully sued a university professor who ordered students to destroy pro-life chalkings put up by her Students for Life group. After winning her lawsuit, Tasy noted, “When will students at Fresno State learn that we have just the same free-speech rights as everyone else. Professor Thatcher underwent free-speech training; maybe the whole school should. There should be respect for differing points of view on campus, and if students oppose us they are free to chalk their own messages on the ground, but they should not destroy ours.”
Wittman is a student at Miami University-Oxford in Ohio. While at the Hamilton campus,where she attended before transferring to the main Oxford campus, Wittman had to sue her school over its plan to force her group to put up trigger warnings in front of their Cemetery of the Innocents display.
As Alliance Defending Freedom noted, “When Students for Life requested permission for the display, however, they were told by university administrators that they also had to include trigger warnings around campus – signs warning students about the content of the display. University officials even went so far as to say that the display might cause “emotional trauma” to those who might see it.
But university officials had not demanded trigger warnings for transgender displays, domestic violence displays, and “reproductive justice” displays in the past. It was clear they were singling out Students for Life for unfair treatment.”
Cain is a student leader at the University of Oklahoma. He is being invited for his disputes with the university of their regulations and registration requirements. One incident involved his difficulty in getting posters hung up for Kristan Hawkins’ “Lies Feminists Tell” tour stop on campus.
D’olorio is a Students for Life leader at Trinity University and is being invited for disputes over her student newspaper. Westbrook is a Students for Life leader at Kent State and currently is a government affairs intern for Susan B. Anthony List.
In a recent op-ed at Fox News, Kristan Hawkins noted, “The criminalization of free speech on college and university campuses has reached epidemic proportions as simply expressing a point of view that runs counter to academic conventional wisdom can lead to ostracization and loss of basic freedoms. Even this week, as I am invited to the White House, where President Trump will detail his plans to protect student free speech, I am protested in Boston and have faced opposition from Antifa for asking the kind of hard questions that university life was once set up to encourage.
To protect our Constitutional Democracy, it is vital that we teach the next generation of American leaders that the peaceful expression of opinion is not a nuisance or triggering event, but a fundamental freedom all deserve to enjoy. Citizens – even students – deserve protections for peaceful speech, especially on school campuses supported by hard-earned taxpayer dollars.”
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