Tim Hernandez, the student body president of University of Northern Colorado believes that it is his duty to warn students, of all political beliefs, when outsiders are coming to campus, whether those groups hold traditionally conservative or liberal views.
Hernandez, on Friday, April 5th, wrote to all students to warn them that, *gasp*, there would be pro-lifers on campus (some of them could even be sitting right next to you in your math or chemistry class). The e-mail was sent as a follow-up to an e-mail on Thursday, April 4th, in which Hernandez claimed it was his “duty” to alert students when off-campus groups be on-campus.
Hernandez describes, fairly accurately, what pro-life groups stand for, and then links out to Justice for All’s website. Hernandez, however, primes students to be offended, by telling them that crisis lines and counseling services will be available for any one harmed by the display.
“For those that may be impacted, the Assault Survivor’s Advocacy Program, UNC Counseling Center, and the Office of Student Outreach and Support will have content warnings surrounding the area to notify students of the images this group may have that could potentially impactful. Individuals may also request assistance by calling the ASAP crisis line at (970) 351-4040 to have an advocate walk/drive them to and from class. The Counseling Center will be available to see crisis walk-ins from 8-12p and 1-4p, and the services will be free. The Office of Student Outreach and Support is also available to support students negatively affected by this event…”
“The Center For Women’s and Gender Equity will be located in front of Michener Library for the two-day span and will have resources and opportunities for those who would like to further engage in discussions around topics of gender equity.”
Christina Coffman, Colorado Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America criticized Hernandez, saying, “Students for Life wanted to bring this display to campus in order to have a productive and thoughtful discussion. It’s unfortunate that Hernandez tried to pollute our discussion by telling students that they will be upset by the discussion.”
Hernandez told Students for Life that he regularly e-mails students when outside groups will be coming to campus, including for a “Fight for Oil and Gas” event and a “DACA Solidarity Rally.”
He told us, “The motivation behind sending this email is to inform our students to the fullest capacity, as we have a simultaneous duty to not only inform our students, but to support them in spaces where they could also be potentially impacted.”
Hernandez was not the only University of Northern Colorado official to send out a warning. In an e-mail obtained by Students for Life of America, Katelyn Spooner, a Residence Hall Director told students that, “An anti-abortion demonstration Monday and Tuesday staged by a group unaffiliated with UNC will include visual displays onlawn west of McKee Hall. As a public institution, UNC recognizes the First Amendment right granted to individuals to exercise their constitutional right to participate in freedom of expression activities on campus. Regardless of their position or platform, individuals and groups may hold a peaceful assembly or distribute information on campus provided they comply with the law and university policy.”
The end of the e-mail provided similar counseling and programming resources as referenced by Hernandez.
This e-mail brings to mind a similar issue in September 2018, when the vice-provost at North Dakota State University sent a campus-wide e-mail warning about a pro-life display on campus. In that scenario, however, the school had only sent warnings about other pro-life displays.
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