Vandals at the Cal-Poly in San Luis Obispo, California have stolen or destroyed hundreds of posters promoting Kristan Hawkins’ upcoming speech on Thursday, February 27th. Hawkins’ is visiting campuses this Spring to continue her “Make Abortion Illegal Again” speaking tour.
According to Kelsea Forward, the vice-president of Cal-Poly Students for Life, “Between January 22nd and February 19th, Cal-Poly Students for Life hung up over 300 fliers promoting the upcoming “Make Abortion Illegal Again” speaking tour stop by Kristan Hawkins. The fliers were put up in residence halls, the university union, and most major academic buildings and at least half of the fliers have been torn down.”
Forward added, “If people disagree with us, they should come to the event and ask a question during the Q&A session. If they’re only trying to silence us, it proves they don’t have a good argument.”
The group has reported the incident as a Bias Incident. The university is wary of potential protests and violence. They have alerted us to possible problems. For example, the university is assigning two police officers and a university representative to guard Kristan Hawkins during tabling. The police department is also suggesting no backpacks are allowed inside the building and are warning people against bringing sticks or any other kind of weapon into the building.
Vandalism is nothing new to Students for Life or even specifically to Kristan Hawkins’ speaking tour. Last Spring, students set on fire a speaking tour banner at Western Washington University promoting Kristan’s speaking tour.
no western alert for this one but someone finally lit that stupid poster on fire pic.twitter.com/bkFuCezHrD
— calm down (@abbyoatmeal) May 6, 2019
In October 2018, posters at Southern Methodist University promoting Kristan were also repeatedly stolen and taken down. Similar incidents have occurred at schools such as Robert Morris University.
You can see a map of vandalism incidents here.
In an op-ed for Fox News, Hawkins criticized attacks on free-speech against conservatives and pro-lifers.
“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….A pattern of harassment on school campuses is well documented as student governments and school officials use a virtual poll tax on speech they don’t like with fees, denial of the use school fees for pro-life events, a Heckler’s veto in which any disgruntled student can shut down an event, or require ‘Trigger Warnings’ that pro-life speech is imminent. Such administrative weapons are commonly employed against those who support both mother and pre-born infant. Meanwhile, vandalism and outright theft of pro-life displays is a common occurrence when students go out to engage their peers in conversation. And now students also face threats of violence.”