Pro-life students at at Western Washington University created messages in chalk to promote their movement on campus earlier this month. But after only moments of leaving their art on the sidewalk, student vandals and school employees washed the messages away, Campus Reform reported.
A video posted by Students for Life of America appears to show students from the university erasing the chalk messages on June 7 at 7:00 p.m. After this happened, pro-life students rewrote their chalk messages at around 10:30 p.m.
The following morning, school maintenance crews arrived to wash away the chalk again.
A second video shows that after the student vandals started washing away the chalk, a member of the Student for Life of America approached them and asked, “Is your plan to erase all of our messages?”
“Just the really sh**ty ones,”a female student replies, adding that “mostly we’re going for the ones that are, like, actively hurtful, mostly.”
The chalk writings included a variety of messages, but the vandals continued to wash away the messages, even ones expressing empathy for women who have had abortions, with water from large traffic cones.
A member from Students for Life explained that the messages painted were from a campaign called the “Silent No More.”
“This message here was from ‘Silent No More,’ which tries to help people who have had abortions, and are, like, hurting from them,” the member stated.
Following the run-in with the student vandals, the pro-life organization also had to confront the school maintenance crew when they found them also erasing the messages. When asked why they were erasing the messages, the university employees explained that they were too provocative.
A crew member also added that “they just said that there is a lot of chalk graffiti on the ground and go take care of it.”
Jennifer Cook, who is the Club Activities Coordinator at the university, apologized to the organization in an email, stating, “it sounds like it was a big miscommunication (and misinterpretation by the maintenance person) and that they had been asked to wash off what had been there for a while, not understanding that yours is new.”
Cook also added that the school would support whatever the students decided to draw unless the messages were considered hate speech.
“The only ‘provocative’ writing we would ask to be removed would be hate speech and we would be in communication about that,” she added. “We might also work with you if it were specifically triggering but even that would not be asked to be washed away.”
The university’s Expression and Assembly statement, which staff, faculty and students must adhere to, states that Western Washington University promotes “academic freedom” and “freedom of speech, petition, and assembly.” The statement emphasizes these pieces stating that they are “fundamental to the academic process.”
“The values and behavior of the campus community with respect to expression are informed not only by the law, but by a shared responsibility and commitment to treating each other with respect, civility, and empathy, including when discussing or debating controversial topics,” the school asserts.
Kristan Hawkins, who is the president of Students for Life of America, reacted to the situation by affirming that the pro-life group “should have the same free-speech rights as any other student group on campus.”
“The fact that pro-life messages about supporting women who were post-abortive or promoting adoption is considered too controversial by pro-choice students on campus is disheartening and indicative of the bias against pro-lifers in higher education,” Hawkins stated.
Another student, Karlie Lodjic, who is the president of the Students for Life chapter at the university, also stated that the situation was handled inappropriately.
“The administration should strongly condemn this vandalism and should work to find the students involved and ensure they face punishment for what they did,” Lodjic stated.
(H/T: Campus Reform)