By Bethany Janzen, Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator, Students for Life of America
As the sun began to set on Thursday, a band of eight pro-life students gathered at the University of New Mexico to raise awareness of the Students for Life club though chalking. When they returned to campus this morning, they found that their chalking had been defaced, in violation of school policies.
The messages were simple and intended to connect pro-life students with the group: “Pro-Life? Email Students4LifeUNM@gmail.com”. Other messaged aimed at supporting pregnant and parenting students – “Pregnant? Need help? Email Students4LifeUNM@gmail.com” – and informing campus about a presentation tomorrow by a former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino – “Former Abortionist Speaking Saturday, 4/22, Email Students4LifeUNM@gmail.com”. For more information about this presentation, go to: https://sfla.webconnex.com/newmexico17.
While chalking the messages, club members were approached by several pro-life students who asked about the club.
But this morning, club members found that their messages had been rubbed off or chalked over, something that UNM policies prohibit. For example, one of the places where the club chalked about the former abortionist’s speech tomorrow was rubbed off. In another location where they wrote “Pro-Life?” and the club email, the message was rubbed off and written over with “Want to Save Reproductive Rights? Trust Women” (see picture).
On the left a picture taken last night shows chalk stating, “Former Abortionist Speaking on Saturday, 4/22, firstname.lastname@example.org”. By 11:56 am today, the chalk was rubbed off.
“Seeing the pro-life messages we’d worked hard on chalking around campus gone by 8 in the morning, was really disappointing,” said Tom Hanlon, Students for Life at UNM Vice President. “What it does show however, is that we – as the only pro-life group on campus – have an effect on the culture here at UNM. Pro-choice advocates are desperate, and their vandalism demonstrates that.”
Actions like these are sad because they reflect the intolerance and lack of celebration of diversity that college campuses are supposed to embrace. College – the market place of ideas – becomes an intolerant and disrespectful community when its students deface the messages other students.
And this isn’t the first time this has happened at UNM. Last fall the Students for Life Club’s pro-life chalk was washed off.
The UNM Students for Life group plans to inquire whether there were video cameras near where the chalk was defaced.