Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Campus Stand

I doubt I have much, if any, new material to add to the abortion debate, but I feel I have to report on the situation on campus.

So here's the deal. Every year, in a high-traffic area, the campus Pro-Life Club sets up a display consisting of graphic images of aborted fetuses that are compared to Nazi victims, slave lynchings, and dead Rwandan children. Every year, the university tries to stop them from doing so.

This year, since the university couldn't find grounds to not allow the display, the club was ordered to turn their signs away from easy view. This would allow the display to go up, but would keep students who didn't make a particular effort from seeing it.

The club set the signs up facing the path, just like always (and I am proud to say that I helped in that regard).

The university began to issue trespassing notices to its own students, and set up signs warning people of the graphic images. The signs also said that the university was "pursuing appropriate legal action". Several of the ringleader students may be expelled or suspended. An obnoxious pro-choice group came to protest the display, dressed in dumb clown costumes with whistles, stopping people on the paths and warning them to take a different route to class. TV crews showed up to interview people. Police arrived to make sure things didn't get out of hand.

Now I'm not technically part of the pro-life club, I just happened to be on campus when they were going to set up, and they needed a few extra hands. Some to hold the signs before they were set up because the pro-choicers kept trying to steal them if they were left unattended, and some to set up the display.

My friends the Casamayors held the signs (even though they aren't actually attending the school - they were just there to support the club), and Talia and I helped a club member set it up. As we moved the first sign into place, the many cameras in the area all crowded to the barricades to film it.

It was kinda weird being in the spotlight, seeing as I had only just learned of the intended display the day before.

Now, I think the university is being absolutely stupid. Their official reasons for not wanting the display visible or on the grounds is that a) it might offend people's sensibilities, and b) it might lead to a confrontation.

While I agree that perhaps people should be warned when they're about to see something "graphic", the uni's first "reason" to suppress the display is complete BS (although I said it more nicely to the Global News cameraman). During the orientation week, all the new students were herded into the campus theatre and shown, on the giant screen, disgusting and very graphic pictures of STDs. There are paintings of naked people in the cafeteria. Obviously the university does not care very much whether they offend people's sensibilities, and neither does it care to warn incoming students that they might be offended. I doubt there's an official policy on what to do with "graphic" images. Not mention that these pictures were no worse than what you see on TV except that they were real and not digitally-created.

The second "reason" is also ridiculous. There would be no confrontation or publicity if the uni didn't make such a big deal of it, drawing the camera crews to the place. As soon as the TV crews left, the place simmered down. The only people to cause a ruckus would be over-exuberant pro-choicers, in which case, the pro-choicers should be removed, not the pro-lifers. Plus, I doubt that the women with babies or the elderly woman holding the "I regret my abortion" sign would be very willing to throw themselves into the mess if things looked like there were going to get out of hand.

I guess this is as much about freedom of expression as it is about abortion.

I am quite pleased with how all the pro-lifers behaved, with the exception of one amateur cameraman from off campus, who was trying to preach while he was arguing for the cause and consequently getting himself laughed at. Now I imagine there'll be a number of people who associate "Jesus' love" as pertaining to everyone but women. With the exception of him, all the pro-lifers were very calm, collected, and well versed in friendly discussion and debate. Even the Pro-Choice Clown Squad was mostly well-behaved, though very very loud in general, and very very quiet when pro-lifers tried to talk to them.

The main people causing problems were the middle-aged nay-sayers and amateur camera men from off campus, who then fired-up some of the students.

So let me relate to you some of the things I heard there:

"You don't deserve to LIVE, you SON OF A B****!" screameth a pro-choicer man (not sure whether he was from the uni or not). Even the ahem *bitchy* off-campus woman who was firing people up corrected him for yelling that one.

"Get your rosaries off my ovaries!" Pro-Choice Clown Squad (at very high volume).

"My body's nobody's body but mine. You can run your body, and I will run mine!" Pro-Choice Clown Squad and the bitchy woman, very loudly and in a sing-song tune.

"I'm not here to persuade you, I'm here to see where your heart is!" the preacher-dude making me cringe.

One observation, however. It's pretty rare that I hear a female verbally debating the pro-life cause. It's usually a guy, though I don't know why. I do know, however, that women are more likely to accept a personal point pertaining to women if it's made by women.


CavDawg said...

That sounds like fun, really.

art said...

I saw you on the evening news. I suppose tolerance is only allowed when your views are supported by those in charge. I suppose those who stole the signs justified their actions by thinking the pro-life side does not deserve legal rights. Sometimes it would be nice if one of these anti-life people would give themselves a retroactive abortion. (Just joking.)