VIDEO: Angry student attacks pro-life display
Shortly after Miami University-Hamilton settled a lawsuit by agreeing to lift its mandatory trigger warnings for a pro-life display, an angry student was caught on video vandalizing the display.
The Students for Life group at the Ohio university put up its Cemetery of the Innocents display commemorating the lives lost to abortion on April 8, just a few weeks after the school agreed to revise policies requiring “trigger warnings” for pro-life displays and other forms of expression that administrators deemed likely to inflict “emotional trauma.”
"It’s discouraging to see students so upset at free-speech and pro-life views they feel the need to vandalize our display."
Before noon on the very next day, however, a pro-choice student had already vandalized the crosses.
Video footage provided to Campus Reform shows a male student kicking over several of the symbolic crosses, and even throwing a few, while a female companion looked on.
The vandalism was reported to campus security, which said it has identified the students responsible and is currently investigating the incident.
The display at Miami University-Hamilton is not the first display to face vandalism. Displays at Clemson University, Northern Kentucky University, the University of Texas-San Antonio, and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville have been vandalized, as well.
Ellie Wittman, the former president of Miami University-Hamilton Students for Life and a plaintiff in the recent lawsuit, said she is heartbroken over the recent destruction.
“It’s discouraging to see students so upset at free-speech and pro-life views they feel the need to vandalize our display,” Wittman said. “However, we are encouraged by the university’s quick response to the incident and their support for our display.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, also expressed satisfaction with the school’s response to the vandalism thus far.
“We are glad that after standing up for their free-speech rights against their university that students are not being intimidated by pro-choice students who are vandalizing their display,” she said. “Students for Life appreciates the school’s willingness to help with this issue and demands other schools facing the same threats to free-speech support their students against vandalism.”
UPDATE: Claire Wagner, director of University News and Communications for Miami University, provided Campus Reform with the following statement addressing the incident:
"Miami University promotes and protects the right to free speech and expression. Our liberal arts education recognizes that intellectual engagement is maximized by the exchange and representation of diverse and multifaceted points of view and life experiences.
"Thus, we were disappointed to learn that two of our students yesterday (April 9) were reported to have damaged the approved display of one of our student organizations. The incident has been referred to the university’s Office of Ethics and Conflict Resolution for investigating."
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AutumnDawnPrice