College vows to hold defiant pro-abortion vandals accountable
The College of New Jersey has agreed to hold students responsible for destroying a display commemorating the victims of the 3,705 of abortions that occur in New Jersey each month.
TCNJ Students for Life, a chapter of the national pro-life organization, erected a Graveyard of the Innocents display on April 11 with school approval. The display featured approximately 370 flags, each representing 10 aborted children. Such presentations are a popular form of demonstration for pro-life students, as well as easy targets for pro-abortion vandals.
"If it’s just a bundle of cells, why would this [display] be traumatic?"
According to the statement released by Students for Life, on April 12 at approximately 1:00 p.m., a group of seven students approached the display and began to remove each flag from the ground.
One of the organizers also filmed the incident and attempted to directly address the vandals.
“This is a graveyard for kids!” the student with the camera said. “Do you realize what you’re doing?”
“They’re not kids, they’re fetuses,” one activist responded while continuing to extract the flags. Another alleged vandal also dismissed the objection, shouting that the display represents “a couple of flags for some cells that got flushed out.”
One of the demonstrators also criticized the organizers for creating a display that could be psychologically traumatizing for women who have had abortions. “If it’s just a bundle of cells, why would this be traumatic?” a SFL member replied.
When the students had finished removing all the flags, they debated throwing them in the trash, but thought better of it after being reminded that doing so would constitute theft.
One student protester stated that if SFL restored the display, the student activists would simply “take them out again.”
Students for Life identified the student vandals, including one who serves as the vice president of campus LGBT group PRISM, and reported the incident to campus police.
Several hours later, a group that included some of the vandals subsequently erected its own flag display in the same location, along with a sign proclaiming that “This is a NEW flag garden representing the people here who believe you have the RIGHT to CHOOSE to LOVE to PROTEST.”
SFL chapter Vice President Grace Gottschling told Campus Reform that she found the sign ironic “considering they were impeding our right to protest abortion.”
Three of the SFL chapter’s leaders, including Gottschling, met with interim Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator Jordan Draper on Wednesday, while a national Students for Life representative joined in virtually.
“They are launching a full investigation and involved students will be held accountable by the student conduct board,” Gottschling told Campus Reform. “Further information about the results of the actions taken against the offending students will be given at the conclusion of the investigation.”
Gottschling stated that the group is “very happy with the direction the university is taking.”
“To everyone who disagrees with our message, we understand, but you cannot vandalize our property or suppress our 1st amendment rights,” read a statement posted to Facebook by Students for Life following the incident. “You can't suppress the voices of the Innocent or their advocates. You will be held accountable.”
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