Mizzou students asked to fill out Bias Reports because of 'offensive' pro-life display
Pro-life groups at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) sparked controversy Wednesday when students were encouraged to fill out Bias Incident Reports if material the group displayed “disturbed” them.
Activists from the groups Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) and Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN), set up a display in Mizzou’s Kuhlman Court for three consecutive days this week, with pictures declaring “All Blacks Live Matter, Even the Unborn” and “Abortion Suppresses the Black Vote,” as well as boards comparing the abortion of African-American babies to the Holocaust and genocide.
Representatives from Planned Parenthood and several Mizzou-affiliated groups organized a counter-protest, where they held signs stating things like “I bet they’re voting for Donald Trump!”
One woman yelled, “If these images disturb you, please go to the Title IX website and fill out a Bias Incident Report!”
Protesters from the aforementioned groups stood not far from GAP’s display and told students walking by that if they received a pamphlet from the group, that they would willingly recycle it- and even had a recycling bin for students to dispose of the materials.
The same groups also had several tables set up around Kuhlman Court and were passing out information about Planned Parenthood resources while asking students questions like, “Do you support women’s health?”
One pro-choice activist also espoused the free condoms, saying, “We know you have sex! Don’t lie!”
The pro-choice groups said they particularly took offense to the images because they were poorly-timed with it being the week preceding finals, and that it was triggering for many students during such a stressful time.
One protester held a sign and shouted, “We shouldn’t have triggers on our campus!” and “Offensive ideas have no place on this campus!”
Another shouted, “It’s okay to have your opinion, but what’s up with these images?”
Many protesters criticized GAP for their information, shouting “Their facts are wrong!” and “Their facts aren’t facts!”
When pressed for a response, however, the only specific given was from one student who criticized the sign that read “90% of children diagnosed in utero with Down Syndrome are aborted.”
The student, Khaliyah Frazier, said she “didn’t believe that was factual” and questioned the source of the information.
Students present at the display were not the only ones angered by the material of GAP. The school’s Jewish Student Organization sent out a letter on Monday telling students: “This use of the Holocaust is an act of Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Student Organization condemns the fear tactics and the imagery the Genocide Awareness Project uses. The images and comparisons made are not only inaccurate; they are offensive, and triggering to many students. The Jewish Student Organization recognizes the right of free speech; however, the messages the Genocide Awareness Project uses go beyond freedom of speech.”
The letter continued: “We are encouraging all students to file a Bias Incident Report detailing the incident and how it has affected the learning environment of all students. The display is triggering to many groups and negatively effects [sic] the learning environment for all students.”
GAP, led by the Rev. Clenard Childress, travels around the country to spread their pro-life message.
“We have to do what we have to do,” Rev. Childress stated, “because this atrocity is going on day, after day, after day. Once again, facts are facts. They want to argue facts, let’s have an open debate, we welcome that.”
As for the group’s chosen method of protesting, he said that a lot of the pictures, such as the human development chart on one of the boards, were readily available in certain textbooks.
“They don’t like that we’ve attached it to abortion,” he states.
He also said that pictures can spark a movement, and that what sparked Rosa Parks’ famous refusal to move to the back of the bus was an open-casket picture of 15-year-old murder victim Emmett Till.
Jackie Hawkins, with the Center for Bio-ethical Reform, said she and GAP were inspired by the student protests earlier in the semester that caused UM system president Tim Wolfe and Mizzou chancellor R. Bowen Loftin to resign.
She said the group thought it would be a great opportunity to do the group’s “All Black Lives Matter” campaign, because abortion, she says, “is wreaking havoc on the black community. These black lives matter too.”
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