University of Alabama Apologizes to Pro-Life Group for Removing Display

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    (Photo: Courtesy ADF and Bama Students for Life)
    Bama Students for Life of the University of Alabama pro-life display at the Ferguson Center.
By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter
February 19, 2014|2:44 pm

An official from the University of Alabama has delivered an apology to a pro-life student group for removing their display at a campus facility.

Carl Bacon, director of the Ferguson Center, sent an emailed apology to Bama Students for Life stating that their display could return to the center after being removed.

"Please accept my apology that your display was removed without your knowledge two days before your reserved time expired. You have two options available to you to complete your 30-day reservation," wrote Bacon.

"The same display case will be available for two days starting Feb. 22, or the case between the SGA office and the office of the Dean of Students is available this week for two days. Please let me know which option you would like to choose."

Cathy Andreen, director of media relations for the University of Alabama, told The Christian Post that Bama Students for Life plan to repost the display on Thursday.

"The display had been posted for almost a month when it was removed two days before the reservation for the display case ended," said Andreen.

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"The poster was removed due to a misunderstanding about the guidelines for the display case. The University of Alabama respects our students' First Amendment rights to express their opinions."

Last week a University of Alabama official removed a pro-life display on campus that Bama Students for Life had set up the month before.

The display, which is a trifold that features pro-life rhetoric and imagery, was reportedly removed because an administrator found the content "offensive."

On the trifold are photos of women who had died because of their abortion procedure, a photo of Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell, and two small sized photos of aborted fetuses.

In response to the removal, Bama Students for Life leveled a formal complaint sending a letter last week to Ferguson Center Director Bacon.

"We believe that the removal of our pro-life display violates our First Amendment right to free speech. The United States Supreme Court has said that educators cannot ban offensive speech," reads the letter, in part.

"The Ferguson Center permits all kinds of speech by other students and student groups that many people would find 'offensive' or 'graphic.' For example, on one bulletin board is an ad for the UA Theatre & Dance program's presentation of 'Blood Wedding.'"

Bama Students for Life were aided in their efforts by the Alliance Defending Freedom. In a statement released Tuesday, ADF legal counsel Matt Sharp approved the university's reversal.

"Censorship is inconsistent with 'the marketplace of ideas' that a public university is supposed to be," said Sharp.

"We commend the university for its quick response to Bama Students for Life's free speech concerns."

 

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