An adjunct media studies professor from the University at Buffalo, N.Y., was arrested earlier this week after she went on a profanity-ridden rant against a pro-life display set up by a student group on campus.
The teacher, Laura Curry, protested against the graphic pro-life poster that Students for Life put up, but was confronted by police officers when she got too loud, Mediaite revealed. She continued arguing with the officers and insisted that the profanity she was using was just as offensive as the aborted baby Students for Life were displaying, and that her outburst was protected under the First Amendment Rights.
"Where does it say I can't use the (f-word) in public," Curry told the police officers, after which she was arrested. "I can swear because that's part of my vocabulary. That's part of my First Amendment rights." A video of the confrontation is available on Mediaite.
John DellaContrada, the assistant vice president for media relations at the University at Buffalo, revealed that Curry was put in handcuffs for "disorderly conduct."
"The University at Buffalo strives to create an environment in which diverse opinions can be expressed and heard. As a public university, it is a fundamental value of UB that all members of the campus community and their invited guests have a right to peacefully express their views and opinions, regardless of whether others may disagree with those expressions," DellaContrada told Creative Minority Report.
"This includes the right of protesters to oppose the views or opinions of others, but not in such a way as to limit or prevent the speaker's freedom of expression or interfere with university operations."
The University at Buffalo has been involved in a public debate on abortion, with a number of professors signing a letter to the editor of school paper The Spectrum condemning a recent comparison pro-life advocates had made between abortion supporters and people who lynched thousands of African-American men and women in the 19th and 20th centuries.
"We do not condemn the protest itself; in fact, we believe that the right to peaceably assemble is one of the foundational rights of American citizenship. However, as historians, we feel it is imperative to speak out against this crass, uninformed and dangerous misuse of history," the professors wrote.
"The inability to see women as capable of making decisions about their own sexuality. The use of violent, inaccurate, and misleading imagery. The pretense of protection. Anti-abortion protesters appear to have a lot in common with those who supported lynching," the academics added.
Students for Life immediately rejected that label, with President Christian Andzel responding:
"It is absolutely shameful for the paid professionals at the University at Buffalo to insinuate that anti-abortionists 'appear to have a lot in common with those who supported lynching.' As a student in the history department and President of the Pro-Life club on campus, not only am I ashamed and appalled that my professors twisted our message to suit their point of view, but I am offended due to their false characterization of our argument. We were citing the history of oppression and voicelessness of the victims who deserved human rights and justice."