NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
by Robby Soave
Administrators at the University of Alabama secretly removed an anti-abortion display because some students found it offensive — a clear violation of pro-life students’ First Amendment rights, according to a free speech group.
Student Claire Chretien, president of Bama Students for Life, reserved space in the Ferguson Student Center to display a pro-life poster featuring pictures of aborted fetuses and a caption insisting that abortion is a human rights violation.
But last week, she noticed that the poster was missing from the display case, according to Campus Reform.
A visit to University Events Coordinator Donna Lake resolved the mystery: Administrators removed the poster due to complaints from students.
Chretien’s conversation with Lake was captured on video and published by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“If we receive complaints about it, we have to take it down,” Lake told Chretien.
The administrator insisted that the policy was neutral and equally enforced. “It’s just like if somebody put up something that upset you in some way that you felt deeply about,” she told Chretien.
Chretien replied that she “probably wouldn’t want them to take it down,” if the situation were reversed and she was the one offended, however.
Lake also told Chretien that she was lucky the poster survived as long as it did, since hypersensitive students could have petitioned for its removal much sooner.
Chretien told The Daily Caller that her First Amendment rights were clearly violated.
“Our group was very upset that the university decided to trample all of our First Amendment rights,” she said.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education agreed with Chretien, and criticized the administrator’s faulty understanding of the Constitution. Pro-life students have a First Amendment right to display a poster that offends other students, according to FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley...
Schools: University of Alabama