Wheaton College students claim that an African American pro-life activist made them feel “unsafe” and “unheard” while he spoke about abortion and racial justice during a campus forum.
Wheaton College Republicans asked Ryan Bomberger to speak at “Black Lives Matter, In and Outside the Womb,” an event held on campus.
Bomberger accepted the invitation and delivered a 50-minute presentation in which he discussed the impact abortions have on the black community.
"Planned Parenthood was birthed in eugenic racism. They've never severed that timeline. They never severed that connection. How do you sever from your past if every year you give out the Margaret Sanger award? You don't give out rewards for people you don't hold in high regard," he stated.
Following the presentation, a 30-minute Q&A session was held for the students which gave them a chance to ask questions. Bomberger stayed past the scheduled time in order to answer additional questions.
Six days after the forum, Bomberger was denounced in an open letter by Student Body President Lauren Rowley, Student Body Vice President Tyler Waaler and EVP of Community Diversity Sammie Shields. In the letter, which was written to the university, the students criticized Bomberger’s visit writing,
"The speaker...made several comments at the event that deeply troubled members of our community. His comments, surrounding the topic of race, made many students, staff, and faculty of color feel unheard, underrepresented, and unsafe on our campus."
They went on to state that it was imperative to respond to the speaker’s disrespectful rhetoric, although the letter did not include any particular comments they found offensive. Bomberger mentions that the writers of the letter did not acknowledge his racial background nor the name of the special interest group that had invited him to speak at the college.
He wrote, "I am a person of color, a clarifying fact which you conveniently left out of your letter of denouncement. I was primarily presenting a perspective of those who are never heard, always underrepresented, and are actually unsafe—the unborn."
After getting in contact with Wheaton College, CBN News reports that the three students would not comment further at this time because they say Bomberger’s organization has threatened to take legal action, according to the college’s media relations department. At this time, Bomberger accuses the students of “defamation.”
Wheaton College told CBN News, "Mr. Bomberger claims he's been ignored by Wheaton's administration, but that's not the case. The Radiance Foundation e-mailed a threat to sue three college students and blind-copied a few College employees. This was followed by a second e-mail, this time addressing several employees, blind-copying a few others. At that point, Wheaton administrators reached out to the Bombergers directly to hear their concerns."
Bomberger states that his offer for a discussion has been rejected by the college.
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