A Christian affiliated college has banned the display of crosses to mark the victims of abortion, calling the gesture “divisive.”
According to The College Fix, Rocky Mountain College in Montana denied the campus group “Young Americans for Freedom” from erecting the memorial. “I didn’t think it was really going to be a problem at all,” said Emily Kokot, treasurer and secretary for the group, noting that for the past few years, an affiliated group would put up a “9/11 memorial where we put flags up on the ground on the campus outside.”
However, Dean of Student Life Brad Nason believes that this is a far more controversial issue and told Kokot that the school must “draw the line at public displays of divisive topics.”
“We have effectively eliminated every student’s ability to choose to engage or not engage with that issue,” Nason added, noting concern that the mere presence of the display could signify a college endorsement.
Adam Goldstein, program officer in FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, told The Fix that this notion is completely ridiculous.
“I think the idea that people can’t separate out actions of college students from actions of a college is naive,” he explained. “I think we all know that college students engage in activism and no one is confused that institutions are enthusiastic necessarily about every protester who shows up on campus.”
Kolkot explained how the controversy began after she emailed Nason to request permission for the memorial. “You and the YAF group are welcome to table around the issues, engage students in discussions, provide guest lecturers, films, programs, etc., but we cannot approve this specific request,” he replied.
When Kolkot pushed back, Nason insisted that “the pro-life/pro-choice debate is incredibly divisive” and that “a public display is confrontational.”
Kolkot added that when YAF asked to erect a display on the issue of border security last year, Nason was “actually very supportive of the idea and even offered to help us transport materials and stuff if we needed.”
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