Free speech has yet again become embroiled in another scandal, this latest one taking place at California State University, Fresno. A group of anti-abortion students filed a lawsuit against a professor claiming that he has infringed on their free speech rights.
The Fresno Students for Life got permission from their university to write chalk messages outside the library. The group wrote messages ranging from “You CAN be pregnant & successful” and “Unborn lives matter” to “Women need love, NOT abortion.” The suit alleges that the professor Thatcher arrived with a group of students and proceeded to erase the message the group had inscribed on the floor. He and his students also took some of their chalk and “wrote “pro-abortion messages” on the sidewalk. These pro-choice messages included “My body, my choice” and “Your body, your choice. I (heart) you.”
The students are suing the professor because of the literal erasure of their free speech. The students say that the professor came “with a group of presumably pro-abortion students who he enlisted to wipe out the chalk display because it wasn’t in “the free speech zone.” The professor told the pro-life group to take their display over to “the free speech zone” despite the fact that they had permission from the university for the area where they were displaying the chalk messages. After the incident, the students contacted a non-profit Christian legal group, which agreed to take the case. Their lead attorney Travis Barham asserted that “Public university professors should be encouraging free speech not erasing it from existence.” and that he will be held accountable.
Kristan Hawkins, president of the Students for Life of America stated that “No students should have to endure this kind of intimidation and harassment for simply expressing their views, but especially not those who want to help the women betrayed, and the pre-born children killed, by the abortion industry.”
Although you may not agree with the views of the pro-life group, the professor’s actions were troubling. Free speech cannot be limited to specific areas, and students should have the freedom to express their views and opinions even if you don’t agree with them.