Biola University apologizes for censoring pro-life student and affirms use of graphic images
LA MIRANDA, CA, August 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Biola University’s president has apologized for a school administrator threatening a student with expulsion and arrest for holding a sign showing an abortion victim and affirmed the role graphic images play in educating the public about "injustice."
The incident occurred three months ago when Diana Jimenez held a single sign with an image of an aborted baby. Jimenez had resorted to her lonely demonstration after her approved table display was shut down for displaying unapproved graphic images.
She had also been denied permission to display one sign for one hour.
The punishment didn’t end with threats of expulsion and arrest, however. The dean of Biola’s nursing department, Dr. Susan Elliott, had instructed all nursing faculty to withhold letters of recommendation for Jimenez.
That decision has also been overturned.
After apologizing privately to Jimenez, President Barry H. Corey posted online an open letter of apology to the entire pro-life movement. In it he pledged pro-life reforms in campus culture and curriculum.
“In so many ways, Diana is the kind of student with the deep Christian convictions I hoped to see when I came to Biola six years ago. In her convictions about saving the unborn, she represents what Biola is about—the desire to speak up against injustices that break the heart of God,” he wrote.
“Like Diana, Biola is and has been passionately pro-life,” he added. "We are committed to finding ways and appointing times and places on campus where information, including photographs of victims of injustice, will be displayed."
Scott Klusendorf, president of Life Training Institute, told LifeSiteNews.com, “I am extremely grateful for Biola President Barry Corey’s apology and affirmation of the proper use of abortion pictures.”
“Both should give us cause for rejoicing,” he said.
“I am also grateful for the work of Greg Cunningham in reminding pro-lifers about the importance of those images,” he added.
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Cunningham, executive director of the Center for Bioethical Reform, posted a video of the incident between Jimenez and campus security officer John Ojeisekhoba. The video drew a comparison between the incident and a speech by President Corey in which he said, “Courage is the fruit of conviction...The two must remain inseparable.”
Pro-life leaders are showering the school with accolades for its “humble” handling of the incident.
An open letter from pro-life leaders and educators praises the school saying, “Because of these extraordinary and unprecedented steps, we believe Biola deserves the wholehearted support of the pro-life community. Few Christian universities take their Biblical convictions concerning life as seriously as does Biola.”
The letter was signed by John Ensor, M.Div., president of PassionLife Ministries; Scott Klusendorf, M.A., president of Life Training Institute; and Marc T. Newman, Ph.D., president of Speaker for Life.
Dr. Newman said the university reached out to the three pro-life leaders for help and consultation in addressing what President Corey called “missteps” in the school’s response to Diana’s pro-life activism.