WASHINGTON, D.C., April 22, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A school-sanctioned memorial display for victims of abortion at George Washington University was the target of several acts of vandalism by supporters of abortion last week, according to a report at Breitbart.com.
The GWU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (GW YAF) sponsored the display on April 17, consisting of dozens of white crosses pushed into the grass on the mid-campus quad beside a sign that read, “In memory of the lives lost each year by abortion.” The group says it went through official university channels to reserve the space and received permission to promote their message.
Because the GW YAF students sponsoring the memorial had classes to attend, they were not able to constantly monitor the display. However, each time a member of the group went by to check on it, they found some new act of vandalism.
First, someone defaced their sign, taping the word “saved” over the word “lost” so that the sign appeared to support abortion. GW YAF removed the unauthorized addition, but when they returned to the memorial, they found that the sign had been removed altogether and stuffed into a nearby trash can. Soon, competing signs were posted on a bench across the quad reading: “Instead of shaming women for getting abortions, educate them about contraception.” Those signs were later removed because the university had not approved them.
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While a spokesman for GW YAF said the university was “supportive” of their ongoing attempts to keep the display free of further vandalism, they said that there is an overall atmosphere of intolerance for conservative viewpoints that was only highlighted by the attacks on the pro-life display. The group called on campus officials to publicly condemn the vandals and force them to attend free speech sensitivity training, and said they planned to pursue legal action if necessary.
“George Washington University claims to take diversity very seriously – but liberal students don't seem to have gotten the message,” said GW YAF spokeswoman Gabby Morrongiello in a statement. “In the recent past, members of GW YAF have been verbally assaulted and harassed (even being told they deserved ‘a special place in Hell’) for bringing speakers like Phyllis Schlafly to campus and framed for hateful fliers hung by students deliberately trying to smear the organization. The vandalism of GW YAF's abortion memorial is yet another example of the continuing pattern of intolerance for conservatism at GW.”
“The attacks against GW YAF and our memorial underscores the intolerant atmosphere on campus,” GW YAF President Emily Jashinsky said. “If the university does not act, they are in fact allowing this atmosphere to fester and grow.”
“It is sad that liberal students on campus cannot engage in a debate, and instead resort to destroying the property of those they disagree with,” Jashinsky added.
GW YAF political affairs director Amanda Robbins told The College Fix, “The event was intended to have GW’s community think and ponder about the lives that never had a chance, and to remind the community of the sanctity of life.”
“Whether students agreed with our bold statement or not,” Robbins said, “I hope it made them consider those lives that never had an opportunity at life.”