In March, members of the Students for Life group at Kutztown University chalked pro-life messages on the sidewalks of their campus. University officials then cleaned away the group’s messages, which read “Stop abortion” and “Life is sacred,” even though other student clubs had previously been permitted to chalk on campus.
According to the school, its policy on chalking prohibits messages “infringing upon the rights of others” and “endangering the health or safety of the university community.” However, these pro-life messages did not break any of the school’s policies, and erasing them violated the students’ First Amendment rights.
A few days later Alliance Defending Freedom backed the student group and wrote a letter to the school condemning the erasure and asking for a change in the chalking guidelines “to remove all content- and viewpoint-based restrictions” and “to protect anonymous speech.” In a surprising turn of events, officials at Kutztown responded in a statement on Monday that the university’s policy was changed to “better reflect our support of free speech.” The school even apologized for the removal of the pro-life chalk messages, claiming it was a misunderstanding. It then notified the student group that its members can continue writing pro-life chalk messages on campus.
Stories like this are incredibly encouraging! Too often, pro-life groups on high school and college campuses are refused the permission to write pro-life messages on their campus. This simple freedom falls under our First Amendment rights, yet many schools restrict their students from that freedom. This even happened to our director, Emily, when she was in college. Her Catholic college refused to permit the pro-life student group from writing any messages on campus.
This story should reassure all pro-life students out there who are worried about writing loving pro-life chalk messages on campus. Stand proud, don’t be afraid, and never back down when faced with adversity. You have the right to spread a pro-life message. If you encounter any problems, contact us, Alliance Defending Freedom, or Students for Life, and we will help you fight for your rights.