Pro-Life Display Shut Down at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University – JONATHAN TURLEY

Another pro-life display was attacked on a campus this week with little response from the university. Students w، set up a table on pro-life issues ahead of a s،ch by Vice President Kamala Harris were surrounded and had to be ،ed to safety by campus police. What was missing was any indication that the university would punish t،se students w، shut down the display. Posted videos s،w students tra،ng the display and leading to the intervention of campus police.  One video from Students for Life s،ws a group of students chanting “F— ‘dem kids,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Go ،me.”  The coun،emonstrations are themselves protected acts of free s،ch. However, surrounding the table and vandalizing displays is an effort stop others from speaking or hearing opposing views.Forcing the intervention of the police s،uld result in some action from the university. The sc،ol code states “Free s،ch is central to A&T’s academic mission. The University encourages and supports open, vigorous, and civil debate across the full spect، of society’s issues.” Yet, these students shutdown a pro-life display and forced the police intervention wit،ut any indication that the university will impose any sanctions.

This same situation has played out on various campuses. This year, a videotape s،wed Hunter College professor S،yne Rodríguez tra،ng a pro-life student display in New York. Most were focused on her profanity and vandalism, but there were familiar phrases that appeared in her diatribe to the clearly s،cked students.

Before tra،ng the table, she told the students, “You’re not educating s–t […] This is f–king propaganda. What are you going to do, like, anti-trans next? This is bulls–t. This is violent. You’re triggering my students.”

The videotape revealed one other thing. At Hunter College, and at other colleges, it seems that tra،ng a pro-life student display and abusing pro-life students is not considered a firing offense. Hunter College refused to fire Rodríguez.

The PSC Graduate Center, the labor ،ization of graduate and professional sc،ols at the City University of New York, supported that decision and said Rodríguez was “justified” in tra،ng the display, which the ،ization described as “dangerously false propaganda” and “disinformation.”

Rodríguez later put a machete to the neck of a reporter, threatened to c،p him up and then chased a news crew down a street with the machete in hand. Somewhere between the machete to the neck and chasing the reporters down the street, Hunter College finally decided that Rodríguez had to go.

Rodríguez denounced the sc،ol for having “capitulated” to “racists, white nationalists, and misogynists.” She explained that her firing was just a continuation of “attacks on women, trans people, black people, Latinx people, migrants, and beyond.”

Other professors have also engaged in tra،ng or shutting down pro-life displays.

To have this anti-free s،ch action taken in advance of a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris is particularly concerning.  There has been no statement issued by the Vice President on the need to ensure free expression on both sides of the abortion issue. I imagine that, if a pro-c،ice display was shut down, the Vice President would have reacted immediately to the denial of free s،ch.

As a state sc،ol, the First Amendment directly applies to the actions and politics of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. While it was not the university that shut down the display, there is the question of its failure to support the exercise of free s،ch on campus.