Classic Signals: Students react to pro-life protest

By Emmy Liederman
Columnist

TCNJ Students for Life planted blue and pink flags across green lawn last April in a displayed titled The Graveyard of Innocents. Each flag represented 10 fetuses that had been aborted in New Jersey in the past month. This display caused an uproar among pro-choice students, who decided to vandalize the display and post a video of the vandalization on social media.

Campus demonstrations can anger students with opposing opinions. (Photo Courtesy of The TCNJ Digital Archive)

The pro-life group fought back, arguing that the vandalization was an infringement on their freedom of speech. In an April 2002 issue of The Signal, a “shouting match” between students and Survivor, a pro-life youth ministry, was documented as a contested issue. Sixteen years later, abortion still remains a highly-controversial issue at the College.

The campus community was confronted by signs and pictures used by members of Survivor, a pro-life youth ministry, that came to the College last Tuesday.

Survivor arrived on campus shortly after 10 a.m. and left shortly after 2 p.m. after a group of students in front of the Brower Student Center engaged in a shouting match with adviser Cheryl Conrad and Kathy Benskin, a chapter leader from Dayton, Ohio.

“I am very mad at this,” Mike Young, freshman biology major, said. “It’s a gross exaggeration of the truth. They are so sure they’re right, they force their views on people who don’t want them. It’s an exaggeration of the truth and constitutes propaganda. They are using shock value.”

However, members of Survivor felt the campus was open to their message.

“We got here around 10:30, and students have been fairly receptive,” Benskin said. According to group members, it’s the last 30 minutes that are the worst.

“By then, most people have found out that we’re here,” Benskin said.

Six members of Survivor, which is based in Southern California, came to the College to “inform people about the truth of this issue, so if they are to make decisions, they are informed about it,” Keith Mason, chapter leader from Denver, said.

Some students were angered by the posters the Survivor members were carrying around. One was a large picture of an aborted fetus with the words “Choice is Abortion,” and the other compared abortions to the Holocaust, saying, “Hitler’s Holocaust, America’s Holocaust.”