During the predawn hours of April 20, Western Kentucky University student Elaina Smith desecrated a display that had been erected by pro-life group Hilltoppers for Life by draping condoms over each of the 3,700 crosses that had been constructed to memorialize the number of children killed each day by abortion in the U.S.
Hilltoppers had received permission from the university for their display.
But when members of the group called campus police to stop Smith, they came but stood by, claiming they “couldn’t do anything because the condoms aren’t actually vandalization.”
Smith said the condoms were part of an art project. WBKO reported “[h]er Art Professor, Kristina Arnold, says she did not disprove of the idea and that she encourages learning.”
The WBKO story (which includes video of Smith desecrating the display) added Smith had apologized for her actions, but she has not. Last night Students for Life of America was forwarded this email from Smith:
From: “Smith, Elaina, C”
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3:11 PM
Subject: Elaina Smith
During the week of April 16th, the Hilltoppers for Life’s pro-life display remained un-interrupted. The student body tolerated this intrusion without major incident. The voice of the pro-life community was heard. On the last day of this event, I attempted to add to the visual dialogue with my own voice and was met with strong resistance. I take this subject very seriously, and had hoped to remind people of the effectiveness of condoms and other forms of contraception in preventing unwanted pregnancies. I do not ask that everyone agree with my point of view or the way in which I tried to express it. However, I stand by my actions. I do not believe that I impeded anyone else’s freedom of expression. I did not break any laws. I did not damage any property. I voluntarily removed the condoms even though I was not required to do so. At the time, I thought that the matter had ended there. I do not feel that I should apologize for attempting to exercise the freedoms that we all are entitled to.
This morning Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter to WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell on behalf of Hilltoppers, expressing hope to “resolve this matter amicably” but listing stipulations for that to happen, including public apologies from Smith and the head of campus security, assurances that Smith would not get credit for her “visual dialogue,” and disclosure of who purchased and supplied Smith with the condoms.
ADF also requested all university documents that discussed Hilltoppers and Elaina Smith’s involvement in Kristina Arnold’s art class from January 1, 2012 to present.