Johns Hopkins University’s Student Government Association has denied Voice for Life [an anti-abortion student group] status as a recognized student group, for two reasons: VFL’s website links to other organizations that display graphic images of aborted babies. And VFL plans to engage in peaceful, quiet “sidewalk counseling” outside a local abortion clinic, which the SGA considers “harassment.”
Hopkins’ student conduct code enjoins students “to protect the university as a forum for the free expression of ideas.”…
Suppose such SGA-recognized student groups as the Arab Students Organization, the Black Student Union, the Hopkins Feminists or the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance were to link their websites to provocative outside organizations, or were to counsel people not to patronize firms with policies those groups oppose. Would the SGA want to deny them recognition as student groups? Of course not. Obviously, the SGA has acted to express animus against the content of VFL’s speech, and to protect students from the discomfort of disagreement.
… [A]n SGA member says pro-life demonstrations make her feel “personally violated, targeted and attacked at a place where we previously felt safe and free to live our lives.” If encountering ideas she does not share makes her feel this way, she is unsuited to a proper academic setting. She may, however, be suited to Hopkins, which should be embarrassed, if it still can be.
Hopkins’ institutional intolerance would be boring were it simply redundant evidence of academia’s commitment to diversity in everything but thought. It is, however, indicative of the increasingly extreme ambitions and tactics of those operating under the anodyne rubric of “choice.”
~ George Will, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 6
Note: The Thomas More Law Center is now helping the pro-life group.
[Photo via Voice for Life]