Pro-life students the target of vandalism, intimidation at the University of Sydney

TODAY 28 February: LifeChoice Sydney, a pro-life student club affiliated with the University of Sydney Student Union (USU), has been the target of bullying and vandalism which sets a worrying precedent for free speech on campus.

The club’s Oweek stall was vandalised overnight, with some persons or groups having torn down the booth provided by the USU as part of the opening week of the academic year.

Stickers and graffiti had also been scrawled across the stall, with statements such as “political free speech is bullshit if it extends to arseholes”, as well as other obscene and abusive words.

The trashing of the stall comes a day after a student had already vandalised the club’s banner by sticking a label sponsored by the SRC Women’s Collective. Due to the adhesive on the stickers, the club’s banner was ruined and will now have to be replaced.

“This is shocking and unacceptable behaviour”, said LifeChoice president Rebecca Elias. “LifeChoice is about engaging in rational discussion. It’s very disappointing to see people resort to bullying and vandalism to express their point of view. “

“We have online forums; we have our stall here all week for people to come talk to us; and yet none of these people bothered to speak to us straight-up about their problems.”

“It’s terrible to think that the perpetrators could be members of our own Women’s Collective – given that half of LifeChoice’s membership are women who have now been victimised for expressing their ethical views”.

Lara Early, a student who was staffing the LifeChoice stall, says “I am very concerned about the safety of myself and my friends on the stall”.

“I think this is a serious problem for the university and our union – what kind of message does this send for new students? I don’t feel safe on my own campus.”

LifeChoice intends to lodge a formal complaint to the university and with the USU, and Ms Elias calls for all students to condemn any form of attacks against free speech on campuses.

END

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  • http://www.facebook.com/johnpaul.borberg JohnPaul Borberg

    This is great, actually. Keep the stall up and sit there cheerfully surrounded by the evidence of the vandalism. It will be a strong statement, and might even get people coming up to talk to you. If you’re engaged in an ongoing debate having supporters of the opposing view making themselves look oafish is actually working to your advantage.

    • lpea5360

      They’ve still got a fair way to go before they match your oafishness.

  • Pete

    “none of these people bothered to speak to us straight-up about their problems” because in truth, they’re selfish cowards – just like any other person who under the cover of darkness vandalises things that don’t belong to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Sullivan/645709619 Mike Sullivan

    It’s an awesome sign that you have truth on your side as your opponents have no rational response.

  • Ali May

    Keep on pressing on with your goals despite the hostility! You are striking a chord! many people are so overjoyed with your presence at Sydney Uni. Bear in mind that people that hate you are probably people who have suffered themselves as a result of abortion. Woman who suffer from abortion will want to snuff out anything pro-life because of what it reminds them of.

  • Gean

    You are the witnesses to truth. Don’t be discouraged. I pray that you are all kept safe 🙂

  • Grace_

    How disappointing… I hope that the student union responds appropriately and soon.
    Keep up the good work LifeChoice!!
    There are students world-wide who wish to have clubs like this at their campus! Keep up the free speech for those whom are deprived!

  • Tony

    “political free speech is bullshit if it extends to arseholes”, would an ‘arsehole’ conduct vandalism like this? I truly don’t understand how people can want abortions after viewing abortion footage. I guess people see it as a trade off between lots of sex and having children; many people don’t want the latter, despite it being a result of the former. Maybe people should use adequate contraceptive measures, and/or not have sex until they are ready to have children. And when a child does come, it should be respected and not destroyed.

  • Brady Fill

    Yolo (fetuses/babies too)

  • lpea5360

    For those who think this works for to your advantage: I think it’s probably important to keep in mind that there are those who support your cause who take part in acts equally (or more?) embarrassing as this vandalism. If you want those who take a different stance on this issue to respect you, even though (for example) people have actually been killed in the name of your cause, grant your opponents that respect in return 🙂 Surely, (especially as Christians!) you know that one extremist does not necessarily speak for all of you. Translation: Don’t be so damn pious! :p

    • lpea5360

      P.s. Having read the comments on this page, I am personally not convinced that there are any less misinformed, angry people who can’t adequately express their argument on this side of the debate.

  • E

    screeching with laughter right now. why would anyone thing the WC gives a shit- the SRC is oficially pro choice, and the union has made it clear that they are anti choice. dont expect any SRC group to sympathise. it is downright dishonest to pin this on the womens collective- the stickers were handed out to anyone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rowanpatrick.light Rowan Light

      this isn’t a question of pro-life/pro-choice, it’s an issue of whether we want our campus to be place of rational discussion or thuggish intimidation. The WC should be concerned because they claim to represent women on campus – which include the pro-life women who were the target of this inane bullying. Furthermore, if you bother to read the article above, it’s obvious that LifeChoice isn’t blaming the WC – only that the stickers were sponsored by them, a statement of fact.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bpburnett Brendan Paul Burnett

      Looks like someone came to university without knowing what “academia” is…

  • Isaac

    You are doing a great job! Thank you for standing for LIFE!

  • Katrina Haller

    Congratulations on your stall – you have hit a raw nerve. By all means complain – at 18 y.o students are supposed to be treated like adults, the Uni needs to ask them to behave like rational adults

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