GRAPHIC: Hundreds protest pro-life display on University of Arizona campus
Students claim photos were so disturbing, emergency counseling had to be set up
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Hundreds of University of Arizona students staged a counter-demonstration Thursday after a pro-life display went up on campus a day earlier.
The students said their biggest concern was, what they called, “graphic” content in the pro-life display.
″Using that kind of graphic imagery and confronting people with that in a way that they physically cannot avoid because it’s lining a corridor that leads to several classrooms,” said student Allienna Nezelek. “Children can see that, people who have been exposed to those tragedies can see that without consent and that’s not okay.”
On the other side, the group that put up the display feels like the images are necessary to make their point.
″What is worse than people being upset is the dismemberment and the decapitation of innocent human beings,” stated Abra Singleton, Southwest Regional Director of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.
The students marched around the mall for hours, chanted, and held signs promoting pro-choice. The students said the display is so disturbing they set up emergency counseling at the Women and Gender Resource Center.
″Yesterday we had over 30 people in the center who were triggered by the display and were in crisis,” said Lilly Arthur, a student who works at the resource center.
The group behind the display is the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. They’ve created similar displays at other universities across the country.
″Because many of our signs were egged and three of our volunteers were hit with eggs, including my dad. He was hit in the head with an egg. The police here decided to put their own barricade around this,” Singleton explained.
Aside from the display, several students reported that someone from the pro-life side – unprovoked - yelled several slurs at students.
Singleton said “We had a volunteer who signed a form that we have all volunteers signs that says how they will conduct themselves and when we found out that certain words were used, we told him yesterday that he could not return.”
The group says it has followed all of the regulations to set up on campus, but many of the students have called on President Robbins and the Dean of Students to make those regulations stronger.
″The main issue and why we’re writing the petition is, based on the regulations, there’s nothing against them doing this whatsoever. We want to make it so that someone can’t put photos of genocides on campus like that. That’s not safe. That’s not an environment for learning,” said Nezelek.
13 News reached out the University of Arizona for a statement on the display and the students’ concerns, but we have not heard back.
A warning that viewers may find some of images graphic or disturbing.
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