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At this point many of you are aware that late Wednesday of last week, messages that Xavier Students for Life (XUS4L) had written in chalk were destroyed. XUS4L is a chapter of Students for Life of America, which nationally sponsors Chalk Day with the goal of being a voice for pro-life students on college campuses and showing support for any pregnant or parenting students and faculty. These messages included “you are loved,” “love them both,” “a person’s a person no matter how small,” contact information for a local pregnancy center with free resources and more.
The destruction of these messages conveys to pro-life students that their voice is not welcome and, most importantly, tells women who may be in a crisis pregnancy that considering life is not a valid choice. This was the work of individuals and does not reflect the response of pro-choice activists as a whole. These actions hurt both communities. In the wake of the incident, it has been amazing to watch students and staff who hold various beliefs come together and work to establish free speech for all.
For that, we are truly grateful.
When we discovered what had happened, we had a mix of reactions. Some of us cried, some were angry, some were afraid of hosting future events and some had trouble sleeping. Despite the intended harm, we will continue our mission. As a Xavier community, we must come together and maintain our university’s culture, ensuring that students are not afraid to express their most cherished values and beliefs. As a community, we strive to be “all for one, one for all.” We come from different backgrounds and experiences, but we all gather to “learn together, serve together and succeed in changing the world together.” This is our way of changing the world and serving our community. You may view service differently, have a different set of beliefs or choose different ways to change the world, but we hope that we can use these events to establish a newfound respect for everyone’s different passions and campus involvement — as respect and love are the Xavier way.
We, as a board, are four women studying in four very different fields. We are your classmates, co-workers, friends and fellow Musketeers. We are women who love and support everyone on this campus. We identify as pro-life and feel a responsibility to create a culture of life at Xavier, in Cincinnati, in our hometowns and in the United States.
We want to be able to spread messages of love and encouragement and to remind women and men that we care for them and will be there in moments of fear and uncertainty, no matter what. We want to stand in solidarity with women and couples who find themselves in crisis pregnancies. However, if messages of love are being erased, then that solidarity is erased from the community and creates a barrier not only to our right to freedom of expression but also to sharing potentially life-changing resources.
We’d like to thank our Xavier community — faculty, administration, Student Government Association, Student Involvement and Musketeers — who have openly expressed that this vandalism is wrong and that our voices are welcome, although they are different. We would also like to openly thank all those who have helped with the investigation.
To our community members who participated in the vandalism, we would like you to know that even though we are hurt, we love you. If at any point you would like to engage in a dialogue with us, you are welcome to.
Finally, to our club members and other pro-life students, especially our first-years, we would like to thank you for your courage and to remind you that although our mission may not always be an easy road, our goal is in sight.
If anyone is facing an unplanned pregnancy, Pregnancy Center East in Cincinnati provides free resources, including STD tests and ultrasounds. You can contact them at (513) 321-3100. At any time, students are welcome to reach out to us through firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome all with open arms, whether you need resources or a friend to talk to.
This piece was written jointly by the executive board of Xavier Students for Life, which is comprised of Anna Gayford, Mikaela Grosz, Kennedy Borchardt and Lily Hutkowski.
Categories: Opinions & Editorials