Pro-life display defaced on campus

By Mo Juenger and Hunter Ellis, Print and Multimedia Managing Editors

An LED display reading “Pro Woman, Pro Life,” co-sponsored by two Xavier clubs, appeared outside Hailstones Hall around 8 p.m. Wednesday night. By 2 a.m., the signage had been defaced. 

The display featured balloons and signage from Xavier’s chapters of Students for Life (S4L) and the Network of Enlightened Women (NeW). The signage also displayed the name of national organization Feminists for Life, which does not have a chapter on Xavier’s campus. 

Newswire photo by Hunter Ellis

According to the event details on EngageXU, the display was posted during a joint event from 7-9 p.m., hosted by S4L and NeW. 

“Students for life and NeW are partnering for an evening memorial to honor the lives of unborn children lost to abortion and to hear more about what ‘pro-woman is pro-life’ means from Brenna Lewis,” the event description read.

The event was attended by over 30 students. A member of the group requested that members notify a S4L officer if they saw anybody attempting to dismantle or vandalize their display. 

Last night’s incident has already been reported to the Bias Advisory and Response Team (BART), which currently has no full-time chair and four open seats. Two interim chairs, Title IX and Interpersonal Violence Coordinator Kate Lawson and English professor Dr. Lisa Odom, currently lead the force. 

XUPD was dispatched to the scene of the vandalism at 3:26 a.m. and arrived at approximately 3:35 a.m. 

The responding officer declined to provide an official comment but noted that there were no cameras surveying the site of the incident. 

As of 3:40 a.m., two XUPD officers were in the process of reassembling the display.

This incident is not the first act of vandalism on Xavier’s campus in recent years, nor is it the first act specifically targeting pro-life groups on campus. 

In October 2018, S4L created a chalk display that was subsequently erased by a group of students using hot water.

The current president of S4L, Carson Rayhill — then a first-year member of the club — hoped the messages would “inspire a respect for life and all types of people with loving and encouraging messages.”

Dubbed “Messages of Love” by the organization, a few of the photographed chalk phrases read: “Two heartbeats, both matter” and “Pregnancy center helps…” Many of the messages became unreadable after the vandalism. 

A report was filed to BART in 2018. The group investigated the incident, but it was not identified as a bias incident. Rather, BART deferred the incident to the dean of students and the conduct process. 

“While inappropriate and hurtful, the incident has to do more with ideological disagreement,” BART stated.