By Hunter Ellis and Tyler Clifton, Multimedia Managing Editor and Staff Writer
A series of counter-protests and incidents of vandalism have transpired the past 36 hours in response to a pro-life display erected by Xavier’s chapters of Students for Life (S4L) and Network of Enlightened Women (NeW).
The first incident of vandalism occurred on Wednesday night sometime before 2 a.m. XUPD was dispatched at 3:26 a.m. and responded to the incident at 3:35 a.m. by reassembling the display.
By 9 a.m. the next morning, however, the signs were taken down again. S4L responded to this incident themselves, reassembling the signs around 10 a.m.
At approximately 2:45 p.m., two students — junior nursing major Sophia Edelman and sophomore psychology major Lauren Schlosser — placed signs with pro-choice messages beside the original display.
Some of the signs read “Mind your own uterus,” “You’re pro-life until the baby is poor, transgender, Black, gay, Mexican, disabled, sick…” and “Pro-life is not pro-women.”
“Women… have rights to their own bodies. So I’m putting off the signs because if they want to put out huge signs, so can we,” Edelman said.
“I feel it’s very important for people who do believe in pro-choice to start standing up and counter-arguing with people.” Schlosser added.
Subsequently, members of S4L contacted XUPD, and Officer Wesley Miller was dispatched to investigate the situation. He later removed the counter-protest signs at 5:20 p.m.
According to Associate Director of Student Involvement Dustin Lewis, the pro-choice signs were removed because they were not approved by the Office of Student Involvement, whereas the S4L display received approval from Wednesday at 7 p.m. to Friday at 7 p.m.
Around 7:30 last night, the display was again vandalized, with students allegedly stealing some of the letters and taking them back to their dorms. After this incident, the sign read “pro-man, pro-lie”.
After an investigation throughout the night, XUPD identified the students who stole the missing letters and Sgt. Robert Young returned them to S4L. The organization then reassembled the display at 11 a.m. today.
“It’s unfortunate that our pro-woman, pro-life display has been the target of repeated vandalism. It is an attempt to marginalize pro-life voices, but it is also a blatant attack on the pro-life values of our Jesuit, Catholic university. It points to a broken culture at Xavier, one that can only be fixed with love and understanding,” a statement from S4L president Carson Rayhill read.
“XUPD is conducting an on-going investigation and at present has no additional comment. Anyone with additional information should contact XUPD at (513) 745-2000 non-emergency, using the Guardian Application, or anonymously through Ethics Point hotline or webpage EthicsPoint – Xavier University,” XUPD Chief of Police Robert Warfel said.