CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Some students at the campus of UNCCharlotte are expressing outrage at anti-abortion protesters sharing graphic images on campus this week.
A group called the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform set up displays of its Genocide Awareness Project on Wednesday and Thursday.
The displays included photos of what they say are aborted fetuses, equating abortion with genocide.
The group also visited other schools across the state, including UNC Chapel Hill this week.
Some students on campus say they were horrified by the footage and say they were heckled and faced aggressive behavior from protesters.
Campus senior Hollie Mitchel said the images were disturbing and bizarre.
“Comparing abortion to the holocaust and comparing abortion to the genocide of Native Americans,” Mitchel said. “They were trying to get flyers into people’s hands. At one point, as I was walking around taking photos, I overheard them using racial slurs against a few students of color.
Student Phoenix Riesing said she was so dismayed that she called the campus security hotline.
“They want to tell us it’s their First Amendment right,” Riesing said.
In a statement, a UNC Charlotte spokesperson told WBTV:
“The Genocide Awareness Project was not invited to campus by UNC Charlotte, and its views do not represent those of the university, The Center for Bioethical Reform, an external organization, has reserved space on campus for GAP. The group regularly visits university and college campuses in the United States and Canada.
UNC Charlotte is a public university and has the responsibility and legal obligation to respect freedom of expression, including the right of outside organizations to reserve space on our campuses. The University has established protocols to create and maintain an environment where freedom of speech and expression is supported regardless of the speaker’s point of view.
University leaders are aware of the harassment allegations circulating on social media. However, no police reports or incident reports substantiating behavior that would constitute unprotected speech have been received at this time. Staff representatives were present with the GAP group and against the demonstrators during the event. Counselors from the Counseling and Psychological Services Center were also present during part of the exhibition.
Dr. John Cox, a professor who teaches Holocaust, genocide and human rights studies at UNCC, disagrees.
“The First Amendment and freedom of speech doesn’t really mean that everyone has the right to say or do whatever they want in any place,” Dr. Cox said. “If that’s what it meant, then I guess the UNCC should invite the Klan and the Nazi Party to come and put on a gigantic exhibition for three days.”
He said emails from traumatized students were pouring in alleging behavior by protesters, including racial slurs.
It calls for action.
“I think someone should be fired for what happened yesterday is too much,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform told WBTV:
“We were on campus with our team for two days, which has been our practice for 2 decades. We reserve the third day as a backup plan in case of bad weather. We had good weather, so we were at the UNCC on Wednesday and Thursday, as planned.
Everywhere we go, pro-abortion students and professors try to change the subject with false accusations. They see an inconvenient truth that they don’t like and call it bullying. The bullies, unable to justify the beheading and dismemberment of tiny human beings, attempt to suppress the horrifying evidence of their brutality. These gimmicks don’t work because we aggressively defend our right, and the right of all citizens, to speak out in public without being censored by an anarchic mob.
The pro-abortion bullies trying (unsuccessfully) to get us off campus should be asked to answer a simple question: If abortion is too horrible to watch, how can it be okay? »
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