Posted May 2, 2012 by Joseph Hayes 

A Balancing Act

Mizzou Students for Life, our pro-life student organization, recently hosted the Genocide Awareness Project put on by the Center for Bio-ethical Reform. You may have had this group on your campus. For those who haven't, it is a traveling photo mural exhibit that compares abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide, such as the practices of the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. The large, graphic pictures included a separated fetus’ limb next to a quarter and a destroyed fetus lying on an adult’s palm; these were compared with pictures of lynchings and the Holocaust.

As you can expect, these pictures and their placement in a high-traffic outdoor area caused significant discontent for many student populations across campus. The event occurred in a non-union controlled area, but it did get our staff talking about how we will deal with these forms of shock programming when they do come our way.

How do we, as college union and student activities professionals, balance First Amendment rights with common sense civility and help our students understand the consequences of their actions for others?

Joseph Hayes

Joseph Hayes is the Assistant Dean of Students at Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis.

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