I I am writing on behalf of the Zags for Life club in response to the email sent by Robin Kelly on October 15th. On October 4, the Zags for Life club asked to hold an event on Foley Lawn in front of the John J. Hemmingson Center.
This description was given for the event: “a small display of crosses on the ground to commemorate those who lost their lives before birth. We will have a table to discuss the issue of abortion with the students.
Gonzaga University has officially approved this activity on Zagtivities.
On October 13, the event was organized by the club as described; more specifically, the crosses were representative of the average number of abortions performed daily by Planned Parenthood facilities. Members of the Zags for Life club were present from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to engage in a respectful dialogue with student volunteers on the morality of the prevalence of abortion.
Around noon another group of students gathered and started shouting at club members and passers-by: “my body, my choice”, “hey hey, ho ho, your retrograde views must go”, ” no f * ***** uterus, no opinion f ****** “and” keep your rosaries away from our ovaries “. The screams, which continued until the end of the event, prevented discussions with other passing students. Members of Zags for Life remained present at the display without shouting in response.
In the email sent to all campuses on October 15, Robin Kelley, the university’s diversity manager, twisted what happened on Wednesday. Kelley described both the approved Zags for Life display and the business of the other students as “demonstration” and “counter-demonstration”. On Zagtivities, the activity was not characterized as an event, but as a social event aimed at promoting respectful dialogue on this important moral issue.
Kelley’s description of the events of October 13 as “Protest” and a “counter-protest” falsely portrayed what happened across the university on Wednesday. It is quite incorrect to use the same word “demonstration” to describe the very different activities of the two parties involved. We understand that BIAS cases will take time to resolve and discuss, but in the meantime, in the interest of the public, we ask Kelley, who has spoken on behalf of the university and the BIAS response team, to publicly retract and / or clarify the previous email or at least acknowledge receipt of this statement of facts.
The language of the university gives the impression that Zags for Life did something intentionally to upset our peers or something against the Catholic, Jesuit and humanist values of the university. It is evident that those who Bulldog Alley’s opposite side were angry and offended, but they were not provoked by any actions or words from the Zags for Life club, but apparently by the posting which pointed to factual elements of Planned Parenthood statistics aimed at eliciting a civil discussion. Kelley’s email was vague in this regard and implied that Zags for Life had done something wrong or huge without providing any details. We are fully prepared and eager to defend in detail how we have acted in the context of licensing the university and promoting the stated values of the university.
Several students have expressed their support through online petitions for the establishment of pro-choice and sex education clubs on campus. To be clear, Zags for Life has no authority over such matters. These decisions are in the hands of those responsible for the supervision of Catholic education: Mgr Daly and GU.
In closing, the Zags for Life club wishes to reaffirm our commitment to the women of this campus. We promote health care resources for young families and pregnant women and we never want to shame women who have had abortions. In addition, no woman should be punished for having an abortion; nothing in our posting made a statement about the women who chose to have an abortion.
We believe in respecting the dignity of every human person and in encouraging discussion on issues related to human dignity. Robin Kelley’s unintentionally inaccurate or biased statement has undermined to the public our ability to fulfill our club’s mission. Therefore, we respectfully request a public correction and clarification of the university email.