Police officers at Utah State University forced four students to sweep and wash away chalk messages expressing opposition to abortion which they had temporarily inscribed onto the campus pavement.
The incident occurred on Thursday at the taxpayer-funded school in Ogden, Utah, according to a firsthand report at Students for Life of America.
The four Utah State students were participating in National Pro-Life Chalk Day, an event sponsored by several anti-abortion groups. The specific point of the national day is to encourage pro-life students to write chalk messages on campuses encouraging other students to adopt pro-life views.
On Thursday night, the four Utah State students ventured out on the public school campus to write chalk messages.
“Our school is a public university and I frequently see messages chalked across campus,” one of the students, Melissa, explained. “Messages announcing activities, random pictures, etc.”
The student recalled that a club handed out chalk last years “and people were drawing all over the sidewalks.”
The four anti-abortion students sketched their temporary chalk message.
“We drew 897 hearts (the number of Planned Parenthood aborted babies) with a big banner across the top saying ‘say no to abortion’ and #defundpp around the bottom. Then we wrote pro-life quotes from Dr. Suess, Mother Theresa, etc.,” Melissa recounted. “I have to say it was way cool.”
Melissa said she wasn’t worried about getting into trouble “because a campus security car was parked nearby” and “a campus cop drove over it” — presumably the chalk imagery — “while we were still there.”
As the students were leaving their transitory chalk art, however, a campus cop approached and asked if the students had permission to mark with colorful, fleeting dust on the sidewalk.
Chalk markings on campus sidewalks are nothing short of vandalism, the cop charged, according to Melissa.
“He told us that chalk isn’t allowed, that it is a big problem and that people would be offended by our message,” Melissa narrated. “He told us that we needed to clean it up and took down our ID numbers. We were very polite, and told him if we needed to, we would go get brooms and clean up our art.”
Melissa said the unidentified cop further told her he worried that the abortion proponents might post images of the anti-abortion art online and it could “become a big deal.”
And so the four students next drove over to a local Walmart and purchased two brooms. When they arrived back at the chalk markings, Melissa claimed, “there were four cop cars around our drawings, guarding it as if we they were guarding a crime scene.”
The students swept for about 40 minutes, taking turns, Melissa said. Eventually, a campus maintenance worker showed up with a water hose. The students then used to jet away the remnants of their anti-abortion art.
“It was interesting to me that when the facilities man was helping us with the hose he asked us what we had drawn that got the cops so riled up,” Melissa said she observed. “It was apparent that they don’t usually get called to clean up chalk.”
“We were let go and didn’t have any charges against us (though one officer told us we might be charged for the cost of the facilities guy coming),” Melissa said.
“I felt like we were treated unfairly,” she also complained. “The feeling my friends and I received from the officers was that our message was offensive and that is why we had to clean it up. I was under the impression that we were all entitled to our own opinions and freedom of speech and expression.”
Students for Life of America has indicated that it will consult with attorneys to determine its response to the action by the Utah State campus police.
The very bottom the National Pro-Life Chalk Day website homepage asks participating students to send emails and photos “immediately” “if your pro-life messages are vandalized or your group experiences trouble with administration.”
Attacks on anti-abortion displays at America’s colleges and universities don’t usually involve the cops as the harassers but they are not uncommon. (RELATED: Watch This Unhinged Bully Stomp All Over Pro-Life Signs At Ohio State)
Just this week, for example, a group of students at American University labeling themselves the “AU Justice League” ripped down anti-abortion flyers on campus and then bragged about their feat of speech suppression on social media. (RELATED: College Students Rip Down Pro-Life Flyers, Then Brag On Twitter)
Ironically, just two weeks ago, AU’s faculty senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning the use of “trigger warnings” and emphasizing the important of freely exchanging ideas on university campuses.
Last year at the University of California, Santa Barbara, feminist porn professor Mireille Miller-Young was arrested after she seized an anti-abortion display from a protester and then — along with a small armada of angry abortion-loving students — destroyed it. (RELATED: Feminist Prof Now Claims ‘MORAL RIGHT’ To Attack 16-Year-Old Abortion Foe, Destroy Sign)