Anti-abortion display towers over Kellogg Plaza, sparks student counter-protest


Rebecca Sykes, Sports Editor

A dozen protesters demonstrated against an on-campus anti-abortion presentation prompted by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform on Tuesday, Sept. 13.


The Lake Forest, CA-based advocacy group informed CSUSM officials last week that the group wanted to share a presentation for students entitled “Genocide Awareness Project.” This was the organization’s first visit to CSUSM.


The project organizers put up a giant display in Kellogg Plaza of images of fetuses, effects of abortion and images of historical genocides.


Sophomore Rachel Walters said she was disturbed by the presentation.


“When I walked by this, I was personally disgusted by the trivialization of the different genocides that have happened in different countries,” Walters said. “I really don’t agree with this. I think it is spreading false information and propaganda and spreading bigotry across campus.”


The Genocide Awareness Project has been presented on college campuses throughout the U.S. and Canada since 1998. This group’s website says its goal is to challenge college students’ thoughts about abortion.


Students were informed by email from the university about the graphic images that were to be displayed.


“When we knew this was going to be happening, we wanted to let students, faculty and staff know in advance because obviously with the visual nature, it may have caused some concerns [and] grief for students, faculty and staff,” Associate Vice President for Communications Cathy Carothers Baur said.


CSUSM Student Health and Counseling Services set up a table near the display for students to provide discussion about their health care options.


“We are here [at the presentation] just to be more available for students in response to the display that is on campus. Just want to let them know there is support available,” Health Educator Cathy Nguyen said.


On Tuesday, Sept. 13, a dozen members of the campus Feminists Unite group held up signs and chanted a protest.


“We wanted to especially provide a different message,” protester Tina Givens said. “The fact that the images are posted, it has the potential to be shaming and trivering for a lot of the student body. So we wanted to make sure we presented a counter-argument and just support for women or men who were triggered by the images today.”


Protester Emma Wallace-Potts agreed with Givens’s statement.


“I just want women to know that they are supported and their right to choose whether they want an abortion whether they don’t support abortion, I think that is an individual right. Nobody can tell you what is right for you,” said Wallace-Potts said.


Wallace-Potts said she saw the images as shocking.


“I saw this first thing in the morning and I thought this was a little extreme and I support the right for free speech and I do think it is a way of shoving a certain viewpoint down the throats of others that is skewed to one side,” she said.


Genocide Awareness Project will be at Palomar College on Sept. 14. For more information on the Genocide Awareness Project, students and faculty can visit: