Campus, News

Pro-life group evokes strong reactions from CSULB students

By Celeste Huecias and Richard Grant

Long Beach State students were upset by the display from The Genocide Awareness Project, an anti-abortion group, at the free speech lawn Wednesday and Thursday.

The demonstrators displayed images of premature and unborn fetuses as well as victims of the holocaust. Many students were upset that they had to look at these pictures on their way to class and were concerned for their fellow schoolmates. 

“I’m pretty upset, it’s pretty horrific,” said first-year marine biology major Camren Powell. “I think it’s unfair for anyone that might be sensitive to these images.” 

Some students, like fourth-year health science major, Nick Delgadillo, said that there is a right place and a right time to display these images, but this was not the time or place to do so. 

The signs and imagery expressed the idea that abortion is genocide and compared it to the holocaust. This comparison outraged students, especially Jewish students, as the demonstration took place on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday. 

One student, Seth Segal, a third-year marine biology major, thought this comparison was complete nonsense. 

“It’s incredibly offensive to me that they would compare my ancestors’ suffering and my ancestors’ death to something that is not even remotely similar,” Segal said. “It really hurts me inside, but it’s the Jewish day of forgiveness, so I guess I forgive these people for their stupidity.” 

Students questioned whether or not the university should be allowing demonstrations like these on campus. Jeff Cook, vice president of strategic communications for CSULB said that all demonstrators must follow regulations that the school has put in place.

“Off-campus groups may request to come to campus,” Cook said. “The university must support the right to freedom of speech for all groups, even when some members of our community might disagree with their perspectives or find their expression objectionable.”

Some students thought that GAP’s demonstration was a good way to inform students about how free speech works. 

“I feel that everyone should express their point of view,” said first-year biochemistry major, Julia Dava. “You might not agree with it, but everyone is different and this prepares you for real life because you are just going to deal with people that don’t agree with you.”

Students created pro-choice signs as a reaction to the demonstration. The Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Student Association handed out pamphlets and others expressed their opinions to the demonstrators. 

Whether students agreed or disagreed with the views of GAP, many used their freedom of speech as a protest to the demonstration.

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