UNC Feminists Abort Free Speech
When a new Women’s Resource Center was established at my university (UNC-Wilmington) I was concerned that it would serve as more of a resource for feminists professors than for female students. I also suspected that the Center would try to advance a “prochoice” agenda with little tolerance for the views of prolife advocates. Recently, those suspicions were confirmed.
During a recent visit to their webpage, I noticed that the Women’s Resource Center claimed a dedication to education and advocacy on a variety of issues facing women of “all backgrounds, beliefs, and orientations.” The Center also claimed an interest in working with many community-based organizations and in maintaining “clear lines of communication” between the students and “any organizations involved.”
Nonetheless, when I clicked on the portion of the website which provides links to community organizations, I noticed that contact information for Planned Parenthood, a “prochoice” organization was posted, while contact information for Life Line, a “prolife” center, was conspicuously absent.
Without hesitation, I contacted the site’s manager with a simple request for the Center to add contact information for Life Line in close proximity to the contact information for Planned Parenthood. After being directed to Dr. Kathleen Berkeley, I repeated that request. Dr. Berkeley was one of the professors who pushed for the establishment of the Women’s Resource Center. She was also placed in charge of the Center until its first official director assumes her duties in July of 2002. After a few days of deliberation which included a meeting with the Dean, Dr. Berkeley denied my request stating that “the addition of Life Line Pregnancy Center would duplicate information provided by Planned Parenthood.”
Of course, there is no “non-duplication requirement” for organizations posting information on the Center’s webpage. For example, two of the community organizations on their site offer rape crisis counseling. Certainly, no reasonable person could object to that kind of “duplication.” Imagine, hypothetically, that someone wanted to build a second domestic violence shelter in town. Certainly, the Women’s Center would not deny a request to post their contact information because they already had information on another such shelter.
Dr. Berkeley’s supposed “non-duplication” standard is both non-existent and unworkable. It is also utterly inapplicable to the case at hand. The differences between Life Line and Planned Parenthood are far greater than their similarities. The decision to keep Life Line’s information away from students is yet another silly episode which reveals the fundamental dishonesty of the University’s so-called commitment to diversity. It is no accident that the university library has a copy of Planned Parenthood’s response to Bernard Nathanson’s Silent Scream although they do not have a copy of the Silent Scream itself. The university library also houses a book by Dr. Berkeley which refers to the Silent Scream as “grisly sensationalism.” It would appear that the university would rather have their students read reviews offered from one perspective than to have students look at the original and assume the risk that they might come up with a different opinion.
The problem with higher education today is not that people are unaware that the diversity movement is dishonest. The problem is that among those people with reasonable objections to the diversity agenda, there are too few willing to do something about it. Administrators at public universities simply have no right to take money from taxpayers and use it to advance their own political causes while systematically suppressing the views of their opponents.
I hope that everyone reading this article will “duplicate” my efforts to expand the marketplace of ideas at their local university. If your tax dollars are being used to support a one-sided view on the issue of abortion, respectfully ask for information on the other side to be included. If you are denied, take your case before the court of public opinion or, if necessary, a court of law. After all, the right to Free Speech is older than the “right to choose.” And censorship is decidedly “anti-choice.”
Dr. Mike Adams is an Associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.