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Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 @ 9:41 AM
HAMILTON — A Miami University student was captured on video Monday destroying an anti-abortion display on the school’s Hamilton campus.
A video shows a Miami University Hamilton campus student trampling and tossing white crosses — representing aborted babies — in a grassy commons area in the center of the regional school’s grounds.
The video was posted Tuesday online by the Media Research Center.
The filmed incident comes in the wake of a recent federal lawsuit settlement about a similar anti-abortion display and “trigger warnings” that Miami officials tried to force students to issue about the display.
A large sign accompanies the rows of crosses on the Hamilton regional campus that reads: “Each cross represents 10 babies that die by abortion each day.”
Miami University officials said two students have been investigated in connection with vandalizing the pro-life exhibit, which was authorized by school officials for display on the Hamilton campus.
“We were disappointed to learn that two of our students (Monday) were reported to have damaged the approved display of one of our student organizations,” said Claire Wagner, spokeswoman for Miami University.
“The incident has been referred to the university’s Office of Ethics and Conflict Resolution for investigating,” she told this news outlet.
“Miami University promotes and protects the right to free speech and expression. We offer a liberal arts education that recognizes that intellectual engagement is maximized by the exchange and representation of diverse and multifaceted points of view and life experiences,” Wagner said.
Zeke Cole, a senior at Miami University Hamilton, stood near the now intact display Tuesday and described the destruction of the anti-abortion symbols as “disrespectful.”
“If you wanted to demonstrate against something through a display and someone wanted to silence you, you would not like it. A lot of people say they like free speech, but when they see something they don’t like, they try to shut it down,” Cole said.
Classmate Maranda Cornett agreed, saying “you should respect other people’s viewpoints, even if you don’t agree.”
The incident comes after Miami University agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the anti-abortion student group “Students For Life” objecting to being ordered to issue “trigger warnings” to students about a similar display on the campus in November.
Attorneys for the student group claimed the warnings were infringements on the organization’s free speech rights on the regional campus.
In February, Miami officials signed a settlement field in U.S. District Court, which among other stipulations required the university to cease such warnings. The settlement was filed with the court on March 15.
Miami officials signed off on the settlement, which included a description that the school had “failed to protect students against content and viewpoint discrimination, placed unconstitutional conditions upon student speech, subjected students to vague and overbroad speech restrictions, and violated equal protection.”
According to the settlement, Miami officials agreed to alter its student policy to the following: “The University has an equal and simultaneous obligation to protect the rights and freedoms of students who do not choose to participate in a demonstration, but this obligation does not authorize the University to infringe upon the rights of students and student organizations to hold and express disparate beliefs. Similarly, the University is obligated to protect its property and to prohibit interference with scheduled activities of students, University personnel, and guests on campus.”