A Response to The Presence of the TFP on Campus

Today I was walking to CUB when I saw a giant red banner and a group of young men wearing red sashes in front of me.  Of course, as any college student would be, I was curious to see what was going on.  Instead of something exciting or school related like I assumed it would be, they were handing out anti-abortion pamphlets.  

Photo by Author

So, right when it came to lunch time, students were forced to walk by boys handing out pamphlets filled with hate just to eat.  Now, I decided to do some research into the organization before writing this.  The organization is called the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.  They are against homosexuality, marriage equality, divorce, transgender individuals, abortion, and anyone who does not agree with them.  In fact, their pamphlet suggested that using contraception will eventually lead to death camps.

It may have been their legal right to protest on public property, but I do not believe that Gettysburg dealt with this in a proper way.  There is no way of knowing exactly how many students walked by them on their way to lunch, the CUB, class, or just while going on with their day.  Furthermore, there is no way of knowing how many of those students are gay, transgender, have had an abortion, or are in any way affected by any of the many things this group is against.  Gettysburg College is supposed to be a safe space for students.  They shouldn’t have to worry about being handed a side of hate with their bullet sandwich.  

While the school had no right to remove this group, there are many ways that they could have dealt with it.  Firstly, it would have been so easy of JMR to put out an email stating that the school does not support anything that the TFP was saying.  There could also have been DPS officers standing around, making sure that no student was forced to walk close to this group.  And even further, the school could have warned students that this group was on campus to make sure that students were not caught off guard while walking around.  Furthermore, the TFP started recording students and taking pictures of them without permission.  They may have had the right to speak their minds in public, but we have the right to not worry about our picture being taken by them.

I am thankful to be able to say that I have not heard of one student who was supportive of the TFP being on campus today.  However, it is my hope that we will not have to worry about hate groups standing outside our dining hall again.  While it is probable that this hope will not be fulfilled, let us at least actually have a reaction from our campus if it happens again.