The Students for Life group at Fresno State University had fallen on tough times.
Their numbers were few. Their fliers around campus were frequently torn down or defaced.
Then, Professor Gregory Thatcher organized a group of students to erase their positive pro-life chalk messages on campus sidewalks. This despite the fact that the Students for Life group had received permission from university officials to write them.
But what Professor Thatcher meant for harm, God used for good.
The Students for Life at Fresno State experienced a huge turnaround. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys, the group filed a lawsuit against Professor Thatcher for violating their right to free speech. And they won!
Since the victory, membership in the group has been skyrocketing. And this past January, Students for Life of America recognized the Fresno State chapter as the “College Group of the Year.”
But that wasn’t even the best part.
When a student named Jess found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy, she felt financially unstable and unready to be a mother. A counselor at Planned Parenthood even told her that abortion was her only option.
Jess was frantic. But then one day as she was driving, something caught her eye.
It was a 12-week fetal model showing the developmental stages of a child in the womb. She had gotten it from a Students for Life information table at Fresno State. Jess had placed the fetal model in the rearview mirror of her car. And, at that moment, it was exactly what she needed to see.
Jess was inspired to choose life by that 12-week fetal model given to her by the Students for Life group.
And today, Jess has a baby daughter, and she’s the co-vice president of Students for Life at Fresno State! This is just one vivid example of why efforts to prevent the group from exercising its freedom—as Professor Thatcher tried to do—must be stopped and why their priceless constitutional liberties must be respected.
While this story has a happy ending, the Students for Life group at Fresno State University isn’t alone in its fight for freedom.
Across the country, many students, groups, and even some professors are facing censorship. And it’s often the conservative and Christian students that are targeted.
If Jess’s story proves anything, it shows that messages can have a profound impact. But these messages can’t have an impact if they’re never heard.
That’s why, thanks to your support, ADF is fighting back. And we’re winning! Your support has led to more than 400 victories for free speech on campus!
- Young Americans for Liberty volunteers Michelle, Nathan, and Isaac were handing out pocket Constitutions on a public walkway at Kellogg Community College (KCC) in Michigan. Campus officials said the volunteers were in violation of their speech restrictions and actually had them arrested and thrown in jail. After ADF filed a lawsuit, KCC changed its speech restrictions and paid $55,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees.
- The Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter at California State University-Los Angeles invited conservative columnist Ben Shapiro to speak. But its efforts were blocked at every turn. First, the university attempted to force the group to pay bogus security fees. Then, protestors (including some faculty) physically blocked the entryway to the event. ADF filed a lawsuit on behalf of YAF, Ben Shapiro, and two students. As a result, the university dropped several of its discriminatory speech policies.
- Ellen Wittman, president of Students for Life at Miami University of Ohio, wanted to put up a pro-life display to commemorate the lives lost to abortion. But campus officials told her that she would also need to put up warning signs. Ellen knew her free-speech rights were being violated, so she filed a lawsuit with the help of ADF attorneys. Now, her university has changed its speech policy.
ADF attorneys were able to come to the aid of each of these individuals, but it wouldn’t have been possible without your support. Thanks to you, these wins are having a huge impact for the free speech of thousands of college students.
But there is still much work to be done.
In case after case, we see the battle for free speech and religious freedom on campus growing more heated. With your support, we can continue to defend freedom on campus, both now and in the future for your children and grandchildren. The ability to speak freely is one of our most treasured legacies to pass to the next generations!