Christian Andzel, a college student at the University at Buffalo in New York, is passionately pro-life. His primary motivations are threefold: first, as a Christian, his faith inspires him in all areas of his life, second, despite her difficult economic situation, his birth mother chose to give him the gift of life and then family through adoption, and third, he strongly believes in protecting all human rights.
Christian helped establish the first ever pro-life club at his university, the University at Buffalo Students for Life Club. The club holds events throughout the year, and in April of 2013, Christian and the UB Students for Life Club organized a week of pro-life activities. In conjunction with the Genocide Awareness Project, they displayed a photo mural exhibit on campus that depicts the reality and awfulness of abortion. Christian and the group experienced harassment over their display and campus policy did nothing to stop it.
The week also included a debate on campus between Christian and several pro-abortion advocates. The posters for the event described the event as an entertaining, intellectual, and respectful debate. But the University required the group to have two security guards for the event because the university designated the event “controversial.” The debate went off without any major incident, and around 200 students attended.
A month later, Christian received the bill for the security. The University charged the club $650 for the security guards, even though it allowed another club to hold a debate in the same building, on the same day, and didn’t charge them a cent. The fee exceeded the club’s annual operating budget, so the club had to cancel the rest of their events for the year.
Fortunately, Christian was aware of Alliance Defending Freedom since attending the Students for Life National Conference a few years before. With legal help from Alliance Defending Freedom, Christian and Students for Life took legal action against the University so that neither UB Students for Life, nor other students would get charged security fees for speech the University deems “controversial.” The complaint explained that UB violated the student’s rights by allowing officials to “discriminate against speech based on its content or viewpoint.”
The University eventually settled the case with Christian, and agreed to reimburse his group the security fees, change its policy to protect speech, and pay his attorneys’ fees. The outcome will protect the speech of Christian and other students for years to come and ensure that the pro-life club won’t be silenced.