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College requires prior review of social media posts by student pro-life group

‘On many occasions members of your club out right lied’

Carroll College has been squabbling with its Students for Life chapter over the pro-life group’s plan to bring the “Planned Parenthood Truth” tour to campus.

The tour shares government inspection reports and mainstream news articles about documented hygiene problems at the chain’s abortion clinics.

The Montana Catholic college told the group it could set up a temporary “Cemetery of the Innocents,” a common way for pro-life groups to recognize the victims of abortion, but not engage in an “active campaign against one or more organizations which support abortions.”

That’s according to an email from a campus spokesperson to the students, cited by Students for Life of America in a blog post Wednesday. “NO banners, or signage, or handouts will be permitted regarding the #PlannedParentHoodTruth campaign,” the spokesperson said, though the college eventually allowed handouts at the group’s table. President John Cech also stopped by the cemetery display.

Saints for Life, the campus club’s moniker, may have bigger problems to worry about.

In a Wednesday email forwarded to The College Fix, Director of Student Activities and Leadership Patrick Harris told the club leaders that he would be reviewing all the club’s social media posts, “including but not limited to Snapchat, Instagram, InstaStories, MySpace, and Facebook.”

They must be approved by both Harris and the club’s adviser before going up.

That provision was among a package of sanctions that Harris said was approved by the unanimous student senate on April 23. The most severe is a threat to derecognize the club if it doesn’t follow the requirements imposed by the senate.

Harris, an administration staffer, added his own sanction apart from the senate vote:

You must work in honesty and truth, without manipulating the words of others. On many occasions members of your club out right lied about what other people said. On other occasions you moved forward with actions that were never approved. This behavior does not reflect the commitment all clubs make to the pursuit of the Ultimate Truth, stated in the Carroll College Mission Statement. If these tactics are the way the club chooses to continue to operate, then the club will be sent to the Senate for a vote of removal. This falls under the Senate’s vote to approve “in the case of any further conduct deemed contrary to policy, disrespectful, or violating the sanctions, we recommend the ASCC Senate will discuss not recognizing the Saints for Life as a club.”

Harris signed the email “on behalf of the ASCC Executive Board, Judiciary Committee, and Senate.”

A spokesperson for the college told The Fix that Harris’s email conveyed “the policy of the Associated Students that was passed by students, not a policy of the college administration, nor was it suggested by the administration.”

Chato Hazelbaker, vice president of enrollment management and marketing, wrote in an email that the student senate decision is “under review as we have almost entirely new leadership at the college.”

Asked to explain how the senate decision hadn’t been blessed by the administration, given that Harris added his own sanction on top of the package approved by the senate, Hazelbaker said Harris was the staffer assigned to work with the student government: “ASCC decision, Patrick communicated.”

He said he could explain more after commencement and a meeting of the board of trustees.

Read the Students for Life post.

MORE: University drops ‘annoyance’ policy to settle pro-life students’ lawsuit

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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