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Students at Catholic college rally in support of Planned Parenthood following its removal from school website


After a College Fix report ‘circulated among students’

Students at a small Catholic college in Wisconsin are rallying in support of Planned Parenthood after the school removed a link to the abortion clinic from its website. The activism, which involved a protest using Planned Parenthood stickers and demands that the school’s president apologize for removing the link, was spurred in part by a College Fix report on the initial controversy.

The Fix reported earlier this week on Edgewood College’s having removed a Planned Parenthood link from its school’s resource page. The presence of that link had been protested by the conservative organization TFP Student Action; that group circulated a petition in which over 15,000 signatures were collected demanding the removal of the Planned Parenthood promotion.

The school subsequently struck the link from its website. Following that decision, numerous student activists responded by silently protesting at a school event, apparently directing the protest at the school’s interim president, Mary Ellen Gevelinger.

The campus newspaper On The Edge News reports that The Fix‘s article was “circulated among students on social media and word of mouth” on the day of the school’s tree lighting ceremony. The school choir, which was performing at that event, “knew Gevelinger would be in attendance,” the paper reports:

Shawn Padley, a member of the choir and the Edgewood student organization SAFE, said the choir considered not performing as a form of protest but did not want to upset their director.

“And then one of our classmates came in and had the (Planned Parenthood sticker) already put on her binder,” he said. “And we were like, can you go make some photocopies, and we’ll all just put them on our binders and that’ll be that. So then we somehow managed to get everybody in the choir involved. Everybody put them on their folders except for me who forgot my folder, so I put it on my shirt.”

Padley said many people came up to the performers after they sang and thanked them for the silent protest.

The school’s Student Senate also held an “emergency town hall meeting” regarding the controversy, On The Edge reports. At that meeting, students “work[ed] on composing a letter to Geveligner on behalf of students” which included “a list of demands.” In that letter, students reportedly “expressed concern about the president’s lack of research into TFP and the college’s lack of sexual education and resources on campus.”

The College Fix learned of the protest when On The Edge‘s editor, Alyssa Allemand, reached out to The Fix via email on Thursday afternoon. Allemand said the paper was in the process of “clarifying” information surrounding the controversy. She asked for information on “how [The Fix‘s] article was written and how the information was traced, etc.” Allemand also asked for “any transcripts from interviews or emails” involving Edgewood’s president.

The Fix does not share confidential source information. Allemand did not respond to a reply query about the protests.

On Thursday night, meanwhile, On The Edge reported that the Student Senate has “called on Gevelinger to publicly apologize for responding to TFP’s demands.” The paper said students were preparing for a meeting with Gevelinger this afternoon. The student senate president referred to the meeting as a “public apology,” but also reportedly said that Gevelinger “did not state whether she planned to apologize.”

Gevelinger herself accused some of the activists of circulating “lies” on campus. She also allegedly told activists that “the College Fix article twisted her words.” The Fix reached out to Gevelinger on Friday morning asking for clarification on that comment. This article will be updated if and when she responds.

Gevelinger also reportedly told students that she “did not know about the petition from TFP,” according to the paper.

Read On The Edge‘s reports here and here.

UPDATE: This article has been updated with further reports from On The Edge of ongoing protests and activism at Edgewood.

MORE: Following major petition, Catholic school cuts Planned Parenthood from resource page

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