On the morning of May 4th, the pro-life student group at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) set up a memorial display for the more than 19 million black lives that have been taken by abortion since 1973.
MSOE Right to Life students had received prior permission from school administration to place 3,000 flags, along with pro-life signs that read “Black Baby Lives Matter” on the grounds outside of the campus science building.
According to MSOE Right to Life, “The idea for this display came about because of the increased prevalence of discussion of BLM [Black Lives Matter] politics in MSOE’s classrooms this semester. The side of the story that was left out of this discussion was the over 19 million black lives that have been taken by abortion since 1973. So, to raise awareness of this atrocity occurring predominantly in minority communities in the U.S., MSOE Right to Life set up a display with 3,000 pink and red flags, each one representing 6,333 black lives. The display also served to identify the hypocrisy of those who identify as ‘pro-choice’ and simultaneously identify as ‘pro-BLM.’ It served its purpose, as the display could not stay up for 24 hours without vandalism.”
Per Campus Life regulations, displays from campus groups are limited to a 24-hour window. However, according to MSOE Right to Life members, an anti-Trump, pro-BLM display was allowed to remain in one of the campus’s newest buildings for several weeks.
The first sign of vandalism came from the new Libertarian group on campus, who attached stickers to the signs to promote their new group, without permission from MSOE Right to Life or the school. These stickers were removed, but when members of MSOE Right to Life came to take down the display the next morning, they saw evidence of new vandalism – numerous flags had been pulled out and stomped on, black tape had been applied to certain words on the signs, and one of their signs had been stolen.
MSOE Right to Life released a statement, which said, in part, “Our organization welcomes freedom of speech, expression, and difference of opinion. However, there are rules in place for conduct as it relates to organization events and displays. We are disappointed by the inability for some students to recognize these rules and to respect the freedoms of other students on campus. While what happened was unfortunate, we are working actively with public safety and Campus Life to identify the perpetrators and discuss repercussions for this behavior, as it broke several codes of conduct put in place by MSOE.”
The students responsible for both instances of vandalism have issued apologies to MSOE Right to Life, and members from the group continue to work with campus officials to ensure that this does not happen to them or another group in the future.
Rylie Gill, the group’s president, stated, “I have a strong passion for the pro-life movement, because I believe that life is sacred and created in the image of God, and as such, it should be protected at all costs. For me, being pro-life isn’t only associated with the unborn; it is applicable at conception and remains applicable throughout life until the point of natural death. As the president of my pro-life group, I stress the importance of this truth, and others like it. It is my duty to live out these truths on my college campus for all to see, and encourage others to unashamedly do the same . . . If anything, this display spoke for students who share these same beliefs but may feel alone in their endeavors to stand for life. Now these same students are aware that there is a pro-life community on campus that they can be a part of. This is why we will continue to stand for life—to build a greater pro-life presence and educate others about pro-life issues on MSOE’s campus.”