Students react to pro-life group’s presence on campus


Helen Harlan

Psychology Professor James Frazee and his students interacting with the pro-life group.

Project Truth, a Christian-based, pro-life group, demonstrated in two locations on campus on Sept. 20, provoking emotional responses from many students and staff.
The group displayed graphic images of unborn babies and wore chest-mounted GoPro cameras. The organization’s dozen members handed out pamphlets titled “Unlock the Truth About The 62 Million Missing.”
John Edgar, a volunteer with the group, said that they were on campus to provide the scientific facts of abortion and justified their use of graphic images.
“Some pro-life groups don’t show the images of the victims. We feel it’s important,” Edgar said.
Stacey Smith, 58, a film and photography student, reacted to the group situated at the library’s east entrance around 10 a.m. in the morning.
“I understand where they are coming from when they say they are pro-life,” Smith said. “However, it should be up to a woman to make the decision for her body. Everybody’s situation is different.”
Kayla Larkin, 19, an animal science major, was enraged by the group’s presence at a second location near the bookstore.
“I think it’s really horrible and disgusting. I don’t think that they should be recording us,” Larkin said. “They have no idea what each individual is going through and they should have no say on anything…they should be kicked out and they should go away.”
Campus facilities staff heard of the group’s presence and put up sandwich boards near them stating “Warning Graphic Images Ahead; Not a College Sponsored Event.”
Communications & Public Information Officer Kristie West explained the group’s right to be on campus while offering advice to those that might be offended by their presence.
“We are a public campus and people are allowed to come onto our campus,” said West during a Zoom interview. “We always advise if you are not wanting to see those images walk around them, go the other direction. There’s not much we can do about it. They are allowed to be there.”
Matthew Charles Augustine,18, a psychology major, engaged with some of the volunteers.
“The one tool these people have is fear. That’s all they have,” said Augustine. “It’s just really sickening to me.”
Nineteen-year-old nursing student Amaya Mustapha said that it was kind of graphic to see the images that were shown on campus.
“If you want to be pro-life that’s your choice, that’s your opinion, but don’t shame others for wanting to not have a baby that they didn’t plan for,” Mustapha said.
Psychology Professor James Frazee took the group’s presence as an opportunity for his Psychology 356: Human Sexuality class, writing “please meet our class in the quad by the abortion people” on the white-board of his classroom.
Frazee’s 30 students engaged with the Project Truth volunteers and, after the confrontation, Frazee praised his students for their action.
“You guys are such a bold and brave class to do that,” Frazee said. “It’s not your job to solve the world’s problems, but it is your job to think of ideas of how we can make things better for people.”
By 3 p.m., Project Truth left campus and Frazee dismissed his class, ultimately criticizing Project Truth and their methods.
“They don’t want a solution. They want division,” Frazee said as he closed. “Don’t let people say outlandish things without challenging them.”