A Fresno State University professor was recently caught on camera scrubbing pro-life message off of the sidewalk and encouraging several of his students to do the same.
“The whole idea of free speech is that we have a free speech area on campus, kay?” Professor Gregory Thatcher erroneously declares in a video recorded by the school’s Students for Life chapter. “Free speech is free speech in the free speech area. It’s a pretty simple concept, okay? This does not constitute a free speech area, okay?”
He and his “students” go on to argue that it is within their own First Amendment rights to actively remove the pro-life messages from campus, and in one instance Thatcher claims that since the pro-life group has “permission to put it down” he has “permission to get rid of it.”
“This is our part of free speech. Do you disagree with our part of free speech?” Thatcher asked while erasing one of the club’s messages, after which he proclaimed that “college campuses are not free speech areas.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has since filed a lawsuit against Thatcher on behalf of the Students for Life chapter at Fresno State, arguing that his efforts to intimidate and harass members of the Student for Life chapter violated their fundamental right to free speech.
“Fresno State Students for Life received full permission to chalk pro-life messages near the library. Rather than countering with his own message, Dr. Thatcher took the illegal approach of censoring speech and inciting students to help in this,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, remarked in a press release, claiming that no student “should have to endure this kind of intimidation and harassment for simply expressing their views.”