Students for Life of America
has an update on the student senator who vandalized peaceful pro-life display at the University of Wisconsin:
Student Senator still on Senate, re-appointed for another year
Arlington, VA -On May 1, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (UWSP) Student Senator Roderick King vandalized a university-sanctioned peaceful Cemetery of the Innocents display of crosses erected by Pointers for Life (PFL).
The crosses represented children lost to abortion. While pulling and tossing them, King shouted "Freedom of speech does not cover these signs and symbols!"
PFL videotaped King's aggression. Watch the Vandalism here
After receiving numerous calls and emails, UWSP Chancellor Linda Bunnell released a statement on May 7 acknowledging that PFL is a recognized student organization and followed the correct protocol in staging the event.
Bunnell agreed, "The student who disrupted the display not only exhibited poor judgment, but demonstrated intolerance that is unacceptable on the UWSP campus."
Yet Bunnell stated any disciplinary action would remain secret. "University disciplinary procedures are being followed. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects our students from disclosure of their records, details of these procedures will not be made public." Read Bunnell's statement here.
On May 9, blogger Jill Stanek posted an email from Student Senator Claire Smith wrote in response to a respectful complaint that the Student Senate had not yet disciplined King. Smieth incredibily blamed PFL for King's action: "You need to re-evaluate your own belief system and realize that it was not a violent protest and Mr. King was in the right with his statement. The group that held the event had a technicality with their info, hence they [Pointers for Life] are at fault."
On May 12, Stanek posted an email responding to Smith' charges from Stephen Ward, Executive Director and Assistant of Chancellor of University Relations and Communications, after being made aware of Smith's email by Stanek reader, Milissa.
Ward called Smith's statement "inaccurate," adding, "On the evening of May 1, the UWSP Student Senate's Rules Committee voted to remove the senator who, earlier that day, was the apparent leader of a group of students who disrupted the campus display by Pointers for Life." He further assured readers, "this particular student is no longer as senator, as his term expired and he did not seek re-election."
Read the Student Senator Claire Smith's e-mail here
Read the UWSP Official Stephen Ward's e-mail here
PFL member and senior, Ryan Wrasse, told SFLA that Ward's email was inaccurate because both the Student Senate and PFL rejected the Rule's Committee's suggesion that would have merely forced King to write a letter of apology and suspend his Senate application for next year until the beginning of the Fall semeseter. PFL disagreed because King publicly stated at the Senate meeting that he was not sorry for his actions. PFL wanted the Student Senate to remove King immediately.
Contrary to Ward's e-mail, SFLA confirmed this afternoon by speaking with Erika Wardle, College of Natural Resources Caucus Chair and Student Senate member, that King is still a member of the Student Senate and was unanimously re-appointed to Student Senate for the 2008-2009 school year.
PFL further reported that the Student Senate found a provision in their consitution requiring the body to hold meetings before they can address the situation. Because the Student Senate has now adjourned for the school year, it will not take up the situation until its first meeting in the Fall 2008 semester.
Wrasse, stated, "I am disappointed that this problem wasn't resolved last Thursday by the UWSP Student Government Association. Instead, they unanimously reappointed Senator King to another term on SGA. The body essentially tabled any further discussions on this matter until their next meeting in September which means that this will be drug out for another three months. If they are hoping we will forgot about this, they couldn't be more mistaken."
Another PFL member, Matthew Steiger, told SFLA "I am disappointed that the Student Senate did not resolve this issue. I know a lot of them are friends with King and have made decisions based on emotion and not based on the issue of discipline."
Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America, remarked, "It is disappointing that the UWSP Student Senate voted unanimously to re-appoint King for another term after his actions on May 1st. Their decision is a slap in the face to Pointers for Life and clearly shows they are not interested in protecting students' rights if they don't agree with the opinion being expressed."ACTION:
Call the University of Wisconsin -Stevens Point Chancellor of Student Affairs, Linda Bunnell, at 715-346-2123 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
and demand that King be removed from Student Senate.