In March, the Student Government Association at Johns Hopkins University denied the pro-life student group Voice For Life the status of official student club.
While SGA members compared VFL to white supremacists, they approved a new group called Students for Justice in Palestine–which has a history of anti-Semitism and campus disruption.
The SGA voted on March 12 to deny Voice For Life the right to become an officially sanctioned club. The vote against VFL was later upheld by the SGA senate.
To explain its decision, the SGA claimed that the pro-life group’s national website is “offensive” because one of its links takes visitors to the website for Bio-Ethical Reform. The SGA also claimed that because the pro-life group engages in sidewalk counseling at a Baltimore abortion facility, that “clearly violates the JHU Harassment and Code of Conduct policies.”
President of Students for Life of America Kristen Hawkins told Fox News that they were shocked to be denied club status.
“We were pretty shocked when the students showed their bias toward the pro-life students,” Hawkins said.
Former SGA Vice President and a co-author of the SGA Constitution Evan Lazerowitz is also shocked by the SGA’s unfair actions.
In a letter of support for SFL, Lazerowitz said the decision violated the SGA’s own Constitution:
The fact is, quite simply, that the SGA’s actions constitute viewpoint discrimination, which violates the SGA Constitution. I am particularly concerned that SGA members actually told a student group leader that he should remove certain web-links or not undertake certain actions simply because they personally disagreed with them. Concern about a group’s message, and groups that it supports, definitely violates the free speech guarantee of the SGA Constitution because the SGA is passing judgment on the viewpoint of the group.
On its website, Students For Life revealed an email exchange between SGA members that talks about Lazerowitz’s letter of support. In the exchange, one participant likens VFL to white supremacists, and another email claims that the SGA’s duty is to “protect” students from ideas they don’t agree with.
Johns Hopkins student Andrew Guernsey pointed out the hypocrisy in the SGA’s position.
“It is inconsistent with the JHU’s motto ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’ for the SGA to try to hide its students–many future doctors and nurses–from the truth about abortion and how it hurts women, families and most of all, innocent preborn babies,” Guernsey said.
During that same SGA meeting, the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) was approved as an official student group. SJP has a long history of virulent anti-Semitism and is controlled by the American Muslims for Palestine, a group that the Anti-Defamation League says “promotes extreme anti-Israel views.”