Members of Associated Students of University of California, Riverside (ASUCR) voted unanimously last week to call on university administration to warn students via email prior to what were called “offensive” or “triggering” pro-life demonstrations on campus.
The University of California, Riverside (UCR) Highlander states:
Various organizations have continually expressed disapproval of the demonstrations organized by pro-life organizations such as Students for Life, which has invited pro-life groups on campus in the past. Because of the potentially offensive and triggering nature of such displays, Senator Summer Shafer introduced a resolution which calls for emails to be sent to the entire student body “warning them that Students for Life, or any other organization that fosters a similar environment, such as the Center for Bioethical Reform, will be present.
ASUCR’s resolution reportedly described a Students for Life display on November 6 as “emotionally triggering” and “not conducive to a positive academic environment.”
“We’re not asking these groups to not come on campus. … We’re just asking that a warning be sent out,” said Devin Plazo, president pro tempore, about the resolution, which calls for university administration to distribute “trigger warning emails” to students. Until the university administration takes on the task, student Fernando Echeverria, vice president of Internal Affairs, will assume the role of sending out the warnings.
Breitbart News spoke with Casey Tesauro, national college program coordinator for Students for Life of America (SFLA), who said that the ASUCR’s targeting of SFLA groups is based on a false account of the pro-life group’s November 6 display.
“SFLA brought our ‘We Care’ display on campus, which basically has stick figures delineating a man, woman, and baby,” Tesauro said. “How is that ‘graphic,’ especially when the pro-choice groups came out with coat hangers as part of their display?”
She noted that the pro-choice group protested SFLA that day with a megaphone.
Tesauro said that ASUCR approved its resolution after SFLA’s display, which was clearly not “graphic.” Mid-morning, prior to SFLA’s appearance, the following email was sent out by Echeverria of ASUCR:
To the Campus Community:
There is a display scheduled for the campus that has pictures and language pertaining to sexual violence and abortion that could be triggering to individuals
Location: Next to the Bell Tower on the Watkins Lawn– Beginning at 11:00 a.m. today
Here is a list of some of the places you can contact for support. You will also find more information on their websites.
Womens Resource Center: 951-827-3337
LGBT Resource Center: 951-827-2267
The Resource Centers offer a support system, ways to speak out, events, information about options, as well as a safe space. There are even more resources on their websites, in more depth for survivors.
Counseling Center: 951-UCR-TALK
UCR offers 8 free counseling sessions, as well as further support in regards to mental health.
Rape Crisis Center: 952-686-RAPE
This is a 24 hour hotline and is an off-campus resource.
Title IX: 951-827-7070
The Title IX Officer will inform you of your rights and options as student.
The Well: 951-837-9355
The Well can provide health resources and stress relievers.
This message has been sent to you from the Associated Students, UC Riverside.
University of California Riverside
B.A Theatre/Political Science, Class of 2016
2014-15 Vice President of Campus Internal Affairs
University of California, Riverside,
202 Highlander Union Building
Riverside, CA 92521
“We don’t want our students to be targeted or bullied and we don’t want them to have to submit to procedures other students don’t have to submit to,” said Tesauro. “Our goal is not to ‘trigger’ people but to let men and women know they have another choice.”
“’We Care’ is our program. We want people who have been sexually assaulted to know they have another place to contact,” she added. “We wanted to have more discussion, rather than protest of our position.”
Breitbart News attempted to contact UCR several times, by phone and email, including Laurie Sinclair, executive director for ASUCR, and Joe Virata, assistant dean of students, but received no return calls or contact.
According to the Highlander, citing the First Amendment, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Jim Sandoval expressed some concern about ASUCR’s resolution and the decision to send out “trigger” or “warning” emails.
“The university is always very careful to refrain from communications related to any expressions of speech on campus,” Sandoval said, recommending the language of the “warning” emails “be as neutral as possible … and not (make) a commentary on the content (of the demonstrations).”
Nevertheless, Sandoval promised that administration would “do (their) best to get a letter out to the student body.