The statement said the university does not support hate speech, intolerance, or targeting “of members of our community or any other group.”
“The actions of a few protesters at the event were antithetical to our values of inclusion, respect and acceptance of all,” the statement said.
“We in no way condone actions that denigrate others, and we have a student code of conduct by which we address policy violations. We do not share with the media details of policy violations by members of our campus community.”
Hostility prior to event
In the weeks leading up to the event, posters advertising the event were torn down and A-Frame structures holding the posters were damaged.
Mary-Logan Miske, president of the College Republicans club, and Alyssa Jackson, the club's human dignity chair, took turns monitoring advertisements for the event. In one incident, they say they caught a student on camera tearing down their posters.
“I'm sitting down on the ground in the hallway waiting with my video camera in a kind of awkward, low key, hidden spot, and there's this girl who goes by the posters and she tears it down right in front of me,” Miske told CNA.
Miske asked the woman if she knew ripping down the posters was vandalism of USD property. The woman responded, “‘Yeah, I did actually know that,’ and then she tears down another one, rips them up and throws them at me,” Miske said.
An anonymous student told a student news program that she tore down some of the signs because she was upset that the speech was happening on campus.
“I was using my own voice in retaliation to something that I thought was disturbing on my campus,” said the student, whose appearance on camera was distorted to protect her identity. “I just wanted them down.” You can watch the segment in the video below, beginning at the 2:26 mark.
(Story continues below)
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In the interview, the student accused the university’s administration of only paying lip service to promoting free discourse on campus.
“I think USD likes to do a really good job of pretending like they air both sides of things,” she said. “Like they pretend that we’re allowed to have this all this discourse and woke conversations, if you will, about things like sex ed, or healthy sex, or healthy relationships, and they really don’t.”
But the pro-life students who spoke to CNA say they feel that views in support of Catholic teaching on abortion and other issues are the ones being marginalized on campus.
Miske believes the university is more focused on promoting diversity than Catholic teaching.
“I think a big problem is shown in what we've seen this past week that there are people who truly believe you can be pro-choice and Catholic,” Miske said. “I don't know how you can think that way, I truly don’t.”
Pro-life speaker responds