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The Northerner

Students say sorry to school


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NKU professor Dr. Sally Jacobson enlisted several of her students to help her dismantle the anti-abortion “Cemetery of Innocents,” a display that she has said infuriated her, on April 22.

Now, as part of their diversion programs, several of the involved students have written letters to apologize for their actions.

Student sorry for destruction

My name is Katie Nelson. Last semester I, along with a few others, removed a pro-life display of crosses from the Grassy Knoll across from the Fine Arts Building. I would like to state that I did not do this with the specific intention of hurting anyone’s feelings or opinions.

My motivation behind the act was simple: abortion is a very sensitive subject and as such, should be discussed in an environment that facilitates open conversation from both sides. I do not feel that the manor in which the crosses were assembled encouraged open conversation. Instead, they evoked a negative and non-neutral environment where conversation was not welcome.

I simply felt that if Northern Right to Life had a right to put up crosses as students, I also had the right to take it down. To all of you whom I offended, I apologize.

Katie Nelson

Regrets own response and NKU’s

Many of you may remember the unfortunate incident in which an anti-abortion display was destroyed that occurred last spring. This moment of delinquency led to the prosecution of several students, one of whom was myself.

For those who are new to the university, or the area, I will briefly explain what happened that April evening. Shortly upon entering the classroom we, the students, frustration stemmed from a display that had been put up in the middle of campus. It was a replica of a graveyard, only instead of tombstones there stood crosses, behind this a large sign stated that each cross represented ten thousand aborted babies.

Talk of the “abortion issue” alone ignites intense and often brutal arguments, so when the right-to-life organization put this display in the middle of campus they must have known there would be a reaction. And there was.

With a little coaxing from our professor, several students in the class followed her to the display and then helped her ‘destroy’ it. We destroyed it by pulling the crosses out of the ground and then placing, not throwing or pounding, them in nearby trashcans. Our professor Dr. Sally Jacobsen removed the sign. And although we had what the prosecutors would later say “destroyed,” which is a synonym for shattered, cracked, damaged and smashed, the display, the very same crosses appeared again the next day.

The following day, as I reflected upon this destruction, sarcasm aside, I did know what I had done was wrong. First and foremost my convictions on the topic and its surrounding issues were, and still are, searching for some concretedness in my ever-changing mold of opinions. It is for this reason that I had no right in claiming such a passionate response to such a passionate issue.

Secondly, I realized that as a class and an educated group, representing not only our university but also our area and our alliances of many pro-choice and liberal organizations, we had retaliated foolishly and immaturely. The proper thing to have done would have been to focus all of that emotion and fervor into our own display, our own voice. We essentially shut the mouths of the anti-abortion organization with our hands, instead of fighting back with our voices. This must be how we come to so much violence, so much war in our world.

It was for these reasons that I called the leader of Northern Right-to-Life the next day to apologize for my actions. While talking with this individual I expressed, with sincerity, my interest and willingness to volunteer my time, effort, etc. to repay this group directly for my participation in what was an extremely juvenile act.

To me, that seemed like the right thing to do, that would be justice at its full potential. But this is not what happened. Now four months later I’m writing this letter because I have been ordered by the court to do so. Also court-ordered: a hundred dollar fine and 25 hours of community service. No direct contact with Northern Right-To-Life, no deeper understanding of what they’re about and what they represent. What has really been learned?

As I hope I have explained I am sorry for what I did. But I what I am most sorry about is the way we, our university and our community, handled the situation. Here was an opportunity for these two groups to sit under university guidance and learn more about one another, more about the other side. Instead we, the students, were made to serve as examples, examples for liberal and conservative opinions and agendas that our parents and other generations taught us, they are opinions that may not even be our own. We should have been compromising, we should have been learning, not about right and wrong, but about each other and how to ease the taut strings that we ‘tug-a-war’ with too often. I am sorry that we had the opportunity for a different kind of hands on education and we missed it.

Laura Caster sophomore English

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Students say sorry to school