Provided by Hannah Bockweg
When Cecilia Knox placed 260 white crosses on campus to draw attention to abortion, she expected people to react differently.
But she didn’t expect the display to be vandalized.
Days after Knox stuck the crosses into the grass beside the Student Union Plaza, someone pulled the crosses out of the ground and tore the sign that read, “Each cross represents 10 babies that die by abortion each day.”
The Oct. 26 incident wasn’t the first time Northern Right to Life’s annual pro-life display has been tampered with on campus. Crosses were also taken out of the ground from the organization’s 2013 display.
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Knox, vice president of Northern Right to Life, said her friend Michael Bailey called her and told her the display had been vandalized.
“First he sent me a picture of the crosses, and they were all knocked down and the signs were gone,” Knox said. “He said ‘Oh, I’m so sorry this happened. My friend and I put the signs back, but I’ll come meet you, where are you? I have the big sign that they tore.’”
Bailey, a freshman political science major, said he tried to fix the display the best he could because “it felt like the right thing to do.”
“The first thought I had was that obviously you can tell that somebody did it,” Bailey said. “We knew at the time what it was representing, which was children, and so it was like, seriously why would anyone — and I get that religious beliefs aren’t the same — but what’s the reason to just tear down what someone worked really hard on?”
Knox said she and other members of Northern Right to Life worked hard on setting up the display, and she felt upset and disrespected when she found out someone had tried to ruin it.
“People always talk about, ‘Please respect other people’s beliefs,’ and I don’t know, it’s scary,” Knox said. “Clearly [they] do not respect others’ beliefs by vandalizing property. I was taken aback.”
Bailey said the vandalism is a reflection of the hatred that is evident in today’s society.
“… there’s a lot more rampant hatred and disgust from people who disagree with certain people on aspects of things,” Bailey said.
The university spokesperson was not available for comment at the time of publication. The Northerner will update this story once we have received a statement.