Student Story

Sarah Andersen - Student Free Speech

student free speechDuring the beginning of the Spring 2009 semester, I was approached by Justice For All (JFA), a group that supports the life and rights of the unborn. I had worked with them in 2008, and loved their work. They had the desire to come to the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU) campus and I thought that the campus could greatly use their perspective on life and abortion. So, I started Pro Life Ambassadors, a group on the CU campus that supports the life of the unborn, and started the process of getting JFA onto campus. When I had all my paperwork filled out and completed, I submitted it to the university.

CU Boulder determined that due to the content of our display, we would need security, which would cost us around $500 for a 3-day event. I told the JFA representative how much we would have to pay. He then talked to the Alliance Defending Freedom and one of their attorneys, Joe, e-mailed me. Joe and I started talking and I gave him all the details, e-mailing him all of the necessary support for my side. Joe then looked over all of it and determined that we had a case! It turns out that a public university, like CU, cannot charge a student group money for security simply because the group’s message offends some people. So he sent a letter to CU Boulder and we waited for a reply. While waiting for the reply, the deadline came to pay for the event or it would be cancelled.

So I borrowed nearly $500 from my parents and paid the fee, out of pocket, because JFA needed to come to CU Boulder. The university events planning people e-mailed me the day after I had paid and told me that they would be paying for the cost of security. So I would be getting all of my money back. After waiting several weeks a check arrived in the mail for the full sum of the cost of the event. JFA then got to come to campus and spread their great message to the CU Boulder students that needed it. I saw and got to speak with several students who were angry, sad, supportive and others who had a variety of other emotions. I even met the new president of Pro Life Ambassadors who is continuing it today! And during debriefing I heard the wonderful stories that the other students had been able to participate in.

This exhibit even changed some people's minds about abortion, and brought courage to those who wish to support the pro-life message. Without the support of Alliance Defending Freedom, this event would not have been possible. Alliance Defending Freedom helped my group and me keep our 1st Amendment right of free speech and helped change the lives of many, some of whom have yet to be born.

Students, like you everyday face censorship, reprisal or punishment for Speaking Up. If you have faced this type of illegal discrimination on campus, Tell us your story of Injustice .

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