University issues a response to counter demonstrations during Marquette for Life’s pro-life week


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Counter protest in response to Marquette for Life’s pro-life week

Dr. Xavier Cole, vice president of student affairs, issued a strongly-worded response to counter demonstrations during Marquette For Life’s pro-life week.

The group held a ‘Memorial for the Unborn’ Thursday by planting 1,200 blue and pink flags to represent the 1,200,000 abortions preformed in the United States each year.

Counter-protesters placed coat hangers among the flags and taped signs over existing signs with slogans such as “we want doctors, not missionaries” and “my body, my freedom.”

The counter protest signs and hangers were removed. Friday afternoon, Cole sent the following email to Marquette students.

October 14, 2016

 I am writing to address a situation that occurred yesterday that has absolutely no place at Marquette.

 Marquette For Life, a student group celebrating pro-life activities on campus, informed the Division of Student Affairs that its signs had been altered and defaced. Unrelated to this incident, we also learned that university banners were covered with fliers. 

 Let me be extremely clear. Defacement is not dialogue.

 Respectful discussion and even dissent is best done face to face. Our issue does not lie in the expression of varying viewpoints, but rather in the way that this was handled. Our mission is grounded in respecting the dignity of all individuals and being inclusive of multiple perspectives. Inclusivity by its very nature begins with respect.

 The Marquette For Life group’s display was submitted and approved in advance, as is standard procedure for any display that appears on university property. We are working with our students to make sure their promotions on campus continue.

 We know that differences can and will exist on a college campus, but we also know that we are called to live with values and with principles of respect and civility.

 If students or student organizations want to begin a dialogue around a particular issue, we welcome their engagement with student and university leadership. I personally welcome your thoughts. MUSG, our Residence Hall Association and Community Programming Councils will be happy to help organize a dialogue that can involve students, faculty and staff. A college campus is precisely the space where such dialogue can and should occur.

 Let’s remember that we are all Marquette.


Dr. Xavier A. Cole”