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VIDEO: Fresno State professor confronts pro-life organization on campus

A pro-life organization has released a video showing a Fresno State professor confronting The Students for Life group on campus on May 2. (Video from The Students for Life)

A pro-life organization has released a video showing a Fresno State professor confronting The Students for Life group on campus on May 2.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on Thursday against public health professor Dr. Gregory Thatcher for the student group, saying he infringed on the group's fundamental right to freedom of speech by defacing sidewalk chalk messages written by the group.

In a news release, The Students for Life group says the group had permission from the school for the chalk messages. The group says the messages expressed support for pregnant and parenting students and presented information about the development of an unborn child.




The video shows a member of the group confronting students who say they were told by a professor to erase the messages. The video then shows the professor telling the person that, "This is part of our free speech," and "College campuses are not free speech areas." He also says he is "perfectly fine with you having your free speech in the free speech area," and gestures to a different area.

Fox26 reached out to Fresno State for comment and received the following from the university:

Fresno State supports and defends the right of students to free speech and the peaceful expression of ideas on campus. The university's policy is clear: free speech on campus is not limited to a “free speech zone” or any other narrowly defined area. Universities have an obligation to encourage the free expression of ideas, values and opinions.

The students who wrote the chalk messages received prior university approval and were well within their rights to express themselves in this manner.

Those disagreeing with the students’ message have a right to their own speech, but they do not have the right to erase or stifle someone else’s speech under the guise of their own right to free speech. We are reviewing this matter and take the situation very seriously.

-Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro

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