- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2017

A student repeatedly destroyed a pro-life display at Washington State University last week because it made him “angry.”

Keaton Aspell said he left class Wednesday morning and was disgusted to find a “Cemetery for the Innocent” — 300 pink crosses representing 100 children aborted per day — sticking out of a quad.

“I was like, ‘this is disgusting,’” Mr. Aspell told campus newspaper the Daily Evergreen. “I don’t think it creates any type of unity. I think it just causes divisiveness and they are just pushing their religious agenda, and it really made me angry.”

Students for Life set the display back up, but Mr. Aspell later returned to take it down again.

Nicole Manzione, a member of the pro-life chapter, said she was forced to call campus police.

“I called the police when the angry student came back and claimed that he had taken them down the first time and was angry that he had to take them down again,” Ms. Manzione told the Evergreen. “We tried to have a good conversation with him, calm and civil, and he just kept taking them down no matter what we said.”

After posting about what he did on social media, the pro-choice student said he received mostly positive responses from his friends.

Other students, including Alexis StClair, gathered around the display to cheer the destruction on.

“To us, seeing this and walking by is harmful,” Ms. StClair told the Evergreen. “If I were a person that had an abortion and I saw this, I would be heartbroken.”

Washington State University President Kirk Schulz released a statement the next day emphasizing the university’s commitment to free inquiry.

“In light of the incident which took place yesterday involving the Students for Life display on the Holland Library lawn, it’s important to remind our community again that WSU cherishes freedom of expression on its campuses,” Mr. Schultz said in a statement.

But Mr. Aspell was undeterred, saying he would do it again “in a heartbeat.”

“I pray that other guys do the same thing,” he told The Tab. “A lot of girls might afraid to step up. It might be understandable because the backlash I’ve gotten from guys. I couldn’t imagine being a girl and getting threats from guys telling me they’re going to come to my house and ‘talk’ to me.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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