Pro-life group and Christian university differ on what happened
A pro-life group at Huntington University in Indiana is “looking forward” to starting up in the upcoming semester after an initial delay.
Students for Life of America told The College Fix via email that it hopes to get the group up and running with full university approval.
The group sent a demand letter to Huntington University after a student reported that the university said the group was “too political.”
“They never responded to any of my emails,” the student’s blog stated. “They never gave me updates on where the group was at in the approvals process. HU gave me the silent treatment because they did not want to put my group through the proper approval process.”
“[F]inally, after waiting months with false hope, HU administration let me meet with the staff in charge of student clubs, and this individual basically told me that they don’t want the group to be a nationally affiliated one (even though the school has other national affiliated clubs),” the anonymous accusation stated. “I agreed and decided to change the name of my group so that I was not associated with SFLA (a real compromise because I really wanted to be affiliated with SFLA).”
SFLA spokeswoman Caroline Wharton told The Fix that after sending a demand letter, the national pro-life group had a “fruitful discussion with the school’s legal team” and it is “looking forward to these pro-life students starting their group in the fall.”
SFLA did not respond to a follow-up request for a copy of the demand letter.
Huntington disputed SFLA’s narrative of what happened.
In an email to The Fix on June 21, a spokeswoman for Huntington said that the university “has not denied permission for the proposed club to continue in the process to seek approval.”
Lynette Fager, the director of communications, also disputed the statement that the university’s approval process should take no longer than a month and a half.
“This is not stated in any HU policy, nor is it any part of the implied procedure,” Fager told The Fix. She said that while some clubs are approved within weeks, others can require up to a year or more, especially ones that are affiliated with national organizations. The university’s approval process “involves multiple levels of authorization and communication.”
The university also confirmed that it had been in talks with SFLA, saying it had contacted the group before the seven-day deadline. “Both counsels have met, and HU remains committed to a dialog that supports the University and the student,” Fager said.
“The University looks forward to engaging with the student involved in this case in the upcoming fall semester and will assist in navigating the application process for the proposed student-led club,” she continued.
She also said Huntington remains committed to supporting the sanctity of human life.
The university describes itself as having a “strong historic and ongoing relationship with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ” which calls abortion a “major moral problem in our society” that “must not occur anytime after conception.”
“Huntington University continues to honor God as the Creator of all life and is intentional in encouraging students to pursue their calling and vocation through student-led organizations,” Fager told The Fix.
IMAGE: Students for Life of America/Facebook