The senator said, as a private university, “we have the right to protect our students from things that are uncomfortable. Why should people have to defend their beliefs on their way to class?”
The rather dubious reasoning here is that student groups opposed to abortion make students feel uncomfortable, but student groups opposed to Israel make everyone on campus feel at home.
On March 12th, a pro-life group at Johns Hopkins University, Voice for Life (VFL), was denied the right to become an official student club by the Student Government Association (SGA) during a student Senate meeting, after having been recommended for approval by the SGA Appointments and Evaluations Committee. At that same SGA meeting, though, another new group was approved called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Although SJP has a history of anti-Semitism and disruption on other campuses, the SGA decided that the students from JHU creating the group were separate from other campus affiliations, and they couldn’t be punished for potential violations.
The SGA explained that they decided not to grant official club status to Voice for Life because:
1) The pro-life group’s intentions to peacefully engage in sidewalk counseling off campus at a Baltimore abortion facility “clearly violates the JHU Harassment and Code of Conduct policies.”
But the SJP's habit of protesting Holocaust memorial commemorations and holding Israeli Apartheid Weeks, while assaulting pro-Israel students, is apparently completely in line with said code of conduct.
A class senator of the SGA, said in the e-mail chain that she objected to Voice for Life because of the GAP display on campus, saying she and others “felt personally violated, targeted and attacked at a place where we previously felt safe and free to live our lives … this sidewalk attack on how abortions are hateful and such amounts to hate speech.”
Regarding Voice for Life and free speech, the senator said, as a private university, “we have the right to protect our students from things that are uncomfortable. … Why should people have to defend their beliefs on their way to class?”
Good question. It's not like Johns Hopkins is a university or anything.
But if the SGA is going that route, then it shouldn't approve any groups that engage in campus protests or hold positions that offend some students.
The SJP approval makes it clear that there is a double standard and that the issue is not tactics, but views that the SGA agrees with and those it disagrees with.