Fresno professor confronts pro-life group

Fresno, Calif. – A pro-life group is suing a professor that erased their political messages written in chalk on a college campus.

He says erasing the message is part of his speech.

Rich Rodriguez has video of a student and the professor clashing over the messages.

Professor Greg Thatcher can be heard on the video saying, “You had permission to put it down. I have permission to get rid of it.

Bernadette Tasy replied, “Good to know.”

“This is our part of free speech,” said Dr. Thatcher. “Do you disagree with our part of free speech?”

This describes the showdown between Fresno State Public Health Professor Dr. Greg Thatcher and student Bernadette Tasy.

The pro-life student group used chalk to write messages that support life.

Students in Thatcher’s class also got involved. One of them said, “We have a teacher that’s telling us to get rid of it so.”

Tasy asked, “What’s your teacher’s name?”

“Thatcher.”

Less than two weeks later, the pro-life group decided to file a federal lawsuit against thatcher.

Tasy later told KMPH, “He has a right to his own opinion but a university professor should be encouraging free speech rights for students, not censoring them.”

The group is represented by “Alliance Defending Freedom”.

It wants to make sure students’ First Amendment rights are protected.

It also wants to hold Dr. Thatcher accountable for his actions.

Attorneys are not seeking punitive damages.

Thatcher said during the confrontation, “College campuses are not free speech areas. Do you understand? Obviously you don’t understand.”

Fresno State President Joseph Castro was quick to respond. He said in a statement, “Fresno State supports and defends the right of students to free speech. The students who wrote the chalk messages were well within their rights. We are reviewing this matter and take the situation very seriously.”

Tasy said, “It’s great to have the university speak out like that.”

The university also said that free speech is not limited to any particular area on campus.

Its statement went on to indicate that expressing free speech is not a suitable defense to stifling someone else’s right to speak.

 

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