A pro-life student group has been blocked by the student government of the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), on account of it being “designated” as “a hate group.”
The issue of abortion has been one of the longest standing and most acrimonious debates and divisions in US society, including in universities – so, difference of opinion and passions flaring around the topic would be nothing new. However, reaching for the “hate group” epithet here to justify the ban looks like a fairly new development.
In fact, judging by reports quoting students opposed to pro-life activists on the campus being allowed to organize, the decision runs deeper than the issue itself, as it reveals how vulnerable the very notion of diversity, as in, diversity of opinion – so crucial in any true democracy – has become.
BREAKING: University of Northern Iowa Student Government Denies Pro-Life Group, Labels it "Hate Group"@StudentsforLife pic.twitter.com/8rbTXHXhnW
That's at least according to Zoom recordings published by Young America's Foundation, that revealed some of the most ardent critics of their fellow students of pro-life persuasion apparently willing to do away with the very concept of diversity – if it fails to align with their personal, “pro-choice” beliefs.
“I would argue that not all opinions are equal,” one student is heard saying, in what could be interpreted as a more radical, yet not-too-distant an echo of the George Orwell quote about “all animals being equal – but some animals being more equal than others.”
(That's how it works in fictional dystopia, or in a real-world authoritarian regime: but that's not how it should work in any kind of real democracy.)
As if that wasn't bad enough, this student further rationalized why not everyone is equal in their right to hold and express an opinion: “There are opinions, and then there are opinions that get people killed, in many cases.”
And then, the death-knell to any hope of democracy and tolerance, at least in this “school of thought”:
“There's really no middle ground here.”
Ominously, and obviously – where “there is no middle ground” there can only be conflict; but apparently not all is lost here, as this UNI issue is not yet over. The Students for Life of America (SFLA) announced that the “pro-life” university group contacted them for legal counsel – and that the university president will now deal with the appeals process.