Monday, June 18, 2018
Education

Antiabortion group turns heads at the University of South Florida

TAMPA — It was Valentine's Day, overcast and rainy. Students walked to the library, to the sandwich shop, to their next class, and when they saw the display their eyes and jaws grew round.

They were looking at a decidedly stark antiabortion protest Thursday at the University of South Florida, organized by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. The visiting group is an international antiabortion organization that demonstrates at colleges with its Genocide Awareness Project, comparing abortion to history's most deplorable mass killings.

Huge posters wrapped around the grass outside the USF library, showing Holocaust and Darfur victims, lynchings, Cambodian killing fields and abused children alongside pictures of abortions. One sign compared an abortion after rape to an honor killing.

The two-dozen Genocide Awareness Project members arrived Wednesday at USF, where they have protested a few times in the past. The university allows free speech anywhere on campus as long as the activities are safe and don't block doors or disrupt learning.

Nicole Cooley, one of the group's project directors, wore a sweatshirt that said, "I regret my abortion. Ask me about it!" She had an abortion 17 years ago after being raped, she said. She supported abortion rights until she held the fetus. It was all hard to grasp.

"If what I did was wrong, it meant I killed another human being, and that was very painful," said Cooley, 43. "My heart shattered."

She knew the pictures Thursday were shocking. She said the group ascribes to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s idea of confronting people with uncomfortable things in order to bring change.

Across the sidewalk, USF students from organizations including Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom wore bright clothes under wet ponchos and passed out condoms. Graduate student Becky Killik, 24, pointed to the posters. The images could trigger traumas for people just trying to get to class, she said. "It dilutes the definition of genocide and makes it less impactful. … They're hurting people."

Tam Tran, 19, was on his way to study group wearing a hot pink shirt and tie. He stopped next to a student arguing with one of the antiabortion protestors. He didn't know what to think, he said. He stared at a poster, a fistful of red holiday carnations drooping in his hand.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Editor’s note: Ethan Hooper wrote today’s column to give Ernest Hooper Father’s Day off.In May, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in elementary education, and I recently secured a job as a first-grade teacher with Orang...
Updated: 7 hours ago
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Published: 06/16/18
School board races attract new faces

School board races attract new faces

TAMPA — When long-time Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes resigned this month from the board to run for the State House of Representatives, the decision affected more than just her seat in west Hillsborough’s District 1.It also coul...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/17/18
Hillsborough schools tax referendum is unlikely for November

Hillsborough schools tax referendum is unlikely for November

TAMPA — Money that the Hillsborough County School District needs to build schools and replace air conditioners might be farther from reach, thanks to a new state law and a bureaucratic process required before the voters can decide on a tax referendum...
Published: 06/14/18
University of Chicago eliminates SAT/ACT requirement

University of Chicago eliminates SAT/ACT requirement

The University of Chicago will no longer require ACT or SAT scores from U.S. students, sending a jolt through elite institutions of higher education as it becomes the first top-10 research university to join the test-optional movement.Numerous school...
Published: 06/14/18
Unhappy with superintendent’s budget wish list, Hernando School Board shuts down talk of tax increase

Unhappy with superintendent’s budget wish list, Hernando School Board shuts down talk of tax increase

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano presented to the School Board Tuesday nearly $53 million worth of budget priorities, asking them to choose which will be funded in the upcoming school year.The board voted 3-2 later Tue...
Published: 06/13/18
UT shines the spotlight on visiting authors

UT shines the spotlight on visiting authors

The University of Tampa’s MFA program will host the June 2018 Residency Visiting Writers Lectores Series that runs from now until June 21 on the ninth floor of the Vaughn Center, 401 W Kennedy Blvd. Each reading will be held at 7:30 p.m.Each January ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Hernando School Board fires Superintendent Lori Romano after member says she ‘lost the public trust’

Hernando School Board fires Superintendent Lori Romano after member says she ‘lost the public trust’

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano will step down at the end of this month following a 3-2 vote by the School Board to terminate its contract with her amid increasing concerns about her ability to lead.Romano has suffere...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/13/18
Pasco summit aims to merge school cultures while making students feel included

Pasco summit aims to merge school cultures while making students feel included

NEW PORT RICHEY — The dozen Fivay High school students and their administrators arrived at the Pasco County school district’s annual Together We Stand conference with a clear goal in mind.With hundreds of former Ridgewood High students arriving in th...
Published: 06/12/18
Central’s air rifle team prepares for national competition

Central’s air rifle team prepares for national competition

BROOKSVILLE — Historic Camp Perry is where it’s at. Located near Clinton, Ohio, the National Guard training facility is where the nation’s top shooters go to compete.Next week, some of Hernando County’s top shooters compete there in the Civilian Mark...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/14/18