Generation Action leaders move forward with club
Generation Action students must decide whether to continue to push for a Planned Parenthood affiliation, to become a pro-choice club with no affiliation, or to be affiliated with a different organization.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Northern Idaho released a statement expressing its disappointment with Whitworth’s decision not to renew their partnership.
Public affairs manager Paul Dillon said they were confused about the decision, especially the move to end their service learning partnership.
“We weren’t contacted prior to that decision, and there wasn’t an attempt to have an open discussion with us about it,” Dillon said. “That was disappointing, especially because we’ve been honored to host many Whitworth students over the years who have made wonderful contributions to our community through volunteering with us. Some have even gone on to become our staff.”
Dillon said volunteering and internships are beneficial for students and can help them in securing their careers.
“As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider, educator and advocate, our organizational values and mission direct us to give young people the opportunity to enhance their education and resumes with volunteer positions and internships,” Dillon said. “These are the experiences and opportunities that shape careers, and we were disappointed to see these limited for Whitworth students, especially after so many years of successful partnership.”
Generation Action treasurer Sarah Dixit said choosing a new group isn’t easy. If they created a non-affiliated group, “Students for Choice,” Dixit said it would create the idea that their group is diametrically opposed to Students for Life.
“We’re just trying to knock down those barriers as much as we can,” Dixit said.
Dixit said, in their opinion, that Planned Parenthood isn’t a political issue, but is a healthcare provider. One of their concerns is that the university has allowed Young Americans for Freedom and Students for Life to be partnered with national organizations, but said no to them being partnered with a national organization.
“If the university itself wants to cut ties with Planned Parenthood that’s their right to do so and we understand that that is something they feel they need to do,” Dixit said. “But when it comes to student groups on campus, we feel that a club on campus that’s interacting mostly just with students isn’t necessarily going to [have] Whitworth plastered on it.”
Students for Life president Heidi Thom said their group is having an event next week with Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkin. Hawkin is coming to speak about Planned Parenthood and feminism. Thom said there may be an opportunity to use the speech as a dialogue between the two groups.
Meanwhile, Generation Action students are still determined to have their voices represented on campus. They have been meeting with Planned Parenthood liaisons to discuss steps moving forward, Dixit said.
Dillon said that Planned Parenthood, along with hundreds of Whitworth alumni, community members, and supporters from Spokane and beyond stand behind the Generation Action students and their work to achieve equality on campus.
“The Generation Action members are among the leaders of their generation and the movement for social justice,” Dillon said. “They are incredible advocates who are doing real work to improve health and human rights in their community.”