Regional Planned Parenthood ‘disappointed’ by separation

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.”

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Alternative donations for Day of Giving

Last Tuesday, Whitworth hosted “A Day of Giving.” The event was a 24-hour fundraising campaign that ran April 25-26. Faculty, staff, administrators and students made donations to help fund scholarships, athletics and academics. 

The student-run organization Generation Action also hosted a Day of Giving event. They called it “Planned Parenthood Day of Giving.” 

President of Generation Action, junior Margot Spindola was the secretary of the event.

“We created this event as a sign of solidarity,” Spindola said. 

Spindola wanted the event to be a vocal sign of protest, she said. She posted the event on Facebook and said about 60 people donated to the local Planned Parenthood organization. 

Another member of Generation Action, junior Sonia Klouse, said the Facebook page was an alternative to giving donations if anyone disagreed with the decision to separate from Planned Parenthood.

“For people who wanted to show their distaste in this decision, because Whitworth seems to listen more to money than to student opinion, we thought offering an alternative opinion for donations would allow people to voice their support for Planned Parenthood and their dissatisfaction for [President] Beck Taylor and the administration,”  Klouse said. 

Klouse said it was largely alumni who donated to Planned Parenthood. She said it’s the same idea as Whitworth’s 24-hours of giving, but you can continue to give after that 24 hours.

“We don’t have a number on how much money was raised or not,”  Klouse said. “We also decided if people wanted to be extra cheeky they could make a donation in Beck’s name or in behalf of a board of trustees member.

Devon Clements, another member of Generation Action, does not want to give up on partnering with Planned Parenthood.  

After hearing Taylor’s dialogue during the community forum, some members of Generation Action wanted to do more. Making the Facebook page required little effort, resulting in a step forward, Clements said.

“If the student concerns aren’t going to be enough to warrant any kind of reaction or attempt to further any kind of dialogue, then perhaps making a financial statement on the day of giving for Planned Parenthood instead of Whitworth might help make a statement,” Clements said. “It’s not so much of an act of hostile protest, but more of a sit-down protest.”

The group invited people to the Facebook page when they thought would participate in the event. They had some faculty and staff who posted on the page saying congrats and to keep working towards their goals, Clements said.

“It was huge for us to see established faculty and staff who were supporting us, so that was really great,” Clements said.

The minimum donation was $5 and with about 60 people donating, Generation Actioncontributed to the $300 that was donated to Planned Parenthood by creating the Facebook page. 

“This was not an ‘in your face,’ kind of thing, but more along the lines of let’s show that there is still a large community who still wants to see this affiliation happen,” Clements said.

Kristen Grattan

Staff Writer