Jenna Morris, ‘17
In his recent email about the decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, President Taylor wrote of how “Whitworth’s relationship with the organization […] sends a confusing signal to many of our constituencies.” This email, too, sends a confusing message, particularly when he continues with the statement that “being connected to an organization like Planned Parenthood sends the unintended message to many that Whitworth has taken a side in this social and political debate.” By cutting ties, Whitworth has most definitely taken a side in the social and political debate. This action is inherently political, since President Taylor is choosing to cater to a particular ‘constituency’, effectively aligning the University with pro-life, anti-Planned Parenthood ideals. To say otherwise is just an imitation nicety to sound sensitive to the concerns of the other side (to cover your own bases in a decision that creates strong polarities). It’s not a surprising action for a Christian college to align itself with the position of most Christian entities. I understand how sensitive an issue this is, and appreciate President Taylor’s genuine commitment to listen to his audiences on both sides, but, please, call it like it is. Don’t act like you are transcending alignment.
Patrick Hickey, ‘17
When I set out with my friends to start this club, I had a dream. I wanted to depoliticize Planned Parenthood, bringing the focus back to the health care services they provide. On Tuesday, I was effectively told by my university’s president that a dream like that was foolish and impossible to accomplish.
This is exactly the reason we need Planned Parenthood to be allowed a voice on this campus; to fight the ignorance surrounding these issues. As an educational institution in the Trump-era post-truth world, how can we justify idly sitting back and letting alternative facts run rampant and unopposed. It is abhorrent that we are giving in to the unjust vilification of a healthcare provider.
The decision Beck [Taylor] made was earth shattering. How am I supposed to dream in the context of a future where ignorance is encouraged and rewarded? How am I supposed to believe we can work for a better world when science and facts are ignored in favor of opinions? How can I justify pursuing a degree to go into public health when I’m told no amount of advocacy or education will change people’s opinions?
Let me be clear, this is the message Beck’s decision sends. It is not a step towards truth, it is a step away from education and towards ignorance. It is a step away from open truthful dialogue and towards discouraging discourse. It is a step away from a neutral position to one that propagates nothing but fear and hatred.
Lauren Klepinger, ‘18
After the announcement that Whitworth is no longer offering credit for internships at Planned Parenthood, many alums and current students shared the Whitworthian’s Facebook post or commented with complaints that Whitworth is discriminating against women, that Beck Taylor is a man deciding how best to support women (and that this is unacceptable), or that Whitworth is disempowering women somehow.
These students seem to be overlooking the fact that Whitworth is not preventing students from working for Planned Parenthood or using its services. This decision is only to decline to give credit for internships there. Students are still free to work as undergrads or seek reproductive care there, financially support them and advocate for them on campus.
Higher education institutions choose not to partner with local organizations for a myriad of reasons. As long as students can still get the same professional experience at other women’s health clinics in the area such as I-CHOICE or North Spokane Women’s Health, Whitworth has a right to end their professional relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Many pro-choice students may feel that cutting ties with Planned Parenthood means Whitworth is announcing a pro-life position, but pro-life students may have felt all these years that partnering with Planned Parenthood meant Whitworth was endorsing abortion. It’s a sticky situation, but at the end of the day, Whitworth is an openly religious institution, so students shouldn’t be outraged when decisions are made that align with a particular religious code.
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