Letter to the Editor, Oct. 10, 2017

Photo credit: Molly Putman

Dear UAF Community,

My name is John Dougherty. I am a senior in the Communication-Journalism department, minoring in marketing. I am also the president of Arctic Students for Life.

I helped start this club a little over a year ago with the mission of promoting a culture of life, and equal rights for pregnant women and the unborn on UAF campus. We have tables in the Wood Center to inform people about the moral, emotional and scientific problems with abortion and the abortion industry. Flier campaigns help us to keep the issue in front of students, and we have hosted different events for the public on campus, with plans to do more in the future.

Our club also reaches out to mothers on campus. We have been involved in working to increase usability of UAF for mothers on campus, and have participated in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative. We have organized diaper drives and volunteer at the local Crisis Pregnancy Center.

We also want to be a home to the 53% of millennials who think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. We are a gathering of pro-life students helping to spread the word of love and life.

In order to help educate the community on our position, we invite speakers on campus to discuss the issues surrounding abortion the abortion industry.

On Sept. 18, we had the privilege of hosting Dr. John Eidsmoe at UAF. Dr. Eidsmoe has two doctorates, one in law, and two masters degrees. He also graduated from the Air Command & Staff College and the Air War College. He has served as Senior Staff Attorney at the Alabama Supreme Court and currently is a professor of constitutional law at the Oak Bridge College of Law and Government Policy. We were excited to have a man of this experience speak at UAF. We put flyers all around the campus and promoted the event on social media. We also invited the Sun Star to do an article about the speech.

Dr. Eidsmoe gave a powerful lecture in which he addressed the moral, scientific and legal issues with abortion and Roe v. Wade. At the end of his speech he opened it up for questions and answers. Even though people with opposing viewpoints where attending, things were kept respectful and many good questions were asked. However, for a few minutes, the pro-abortion crowd reverted to an all to familiar tactic, when facts aren’t on your side, attack the opponents character.

One of the attendees from the Hrrrl Scouts, a feminist club on campus, asked if it was true that a Tea Party group canceled an appearance by Dr. Eidsmoe because of fears that he was a white supremacist. Dr. Eidsmoe explained that this allegation was false; he had canceled his appearance to avoid potential issues. He had given a speech for an organization that he later found to have affiliations to a white supremacist movement. Because of his dignity and decency and to avoid being a distraction, he had canceled the appearance at the Tea Party rally.

It was these two minutes that the Sun Star reporter used as the focus of the article. There wasn’t even a single paragraph about the actual content of the speech, how many people attended, other questions asked by attendees, nor almost anything other than the racial issue.

I get this. As a journalist, the prospect of a story about racism and white supremacy, especially in the current political environment, is huge. But, I also recognize the important job a reporter has to actually report the news. To write an entire article about an off-topic two minute part of a pro-life lecture is journalistically wrong. The Sun Star has a duty to rise to a more professional and higher journalistic standard than was exhibited in this piece. In the future, I hope the Sun Star and their reporters can return to fair and accurate reporting of the news. Doing this will not only be fair to our club, it will benefit the campus as a whole by ensuring we are an informed public.

Sincerely,

John Dougherty, President of Arctic Students for Life

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