to Pro-Life Exhibit at UMass/Amherst
Display Trashed by Vandals
The "tolerant" types
at UMass/Amherst have protested a pro-life
exhibit this week by taking crosses off dead
babies in a mythical graveyard, throwing them
in a pond and breaking them in half.
They've also threatened to beat up students,
who have had to call the police a total of
four times in the last three days.
One UMass/Amherst undergraduate
was assaulted while manning the exhibit that
was displayed next to the Student Union.
Taking a stand: Kiera
Manikoff, a UMass Junior, is proud of her
pro-life and pro-child views.
Kiera Manikoff, a political
science major and a junior, scuffled with a female
who verbally harassed her and held a hammer over her.
Charges are pending against the assailant.
Desiring to start a debate
about abortion during Holy Week, members of the UMass
Republican Club purchased lumber last week to erect
160 crosses which they painted white. On Sunday night,
April 13, the students set up the crosses to simulate
an "abortion graveyard."
Signs with provocative
messages were interspersed through the graveyard.
One sign explained the white crosses: "Abortion
kills 160 babies in the U.S. every hour." Another
said: "Abortion doesn't make you unpregnant,
it makes you the mother of a dead baby."
On Monday morning, Manikoff,
a petite brunette, stopped by the display. Club members
expected mischief to occur, so Manikoff came prepared
with a hammer and nails to repair any signs or crosses.
But she was unprepared for an encounter with an irate
Sign of the Times: The
Republican Club's 'abortion graveyard' featured
a placard which notes the scope and frequency
of late-term abortions.
comes up, runs up to the graveyard and picks
up one of the crosses and cracks it over her
knee. She then goes up to the abortion sign,
and she pulls it out," said Manikoff.
Manikoff walked over with her
tools and confronted the women.
"I said, 'Excuse me. You
may not agree with what I have to say, but
you cannot destroy our property. We have a
right to do this.'"
The woman responded by telling
Manikoff she found the display "horribly
offensive." Then the encounter took a
"She reaches across
and takes the hammer out of my hand, gesturing it
in my face and going, 'How dare you as a woman. You
should be ashamed of yourself.'"
A scuffle ensued as Manikoff
attempted to prevent the larger woman from swinging
the hammer. Manikoff ended up on the ground after
her assailant pushed her.
Although over a dozen spectators
were watching the altercation, only two young men,
whom Manikoff described as teenagers, came to her
assistance. "We saw the whole thing. We're sorry
we couldn't get here in time to get her off you,"
The campus police
were called, and Manikoff gave them her statement,
as did the other woman. The police log describes
it: "Caller reporting that she had an
altercation with a member of a group who have
set up an anti-abortion demonstration on the
lawn outside the Earthfood market." They
have not released the name of Manikoff's assailant.
UMass Deputy Police Chief Patrick
Archibald told the Daily Hampshire Gazette
that "The incident is still under review
by the district attorney's office. We feel
pretty confident those charges [vandalism
and assault] will go forward, as well as civil
Although she was assaulted
for confronting an abortion supporter who
vandalized the Republican Club's exhibit,
student Kiera Manikoff remains committed to
Regarding the civil rights
charge, Manikoff said a campus officer contacted her
on Tuesday, April 15, and told her that the other
woman had "inhibited your right to express yourself."
Dave Peterson, a Republican
Club member, was manning the exhibit during the noontime
shift on Wednesday, April 16. He said that the incident
involving Manikoff was not the only harassment the
pro-life students have faced.
Yet Peterson sees the silver
lining, "We've gotten a lot of good debate out
of it, too."
"I was a little shaken,
but it motivated us more," adds Kiera Manikoff
of the Republican Club's willingness - as well as
her willingness - to continue to take a stand for
Izzy Lyman can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trashed by Vandals
Overnight on April 16 someone trashed
the pro-life display near the student union building.
They broke all the crosses and formed the pieces into
the phrase "We will not go back to coat hangers".
With each passing day more and more vandalism was
directed at the pro-life display.
As the debate heated up the pro-abortion people began
to hold counter protests using colored chalk to scribble
their messages all over the sidewalks and walls near
the pro-life display.
On Friday, April 18, The Daily Collegian printed a
picture of a pro-life student standing with a gag
over his mouth holding a sign that read "Silenced
by the Radical Left" The student, Matt Progen,
is a member of the Republican Club which had sponsored
the Pro-Life Display.