Facing protests, Edgewood College defends decision, criticizes group behind it

Courtesy: WMTV
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The Interim President of Edgewood College blasted the organization that pressured school administrators to remove a link to a document that listed Planned Parenthood as an off-campus wellness resource -- however, she gave no indication the college would restore the link.

After a day of fierce student protests on her campus, Interim President Mary Gevelinger issued the letter explaining why the link was removed and criticizing the group that led charge against it, TFP Student Action.

Gevelinger did not show up to meet with protesters and was not on campus at the time of the event, one of the protest's organizers, Jade Proctor, told NBC 15 News. The Edgewood sophomore said the fact the school president didn't attend was "disheartening and very, very frustrating."

"It just goes to show how much power the students have if they can make her this afraid of us," she added, noting the protestors are already planning more events.

Gevelinger said she did meet with students on Friday afternoon "to make sure we share accurate information."

According to Gevelinger, the members of TFP Student Action, which she says targets colleges and universities as part of their political agenda, started sending emails and leaving voicemails urging Edgewood to take down the link. She said administrators tried ignoring the requests, but they kept increasing and the pressure kept growing, especially after TFP launched a 'petition drive.'

Fearing the value of the school may be threatened, school leaders pulled the link following consultations with the President's Council "and others," Gevelinger continued.

After the TFP claimed victory, she continued, a student-run, conservative news website, The College Fix, wrote a story about the incident that was re-published on Breitbart.

"None of these organizations share our values," Gevelinger said in the letter. "They have a specific political agenda that is made clear by their actions, and by their product."

Gevelinger acknowledged the combined effort of those organizations was "especially hurtful" to the LGBTQ+ community and said their views and actions are "diametrically opposed to Edgewood College and the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa."

"We do no not tolerate intolerance. And when one of us feels threatened or unsafe, it is up to each of us, in community, to reach out and address it," she continued, also pointing out that no school administrators had seen or signed any of the petitions.

In responding to a tweet about the petition in which the user described TFP Action as a hate group, it responded that the issue was about abortion and asked rhetorically, "procured abortion is the immoral execution of an innocent person before his or her birth. Why do you consider the effort to save babies lives as "hate"?

Gevelinger pointed out the school couldn't do anything about TFP's claim that “a few days and 15,231 petitions later, Planned Parenthood was removed from the college’s website.”

Despite not restoring the link to the document, which contains 33 resources in all, Gevelinger says it is still available in the Wellness Center and staff will hand it out during consultations.