A group of students from the Portland State University Graduate School of Social Work tabled for reproductive rights in the South Park Blocks yesterday afternoon.
The group had pamphlets and brochures from a variety of groups, including Planned Parenthood, Cascade HIV Center and the PSU Women’s Resource Center. Their aim was to present a variety of options to passers-by.
The students were tabling as part of a project for the Community Organizing class taught by Mindy Holliday.
For the class, the students asked people to fill out a survey regarding reproductive rights. In return, they were given free cookies, informational leaflets and free sex packets, which included flavored condoms, breath mints, lubricant gel and an HIV test.
Their goal was to “get the word out” about reproductive rights, according to one of the students, Betty Groshong.
The students’ biggest concerns regard plans discussed by the Bush administration.
One pamphlet the students were handing out from Planned Parenthood stated, “George W. Bush has appeased his domestic hard-right political base by pursuing a steady campaign to eliminate reproductive freedom.”
The pamphlet, also sponsored by www.saveROE.com, additionally stated that some of the administration’s drastic plans to undercut reproductive rights include “instituting gag rules that censor free speech; supporting legislation that limits access to family planning and abortion services; sinking large sums of money into medically unproven abstinence-only sexuality education; and nominating staunchly anti-choice judges to federal benches.”
The group felt the PSU community was their target audience to reach with their information regarding reproductive rights, and the possibility of losing them.
“People right on this campus stand to lose the most from the Bush administration,” Groshong stated.
The students initially tried to obtain a space outside the Urban Center to hold their tabling event.
According to Kim Glaspell, one of the students, they were told by a representative from the Urban Center that there was no policy regarding people setting up tables or events in front of the building.
Representatives from the office of the dean of the Urban Center told the students that “it was a big fat no,” according to Glaspell, and they would not be allowed to hold their tabling event outside the building. The dean’s office did not want the space to become open to people selling jewelry, Glaspell said.
Yesterday morning, however, a large Jacuzzi was set up outside of the Urban Center. Groshong was told that OregonLive was taping something.
When the students inquired further, a representative from the Urban Center told them, “publicity for PSU was more important than students carrying out social projects,” Groshong said.