OSU Law Student Threatened for Pro-life Beliefs

Ohio Right to Life Seeks Meeting with School Administration

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE       CONTACT: Katherine Franklin
DATE: Wednesday, December 2, 2015     PHONE: 614-547-0099 ext. 304

COLUMBUS, Ohio--Today, Ohio Right to Life delivered a letter to The Ohio State University, requesting a meeting with the president, Michael Drake, and the Dean of Moritz College of Law, Alan Michaels. The letter comes in light of ongoing threats made to a second-year law student, Madison Gesiotto, regarding an article she recently wrote for The Washington Times. The article, which discusses the disproportionate number of African American babies who are aborted, has been the subject of much hostility on campus and online. Upon receiving the threat, Ms. Gesiotto requested a meeting with Michaels. Ms. Gesiotto reports that the focus of the meeting was on the content of her work rather than the threat made against her.  

Madison_Gesiotto_with_text.jpg"Any threats made to students should be taken seriously, not callously tossed aside," said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. "It's alarming not only that Madison is being treated as an outcast by her peers, but also by some of her school's administration. In an age when academia boasts 'inclusion' and 'diversity,' the school's admonishment of Madison's beliefs rather than of those who seek to exclude her is hypocritical and perilous to the practice of First Amendment rights on campus."

The goal of Ohio Right to Life's letter to President Drake and Dean Michaels is to arrange a meeting to discuss how students' rights can be secured on campus. According to Ms. Gesiotto, Dean Michaels and two other deans met with her in October, not to discuss the threat made against her, but to address the following:

  • To critique the content of her article on the disparity in abortions among African Americans
  • To recommend she remove from her online biography her position as a staff editor of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law
  • To urge Ms. Gesiotto to participate in a “facilitated discussion” with those opposing her work

"The administration should know that it's alienating and potentially endangering a good percentage of its students, as roughly half of the country identifies as 'pro-life,'" said Gonidakis. "Regardless of what a student believes, a taxpayer-funded institution like Ohio State must prioritize her right to express herself. These recent events should concern every parent and every OSU student who wants an education that fosters diversity in belief."

To read Ohio Right to Life's letter to The Ohio State University, click here.

Founded in 1967, Ohio Right to Life, with more than 45 chapters and local affiliates, is Ohio's oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement in Ohio, ORTL works through legislation and education to promote and defend innocent human life from conception to natural death. 
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  • commented 2015-12-04 19:00:30 -0500
    It IS interesting that abortion rates are so much higher in the black community. But let’s have a more sensitive discussion about what may be causing it, and how we can really address the inequity. How much of the inequity is explained by racial differences in usage of condoms / birth control, and is that driven by cultural factors or income and access? It doesn’t help that she isn’t black, but that shouldn’t preclude her from approaching the issue more thoughtfully, if not scientifically. This is how law students are supposed to approach problems.

    The fact remains many blacks find it offensive to make abortion a racial issue. It’s her responsibility to tread carefully and approach the issue in a way that creates productive discourse. If she feels legitimately threatened, she needs to go to the police. OSU has no responsibility here, especially if the threats are coming from off campus, in response to something she wrote in an off-campus publication. She exposed herself to scrutiny by tackling a dicey subject without much tact. So what if her peers exclude her? Either own what you wrote or take a more thoughtful approach and earn people’s respect.
  • commented 2015-12-03 19:29:07 -0500
    The linked 2 page letter is a good read.

    Assuming it accurately depicts the actions of Ohio State administrators, it sounds like they are treating Ms. Gesiotto’s written views as a kind of “infection” that they need to contain and isolate from other students.

    And still, the death threat to Ms. Gesiotto has not been addressed. I hope she reports it to the local police and possibly also the FBI if applicable.

    Ironic — my adopted son is a rabid Ohio State fan. And he is a child whose underage teen mom wisely left him at the hospital.

    And he is black.

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