Petition created in support of arrested professor
Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013 18:04
About 600 people have signed a petition calling for the dismissal of charges against Laura Curry, the adjunct media study instructor who was arrested at Monday’s anti-abortion display outside the Student Union.
Curry was charged with disorderly conduct. She received an appearance ticket for the Amherst Town Court on May 9. Curry is declining to make public comments until after her court date.
She was arrested after vocalizing her distaste for the display, which UB Students for Life brought to campus on Monday and Tuesday. Monday’s display showcased graphic images comparing abortion to genocide and the Holocaust. Curry used the word “f**k” to express her feelings on the display.
Curry’s arrest was filmed on a student’s phone, shared on the Internet and Fox News and The Huffington Post picked up the story.
Cayden Mak, a media study instructor who is involved in Curry’s support committee, said the amount of signatures on the online petition “was approaching 600” as of Thursday morning. The petition and statement were a response to “a lot of the decontextualized coverage of the story in the mainstream media,” according to Mak.
“We are ashamed that a strong emotional response to hate on campus is considered disorderly, while the hate itself is sanctioned,” a statement produced by Curry’s supporters said. “We are alarmed that the University Police used unilateral power in deciding which types of speech are and are not acceptable.”
UPD said it doesn’t make statements and referred comment to UB’s communication department.
“As a public university, it is a fundamental value of UB that all members of the campus community and their invited guests have a right to peacefully express their views and opinions, regardless of whether others may disagree with those expressions,” according to UB’s statement. “This includes the right of protesters to oppose the views or opinions of others, but not in such a way as to limit or prevent the speaker’s freedom of expression or interfere with university operations.”
Those who are signing the petition, titled “Stand With Laura Curry,” are also calling for UB to “take seriously its job of creating a safe and healthy space for learning, work, and play for all members of the community.”