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Bristol Palin Nixed From Abstinence Panel Following Student Protests


Jan. 28 2011, Published 2:20 p.m. ET

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Bristol Palin was dropped from talking on a Washington University panel next month following protests by the University’s student body can report.

The 20-year-old single mother had been invited by the Student Health Advisory Committee to talk about abstinence as part of the University’s Student Sexual Responsibility Week, reportedly in return for a fee of “several thousand dollars”.

However, Palin’s appearance was cancelled Thursday after undergraduates protested the use of student-generated funds to pay her.

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According to a University statement: “The message that they intended on sharing would be overshadowed by controversy.”

But, the student advisory’s president, Scott Elman was quick to stress that the decision was “100 percent mutual” between Palin and the committee. Going on to say that he was disappointed that students weren’t more open to the idea of Palin talking.

Bristol became pregnant at 17 and is a single mother to her 2-year-old son Tripp, by ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston.

Student government sources say they were ordered not to reveal Palin’s agreed fee for her scheduled appearance, but the daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is signed with Single Source Speakers and it is reported she is able to command between $15,000 and $30,000 per speaking engagement.

"It's not necessarily in opposition to the ideas that are being presented," Philip Thomas, the student who started the protest said. "People are getting so angry because of the opposition to Palin's lack of expertise and the high cost she is charging.”

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Going on to point out that recent budget cuts have meant that other student activities have been adversely affected.

Another student, Ryan McCombe created a Facebook petition protesting Palin’s appearance, which racked up 102 members within 24 hours, and some scathing comments.

“It's not about conservative or liberal, it's about not wasting our money on people who don't matter... especially people who are only famous for being the teenage pregnant daughter of a politician,” one post reads. “That is not a credential - it's a gimmick. So reach across the aisle - and stand up

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and say something.”

“Bristol Palin got pregnant at 17, and rose to fame on none of her own merits, only the fact that her mother ran for Vice President, she has zero credentials in this area, and costs a ton of money,” writes another student. “Also - we're kind of a laughing stock now at other Universities as people become aware that this is what our University has chosen to do... let's get a group started and cut the BS.”

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And another: “I am against Bristol Palin coming to WashU for a number of reasons, not first of which is that it could be paying for some genuine education. Also, this is a place of learning and Abstinence programs were created in reaction and as a replacement for sex-education.

“I mean, is Bristol honestly going to say that she was trying to make a baby and lay back and thought of england? Or that that she had sex, without understanding the steps to be taken in order not to become pregnant?”

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Student Union Treasury Representative, Greg Porter tells “We decide how money is allocated between the student union groups. There are well over 200 groups - Bristol’s speech was suggested by the Student Health Advisory Committee.

“I disagreed with the choice because a lot of the students weren’t happy about it. I think it’s important  to value what the students want, as many students don’t want her on campus and I thought it was important to give them what they wanted.

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“I don’t think she was the best choice, she would have been alright but there would have been someone more qualified to do it. Just because she happened to be the daughter of a vice presidential candidate doesn’t make her qualified compared to someone who has

overcome a more extreme event in their lives.

“Many students were upset that we were spending $20,000 on having her speak as they think she’s unqualified, and there are a lot of other groups that don’t have enough funding. I’m sure she had good intentions though and wasn’t in it for the money.

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“The main thing that people objected to is that she was only chosen because of her mom’s presidential campaign.”

Palin has been replaced on the panel by Dr. Katie Plax, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine. Other speakers include representatives from Planed Parenthood, Missouri Right To Life and the University’s Catholic Student Center.




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