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FIGHTING WORDS: Bristol Palin Attacks University That Dumped Her From Speaking About Abstinence


Jan. 28 2011, Published 7:12 a.m. ET

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One thing Bristol Palin is NOT abstaining from is engaging in a war of words with the university that dumped her from a paid speaking engagement about abstinence.

The 20-year-old single mom was dumped by Washington University after a student uproar over  her invitation and speaking fee, which was not revealed but estimated to be as high as $20,000.

Now Bristol’s lawyer has release this statement to, slamming the university and even suggesting the Palin name is the real reason she was dumped.

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"Bristol was invited to speak with college students as part of a panel. Evidently she has now been disinvited because of apparent concerns by some vocal members of the undergraduate community,” the statement reads.

“Bristol is deeply disappointed that an institution that publicly claims to "listen to diverse and sometimes conflicting perspectives, to contribute rigorous academic standards and unbiased scholarship to discussions, and to encourage a civil discourse in which a pluralistic society can respectfully address complex and difficult issues" would withdraw an invitation to a speaker because of "uproar" over their assumed content of her message or even worse, because of her last name."

As previously reported Palin’s scheduled appearance was cancelled following protests.

One student claiming there were 563 signatures on a petition against Bristol and just 7 students standing in favor of her.

One student, Ryan McCombe, 20, who is studying economics and strategy at the University, explains why he took an anti-Palin stance.

“The issue meant a lot to me because I am a registered Republican and my vote went to Sarah Palin, but most of this didn’t have anything to do with politics – this isn’t about it being Sarah Palin's daughter,” He told

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“This is about paying an exorbitant amount of money to someone whose life has improved because of teenage pregnancy.

“Bristol got pregnant at 17 and is cashing in on that, she’s not someone we should be hearing from. I want to hear from someone who had dreams and goals that were put on hold by teenage pregnancy - instead, her life has been improved financially and publicity-wise.

“It’s very interesting how a 20-year-old who has only a GED can afford a 5-bedroom house.  We don’t want our student union money going to her mortgage, we’re promoting responsibility.

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“She’s promoting ‘do as I say, not as I do,’ and I don’t agree with that. The story she has to tell doesn’t line up with the reality of the situation. She may say ‘I had all these dreams and they weren’t realized’, but she has been way more successful simply because she got pregnant at such a young age.

“She wouldn’t have been invited on Dancing With The Stars if she hadn’t gotten pregnant as a teenager. I have no intention of funding Sixteen And Pregnant or Teen Mom either!”

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When it comes to Palin’s agreed fee, student government sources say they were ordered not to disclose the exact amount, just that $20,000 was allocated to cover the costs of the ENTIRE panel.

However, it’s unlikely that the other panel members, Planned Parenthood, the Catholic Student Center and the Student Health Services were being paid for their appearance on the panel – leaving a sizeable chunk of change for Palin, even after all other costs, such as venue rental, were met.

Bristol Palin
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But not every student was against Bristol - Scott Elman was one of the student representatives that were campaigning on behalf of Bristol speaking, and he explains to “The Student Health Advisory Committee promotes safe sex goals and trying to reduce unwanted pregnancy, we thought no issue could be discussed fully without talking about abstinence.

“We thought that having Bristol, would attract a lot of students to come to the panel and promote discussion about safe sex and abstinence. We didn’t want to do as it was a publicity stunt, but thought someone who has gone through teen pregnancy and an ambassador for Candie’s Foundation, which promotes abstinence  would be more than qualified to talk.

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“Our goal was to engage the student body as much as possible. We were surprised by the reaction, we expected some controversy but never expected it to get so out of hand. We think people hear the name Bristol Palin and just think of her mother.

“Some people don’t think she’s qualified just because she had a baby as a teen but I don’t think they realized why she actually is qualified or why we chose her.

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“We expect students to be open to another point of view and we’re a little disappointed in the way they reacted and the overall message was getting lost.

“Bristol, her agent, I and the committee decided that it wasn’t the best time to have her speak. I think Bristol is upset but she understands the message that she’s trying to promote is more important than her personal feelings. I am very disappointed that she’s not coming.

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“No contract was signed we were just in talks. I totally believe that Bristol has a strong message to share and that she has turned her story into a positive message that people deserve to hear in a balanced environment. I personally don’t believe in abstinence and we’re not telling people to think that but there are people who do and they’re unrepresented on campus.”


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