Madison Gesiotto, former beauty queen and current Ohio State University law student and contributor for the Washington Times, was threatened after writing a pro-life column highlighting the primary killer in black American: abortion. As Campus Reform reports, she was immediately met with threats and backlash which were largely ignored by administration; she did, however, receive a strong critique and lecture on how “offensive” her column was from those school officials.
Gesiotto’s column, which was published on October 23, made the argument that “abortion destroys more black lives annually than heart disease, cancer, homicide, and motor vehicle accidents combined.” Her argument was supported by extensive data from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as other sources. But some students apparently felt that her column was “offensive” and infringed upon their safe space. Gesiotto was threatened “anonymously” by someone she later discovered was a white female student.
“The government cannot take action against you for your offensive and racist article. But your colleagues can,” read the threat left via Facebook message.
The law student quickly reported the threat to officials, fully expecting that they would investigate the situation and ensure her safety. She was incorrect. Not only was the woman who threatened Gesiotto let off the hook, but Gesiotto was treated to an “hour-long harangue from three administrators who were evidently more interested in critiquing her op-ed than in ensuring her safety.”
“They took issue with the piece as a whole, one Dean claiming that it looks like a direct attack on Black Lives Matter, which was not referenced or referred to at all in the column,” she told Campus Reform. “They clearly seemed more concerned about the school's relationship with the Black Lives Matters lobbying group than my personal safety or respecting the constitutional freedom lawyers are sworn to uphold.
“They kept saying that it was flawed writing that would offend many and was nowhere near a well-developed legal piece,” she added, noting that one Dean became especially fixated with the last line of her column—in which she opines that “America needs to wake up and recognize that abortion is taking the lives of way too many black Americans and more must be done to avoid high rates of abortion within America’s minority populations”—stressing his belief that the sentence is flawed because it can be interpreted in a variety of ways.
Gesiotto claimed that she was contacted by school administration the following day and was “assured” that the Black Law Students Association didn’t mean any harm. But the threat came from a white female and not the BLSA, as Gesiotto had reported.
Dean Alan Michaels told the Washington Times that the school “takes all threats against its student very seriously.” He also touted the “inclusive” environment, the school's appreciation of “a wide range of viewpoints” and the “culture of respectful dialogue” the school attempts to foster.
The Ohio Right to Life group has come to the defense of Gesiotto, requesting a meeting with OSU officials to discuss the issue.
“Any threats made to students should be taken seriously, not callously tossed aside. 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,” said the president of the Ohio Right to Life, Mike Gonidakis.
“Regardless of what a student believes, a taxpayer-funded institution like Ohio State must prioritize her right to express herself,” added Gonidakis. “These recent events should concern every parent and every OSU student who wants an education that fosters diversity in belief.”