Hillsdale College for Life will not attend the March for Life this year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The club was originally supposed to attend the annual pro-life rally on Jan. 29 with pro-life group Protect Life Michigan. But in early December, Protect Life canceled, citing “no changes with the current health crisis,” according to Olivia Manocchio, the president of Hillsdale College for Life.
“With that cancellation, we were scrambling trying to figure out whether we should rent buses ourselves and do the normal March for Life trip to Washington, D.C.,” Manocchio said. “But even though it was possible, the college administration was concerned about our safety, not just with COVID-19 but with all the political unrest currently happening in the city.”
The administration also expressed concern about a potential COVID-19 outbreak, since students who attend the rally typically rub shoulders with thousands of Americans and could return to campus infected.
“The administration wasn’t a huge fan of us going,” Manocchio said. “People could contract COVID and bring it back to campus and into their churches on Sunday. And that would start a whole wave of contact-tracing and quarantining that we just really did not want.”
Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 March for Life is still scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., however.
“We are continuing to work closely with our government agencies to do everything possible to be safe, healthy, and march as we have every year for the past 47 against the human rights abuse of today, abortion,” the official March for Life Website reads.
Junior Brooke Funke said she was looking forward to attending the march.
“I was greatly disappointed by the college canceling the March for Life trip,” Funke said. “I am hoping that ey made the right decision, though, to help prevent another COVID outbreak.”
Hillsdale College Students for Life are planning an alternative event to replace their annual trip to the March for Life. In early February, the club hopes to host a Hillsdale College Students for Life summit. The summit will be an all-day event with apologetics training led by Scott Klusendorf, president of Life Training Institute, a nonprofit organization that trains pro-life advocates how to defend their views.
“It’s going to be a really solid event and a good replacement for the march, as disappointing as that was,” Manocchio said.
Like Students for Life, Hillsdale College Republicans has also had to cancel its headline event this year due to the ongoing pandemic. Every year, the club normally attends the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.
Due to municipal COVID-19 regulations in Washington, D.C., the conference is set to take place in Florida this year instead. The new location is too far away for Hillsdale College Republicans, who normally take an overnight bus to the conference, according to former President Brandt Siegfried.
“At this point to my knowledge, HCR has no plans to attend CPAC this year,” Siegfried said. “While I applaud the decision to move the event to Florida, transportation issues make our attendance difficult. We always rely on buses to get to CPAC, so Orlando is considerably further and would require us to raise a lot more money.”