Hillsdale Stu­dents at the 2019 March for Life | Facebook

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.”