YDSA among counter-abortion protesters in Sombrilla Plaza


Kylar Royer

YDSA members, pictured at their recent march against police brutality, have participated in several counter-protests since last semester.

Mason Hickok, Editor-in-Chief

Members of UTSA’s chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) counter-protested several pro-life demonstrators in the Sombrilla Plaza this past Wednesday. The demonstrators frequent the UTSA campus and often display several pieces of imagery around their table. 

The Dean of Students and Vice Provost for Student Affairs, LT Robinson, described the process that outside organizations are encouraged to take when tabling on campus. 

We recommend that groups from outside the university reserve common outdoor spaces for expression through Student Union Event Services but cannot require it,” Robinson said. “Additionally, we request an advance reservation to display exhibits to ensure that space is available but must remain viewpoint neutral on the content of their expression and their plans to arrive to campus.”

Kaeden Boudreaux, a co-chair of YDSA, described the counter-protests of the demonstrators dating back to last semester and how YDSA coordinates their efforts.

“We as an organization began counter-protests last semester,” Boudreaux said. “We are openly and proudly pro-abortion; they have the right to be there, and we have the right to stand against anti-abortion groups who wish to protest the rights to basic healthcare. [So,] we organize people to come out, and counter-protest [and we] provide resources to our members and [the public].”

Kylar Royer

Last semester, YDSA and several other organizations held a march through campus. The protest ended at the Rowdy Statue, where the group’s demands were read. While Boudreaux says the demands were given to university officials at the protest, they are unsure of UTSA’s plans to address them. 

“To the best of my knowledge, UTSA has not put out any public support to reproductive health care,” Boudreaux said.
According to the Texas Education Code, Section 51.9315, “an institution of higher education shall ensure that the common outdoor areas of the institution’s campus are deemed traditional public forums.” Therefore, the Sombrilla would be considered a public forum per this designation. 

A note from the Office of the President further describes this matter.

“This designation means that any individual or group — even those not affiliated with UTSA — can engage in free speech activities on campus. Members of the general public are no longer required to be invited to campus to undertake these expressive activities at UTSA. However, the law does not mean that individuals may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. UTSA may, and does, reasonably regulate the time, place and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of the university.”