Statement on Bristol Palin

At the request of the Student Health Advisory Committee, Washington University is issuing this statement:

The student group that invited Bristol Palin to come to Washington University in St. Louis has mutually agreed with her not to proceed with a contract regarding Palin’s participation in a panel discussion at Washington University on Feb. 7.

The Student Health Advisory Committee had extended an invitation to Palin, a spokesperson for the prevention of teen pregnancy, to speak on abstinence as part of Washington University’s student Sexual Responsibility Week; Palin had not yet signed a written contract to speak at the university.

Because of the growing controversy among undergraduates over the decision to pay for her talk with student-generated funds, the Student Health Advisory Committee and Palin decided that the message that they intended on sharing would be overshadowed by controversy. (The Student Health Advisory Committee’s sponsorship of Palin was being supported by funds from Student Union, Washington University’s undergraduate student government. Student Union receives its funds from a small mandatory activities fee from each undergraduate.)

The committee has invited Katie Plax, MD, head of adolescent medicine and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine, to participate on the panel. Plax, who is also medical director of The SPOT, a drop-in teen health center at Washington University Medical Center, will join a representative from WUSTL’s Student Health Services, the Catholic Student Center at Washington University, and Planned Parenthood in the panel discussion to be held Feb. 7 in Graham Chapel on campus.