Canadian University Denies Student Life Support Club
The Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU) has severely restricted the free speech rights of their own students by denying students to maintain pro-life club.
by Catholic.net Staff Writer | Source:
The University’s decision blatantly violated its own union policies, according to official statement distributed to the press by LUSU students.
At a meeting on January 10th, 2008, the LUSU board of directors voted 20-3 to deny official club status to Lakehead University Life Support, a pro-life club.
On December 5th, 2007, Life Support was given restrictive conditions to be followed in order to become a club.
These conditions, were made up by LUSU VP Finance Matt Granville, and not approved in advance by the LUSU board. Matt Granville has declined comments.
One of these conditions stated that there would be “no unsolicited conversations with students, approaching people to tell them about your clubs and beliefs” not only violating LUSU’s own policies, which encourage student groups to interact with the student body, but is violating freedom of speech and expression as per Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, Section 2.
According to the LUSU website, LUSU “has decided not to grant status due to a poster campaign deemed to be inappropriate.”
When asked about this, Cathy Simons, Life Support’s President, said that “it was a single poster campaign that merely stated the pro-life view. They had been actually stamped with approval by LUSU before being put up.”
She added that “The university campus is supposed to be a haven for discussion, debate and diversity. However, anyone who holds an unpopular view portrayed in their speech or their posters, according to LUSU, shouldn’t be part of a discussion and debate on campus.”
Pro-life posters often portrayals abortion by what it is: killing of unborn children. Pictures of murders are usually disturbing. However, visual aids are necessary for one to have an informed stand on abortion. Such pictures make clear the fact that pro-choice is a political term that indeed means pro-assassination of innocent babies.
Priests for Life, the most renowned pro-life organization in the US, is very proactive in showing what abortion really is. Priests for Life’s website displays pictures and audio files that can be freely accessed. Click here to check out the files.
The decision of LUSU to violate their own policies regarding discrimination and those referring to clubs on campus appears to be motivated by personal opinions of the student union on the matter of abortion. The story has called the attention of the secular press, and was featured on the National Post, as well as, on other news outlets.
“Despite their claims as being a neutral entity, LUSU gives a hefty budget of thousands of dollars per year to the pro-abortion group on campus, the Genders Issue Centre, while not even allowing the pro-life side to raise their side of the issue.” Affirms Cathy Simons.
“By censoring the pro-life side and sponsoring the pro-abortion side, LUSU has taken a less then neutral opinion on abortion and is therefore not representing all of its students.” Cathy Simons concludes.
Francisco Gomez, a member of Life Support, says that “A university campus is supposed to foster an environment of diverse views that is open to freedom of speech and expression, not one of censorship.” Members of Life Support will continue to work to have a voice on campus.
“The university's position is that this is an issue of the Board of the Student Union and we have no jurisdiction. LUSU has provided a reasonable rationale for their action but any reconsideration would be entirely in their hands.” Stated Lakehead University President, Dr. Frederick Gilbert.
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