NEWS RELEASE: University of Ottawa student group censored, stripped of status for their stance on human rights.

For Immediate Release // October 31, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) A pro-life student group at the University of Ottawa has been censored and stripped of club status because their mandate promotes the value of all human life.

The group, University of Ottawa Students for Life (SFL), has been a registered campus club for ten years, fostering respectful dialogue and hosting events to discuss human rights issues, especially abortion. SFL members are committed to upholding the respect and dignity of every human being, before as well as after birth.

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, SFL was ordered to shut down a tabling event by Leila Moumouni-Tchouassi, VP Equity of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO). Ms. Moumouni-Tchouassi failed to cite or produce any university policy which SFL had violated. She also declared that University of Ottawa Protection Services would be called if the pro-life students did not leave the area. The students understood that they had university approval for the time and location of this tabling event.

Two weeks later, on Friday, October 13, SFL received an email signed by Linda Lacombe indicating that they were approved as a campus club for the 2017-2018 academic year. One week later, on Friday, October 20, SFL received an unsigned email from the SFUO, indicating that their club status had been revoked.

The email stated: “This decision was made due to the ways in which your mandate is in contention with the SFUO’s principles.”

Ruth Shaw, NCLN Executive Director, commented: “We are appalled that the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa is engaging in viewpoint discrimination, simply because of a difference in opinion. By encouraging dialogue on a difficult issue with integrity and openness to opposing views, SFL should be commended for their good work, not censored.”

Peter van Dyken, third year biochemistry student and SFL President, said: “We hope the SFUO will re-commit to upholding student rights on our campus. We welcome peers with diverse views to respectful dialogue on abortion, an issue which significantly impacts each and every one of us. With three hundred lives lost every day through abortion in Canada, silence is not an option.”

For more information, please contact Rachel Leistra, SFL Secretary, or Ruth Shaw, NCLN Executive Director.

Rachel Leistra, SFL

info@uosfl.com

905-818-7384

Ruth Shaw, NCLN

Ruth.Shaw@ncln.ca

1.877.618.4275 (ext. 3)

This pro-life poster is being censored. Don’t let it.

By Ruth Shaw, Executive Director

Brandon Students for Life (BUSL) received backlash from their student government, Brandon University Students’ Union (BUSU), for putting up a pro-life poster around campus this past week. The purpose of the poster is to inform students that abortion ends the life of a human fetus and that instruments such as the forceps pictured are used to break the body parts of a fetus.

On October 23rd, BUSL received an email from Mohammed Agavi, Vice President External of BUSU. Mr. Agavi wrote in an email:

Hello,

 

After reviewing your poster, it has been declined because it violates our Advertising Policy law. The Policy clearly states that:

 

“Policy #2016 – Advertising Guidelines: This policy applies to arrangements entered into by BUSU with student groups and other advertisers for displaying commercial advertising in or at BUSU spaces and in BUSU publications, and specifies content guidelines for all advertising acceptable by BUSU. Content for All advertising that is circulated, sponsored or created by BUSU and must meet the following general standards of respect as to form and content. BUSU will not accept advertising that is sexist, racist, homophobic, discriminatory or derogatory to any group of people. If such determination is called into question, acceptability shall be deemed by the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee has deemed the poster to be triggering, offensive and aggressive to a large member of the student body because of the pictures and the choice of language on the ad. As Brandon University is a space for all students I will be more than happy to help you design a poster that would be suitable to go up at the KDC. Please email me to setup an appointment or if you have any questions comments on concerns.

 

Thanks.

The decision and actions of BUSU prompt us to ask Mr. Agavi a few questions:

  • If a poster depicting an abortion procedure is offensive, wouldn’t that indicate that abortion is offensive?
  • If a poster depicting an abortion procedure is aggressive, wouldn’t that indicate that abortion is aggressive?
  • If a poster depicting an abortion procedure is triggering, does hiding the truth help those hurting to understand the procedure and to begin healing?
Indeed, if a poster of a human child next to forceps is so damaging, perhaps we ought to re-think the procedure it is depicting.

What can YOU do?

  1. Share the BUSU-censored poster on Facebook.
  2. If you are a student and want a copy of this poster for your campus, email us at info@ncln.ca
  3. Reach out to Mohammed Agavi, BUSU Vice President External, and share your displeasure at this act of censorship. Be honest without compromise, communicating with respect, as you would in activism. You can include the following two talking points: We hope Mr. Agavi (1) examines for himself the evidence about what abortion does to the preborn; (2) upholds freedom of speech on campus, treating all BU students – including our pro-life peers – with integrity and fairness.

You can reach Mr. Agavi by telephone (204-727-7478) and email (vpe@busu.ca).

NCLN staff dedicate hours of their time to coach students in speaking about abortion without compromise. We are working with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) to fight for the rights of pro-life students, to ensure that Universities uphold freedom of speech on campus so that we can continue to educate the demographic having the highest number of abortions and influence those in power. Check out the JCCF’s news release here.

It begins and ends on campus, but it starts with you.

It is imperative that we do not let those in power who are for abortion dictate how and when abortion is spoken about. If we stop fighting censorship, we stop fighting for the lives of parents and their children.

We cannot stop.

For media commentary on the censorship at Brandon University or censorship of pro-life students as a whole, please contact our Executive Director, Ruth Shaw, at: 1.877.618.4275 (ext. 3)

NCLN Welcomes Greg to the Team!

Greg graduated with high honours from Sheridan’s prestigious Musical Theatre Performance program. When not singing, dancing, acting and rock climbing, he is working to save the pre-born. As an active volunteer with Right Now, Greg participated in several winning campaigns for pro-life politicians and firmly believes in nominating and electing the right people to get life-saving legislation passed. Greg is excited to get back on campus to transforming culture through pro-life campus activism, building pro-life student leaders, and saving lives!

Greg will be serving students and campuses in Manitoba and southern Ontario.
Please help us welcome him by emailing him at greg.borris@ncln.ca
Support Greg’s work financially at http://ncln.ca/donate

NCLN Welcomes Amberlee to the Team!

Realizing there was no active pro-life club on her campus, Amberlee decided to take matters into her own hands and re-start the old pro-life club at the University of Alberta. From there, her involvement for the pre-born continues to expand: she completed two CCBR internships, participated in provincial and federal politics, attended the NCLN Symposium twice, and helped to co-found a local pro-life activism group, Edmonton Against Abortion.

In maintaining regular activism on campus, Amberlee and her club-mates have wrestled with more than their fair share of censorship at the U of A. In response to unchallenged mob rule and restrictive security fees, Amberlee and her team teamed up with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms to take legal action against the university. The court case is ongoing.

Not wanting to let her fight for the pro-life message and free speech to end with graduation, Amberlee is grateful for the opportunity to serve students as NCLN has done for her over the years. If pro-life students can organize to combat campus culture, she believes we can and will make a difference in society, bringing an end to abortion in Canada.


Amberlee will be serving students and campuses in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan starting later this month.
To get in touch with Amberlee, please contact her at amberlee.nicol@ncln.ca
Support Amberlee’s work financially at http://ncln.ca/donate

University Culture Makes Students Pick Between Feelings and Education

From the public square to post-secondary classrooms, students are told to censor “controversial topics” by professors and departments, evaluated based on peer reaction

Guest post by Valerie Flokstra
Abbotsford, BC

My first public speaking class is a day that remains clearly fixed in my memory.

The professor warned us that she intended to do her best to scare away anyone who wasn’t serious about the course. Her expectations were high, but rather than becoming nervous, I grinned. The greater the challenge, the more I would learn.

As I left that first class, my head reeled with speech topic ideas and possibilities. There were so many things I could speak on. Then suddenly my feet came to halt in the middle of the hallway. Pro-life. I could tell the class something about the pro-life message. My insides turned to Jell-O. What if the class hated me for it? What if the prof failed me for that speech?

A few weeks later, I attended my first NCLN Symposium. For four years, I’ve been involved with UFV’s pro-life Club, Lifelink, and sometimes it was a pretty discouraging job. The Symposium gave me so many new tools for spreading the pro-life message effectively. I flew back to British Columbia feeling confident and fired up with ambition to fight for the preborn. My mind was made up. A class grade was not as important as a life. It was not as important as honouring God.

That was how on Monday, November 21, I ended up standing inside my professor’s office, my heart pounding against my rib cage as I clutched my binder of notes.

“Hello,” I said, plastering a smile onto my face, “I wanted to talk to you because I am doing my speech on a controversial topic. I would like your advice on how to present it as effectively as possible.”

A pair of raised eyebrows. “Which topic?”

“Abortion.”

A pause. “I would not recommend that. I have never seen it done well. Can you do a different topic?”

I clung to my confidence, refusing to let it slip away. “No. I did well on my first two speeches. I researched for over twelve hours to get unbiased sources for this one. I am going to do this speech, but I ask that you help me to present it well.”

A deep breath, this time from my professor. “Have a seat.”

Forty-five minutes later, I was back in the hallway, shaking but smiling. I’d done it. My professor was impressed with my research. A few of my points were crossed out, others had notes added, and my speech was ready for final polishing.

An hour later my tenuous confidence shattered. I opened my inbox to find an email from my professor. The gist of it (in far more words than I remember) was that I couldn’t do my pro-life speech after all, based on a discussion she had with the department head.

I was shaking. Whatever happened to universities being places for freedom of speech?

My speech was in two days, and NCLN was on it right away. My campus coordinator, Joanna, immediately sent me documents about my university’s freedom of speech policies. She also assured me that NCLN was ready and able to help me, and so was a lawyer if necessary. Joanna also assured me she was praying for me. Knowing I was not alone made all the difference.

The next day, I received a response from my professor. She’d spoken with the department head again, and I could do my speech. However, the department imposed four requirements:

  1. Warn the class about anything graphic I would be showing or telling.
  2. Tell the class they are welcome to leave, and then pause to give them time to do so.
  3. Tell those who stay that the university offers free counseling in case they felt it was needed after hearing my speech.
  4. Explain to the class that I would be telling the speech in an objective (unemotional/unbiased) manner.

Yikes. The class would probably think that I was going to traumatize them before I even had a chance to speak my own words. What if they all left and I had to give my speech to an empty room?

I was less afraid of getting a bad mark than hurting my fellow students. I never bonded so much with my entire class as I had with that public speaking class. But, who knows? Maybe my presentation would help one of them in the future. Maybe the truth would save a life.

As I commenced my speech, I forced myself to make eye contact with every one of my peers. My challenge to the class was that they think about the information I presented and make an informed opinion about abortion. “Choice” isn’t really a choice if the decision is not an informed one. With nearly 100,000 abortions annually, or about 1 in 3 pregnancies ending in abortion here in Canada [link], this is an issue that affects us immensely.

When the speech was over, the professor ended the class, and a few students came up to me and told me I’d done a good job on my speech. I asked my professor for feedback. “You did a good job,” she said. “But,” she added, “part of delivering an effective speech involves the audience’s reaction. Half the class appeared to be shut down. Some of them were almost laughing with embarrassment and disbelief that anyone would talk about this in public. Your mark won’t be as high for this speech as it was for your first two.”

With confidence I responded: “When I’m sixty years old, I won’t care that I got a lower mark. But if I didn’t do this speech, I would regret that I could have helped someone but didn’t.” The professor shrugged.

I politely said goodbye and left the classroom. Looking back, I’m not sure that comment was the best one to make. What I am sure of is that twenty-five more people have heard how abortion is an injustice. And that definitely counts for something.


Valerie is a 2017 graduate of the University of Fraser Valley, finishing her degree in Chemistry and Physics.
We at NCLN thank her for her courage to speak on behalf of pre-born children with her peers!
To find more about this year’s NCLN Symposium, click here

For information on the research Valerie used for her speech, contact val95@live.com and/or see http://hushfilm.com/.

We Have a Charter. Let’s Take It Seriously.

By Josh MacMillan

At NCLN, we take free speech seriously. Throughout our 20 years of activism and service on campuses, we have seen the rights to free speech of all students trampled on across Canada.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms expresses that “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association.” [emphasis added]

Too often, our freedom of peaceful assembly is violated by those who believe they have the freedoms of violent and destructive assembly. Just look at cases at Brock University, the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, University of Victoria, and many others where authorities and administration, whose duties are to protect our rights, are reluctant to take action or do nothing simply because our ideas are considered controversial and essentially we’re ‘asking for it.’ Furthermore, the universities and colleges hide behind the excuse that school property is private and therefore they get to make the rules, despite millions of dollars of OUR TAX DOLLARS being spent to maintain these institutions.

In the 1960’s, students fought for their right to free speech against restrictive policies at University of California, Berkeley. In 1964, Joan Baez, a prominent figure and folk singer in the 60’s counter-culture, joined the protest they staged there. Recently, she has spoken out against this current trend of censorship:

“Let the Ann Coulters of the world have their say. Trying to stop Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking or any group from marching will not stop the advance of fascism, but rather might strengthen it… Let the opposition speak, let them march, let us speak and let us march. Violence usually brings the opposite of the desired goal.”

A lot of people, especially on campus, don’t seem to understand that. They call pro-lifers perpetrators, so they have the right to do whatever they wish to them and ignore basic human rights. A colleague of mine had a recent experience where a student said aloud just before attacking a pro-life display:

“Perfect, there is no security today…”

Frankly, the ideas of those who do not take free speech seriously make me uncomfortable. I have limits to my rights and I respect them. My rights end where someone else’s body begins. I have no right to be violent, and will not take violent action to hurt someone or destroy someone else’s property because it runs contrary to human rights and the principles laid down in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We have a right not to be treated like this. When someone tramples on your rights, record the perpetrators with your cellphone, spread the word, and demand protection from school administration, authorities, and our government. We join students from a number of American colleges in making a statement on free speech (the text has been copied below).

We refuse to be silent. This is OUR country. This is OUR Charter. Let’s own it and build a world where free speech is protected universally.

NCLN is committed to helping pro-life students fight back on their campuses. Should you face censorship on your campus during your activism and are a Canadian student, NCLN will (free of charge) guide, advise, and give you the skills you need to protect your rights on campus. Contact us here at: info@ncln.ca

The below statement has been made by a number of students from the U.S. concerned about erosion of free speech:

Support for free expression is a nonpartisan value that must be protected and promoted. We invite any and all interested individuals to sign this Statement of Principles affirming the importance of free expression on campuses across the country. Please share this with other members of your community.

Why We’re Here and Who We Are:

The Free Speech Movement began as an entirely student-led initiative. However, free speech has been increasingly undermined by attempts of students and administrators alike to silence those with whom they disagree. We seek to reclaim that original tradition with this student-created Statement of Principles.

We, the undersigned, stand united in our shared conviction that free expression is critical to our society, in spite of our differing backgrounds, perspectives and ideologies.

What We Believe:

A central purpose of education is to teach students to challenge themselves and engage with opposing perspectives. Our ability to listen to, wrestle with and ultimately decide between contending viewpoints fosters mutual understanding as well as personal and societal growth. The active defense of free and open discourse is crucial for our society to continue to thrive as a democracy premised on the open debate of ideas.

The only way to achieve this is by cultivating a culture where all are free to communicate without fear of censorship or intimidation. While some speech may be objectionable and even deeply offensive, constitutionally protected speech ought to be held and enforced as the standard and must not be infringed upon. As Justice Louis Brandeis observed exactly 90 years ago, “those who won our independence believed … that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies,” and that “the fitting remedy for evil counsels” is not disruption, violence or suppression, “but good ones.”

What You Can Do:
Our vision is to foster a nationwide community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and other friends who support free expression.
If you share our passion for free speech, viewpoint diversity and open discourse, please sign on to this Statement of Principles and encourage your community to do the same.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Ruth Shaw, new Executive Director as of April 4, 2017.

From ANASTASIA, outgoing Executive Director

After six years of working with National Campus Life Network I will now be ending my term with the organization. It has been a privilege to serve our NCLN staff and students, and to work alongside you over the past few years!

I am excited to announce that Ruth Shaw will be the new Executive Director!
Ruth has been working with us for the past year as our Communications Director. During this time she has contributed an immense amount to NCLN, going above and beyond her role as our Communications Director. She has naturally gravitated towards a niche of NCLN that sets her up to lead the organization. She has a passion for moving NCLN forward to achieve our goals and has an excellent strategic mindset. Her past experience doing pro-life and other non-profit work gives her a unique perspective as well as invaluable experience that she has shared with our team and students.
I give my full support to Ruth Shaw as NCLN’s next Executive Director, and am excited about NCLN’s future; I am confident that Ruth will be able to serve NCLN’s staff, students, and supporters so together we can reach students with the pro-life message, and continue to change hearts and minds, save lives, and change our culture.

From RUTH, incoming Executive Director

Dear students and NCLN supporters,

I am truly honored to have the opportunity to fill the position of Executive Director for NCLN.

I have been doing pro-life activism consistently since 2006. My activism days began on a campus where I was thrown into the heart of the clash of ideologies during my time as President of Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life club at Carleton University. During my time there, I experienced censorship that began with the denial of club status and ended with the arrest of myself and 4 other club members. I have experienced the rejection of friends, the stress of carrying a club, and the joy of seeing someone change their position on abortion. This has given me a wealth of experience that I hope to pass on to our team and the students we lead and serve.
After graduating with Honors from the Human Rights Program, I worked for two years for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform where I was personally mentored by well-known Canadian apologists, Stephanie Gray and Jojo Ruba. This strengthened my pro-life activism and skill set as activist, mentor to other leaders, and speaker.
From 2011- to present I have been participating in and creating local activism through Ottawa Against Abortion, an organization I founded, while at the same time raising 2 little boys (William and Micah, ages 4 and 6 months). I began working for NCLN in 2016.

Students, I am committed to ending abortion with you on campus.
I am committed to reaching your peers effectively and compassionately. I am committed to walking with you through the highs of saving lives and changing minds, and the lows of feeling the weight of what we are doing. I am committed to you.
Please feel free to contact me anytime: ruth.shaw@ncln.ca; 1.877.618.4275 ext. 3.

UC Berkeley students protested to stop an event occuring the MLK JR building- the irony is palpable.

By Ruth Shaw, Communications Director

Last night, Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos attempted to speak at the University of California, Berkeley campus. The event was protested by left-wing student activists who disagree with Yiannopoulous’s ideas and his support for President Trump.

Details of the riot and student-led violence can be read here and watched here.

Most of the violence that occurred are not unique, unfortunately. Some students who fundamentally believe that certain ideas should no longer be shared, even in a university setting, will do whatever it takes to make sure their ideas go unchallenged and remain the status quo. It is best, perhaps, that we no longer pretend it is any different, because they are no longer pretending either. Their new motto clearly states as such: By any means necessary.

There are two things that are worth noting about the riot at UC Berkeley.

Firstly, BAMN. The new movement whose goal is to win by any means necessary

In this article, a student member of BAMN states: “We are willing to resist by any means necessary.” Further, protestor Lana Wachowski is quoted in the article defending the use of extreme tactics to deny Yiannopolous a platform. “The moral imperative is to win,” Wachowski says, “There’s something to be said for fighting according to a code, but if you lose, people are going to die.”

Lastly, Wachowski says: “It’s absolutely acceptable to use violence. They are 100% certain to use it against us.”

I didn’t even know winning could be a moral imperative. Saving lives, yes. Changing the culture, yes. Stopping violence or bullying against others, yes. Giving someone shelter, yes. I don’t know about you guys, but I have never heard someone say this so overtly. Violence to win. Violence by any means necessary. Winning by any means necessary.

It is a bit unnerving to think you live in a world where people want to become experts in violence. As Gregg Cunningham, a leading anti-abortion activist in the United States once said, “there is blood shed to heal, and there is blood shed to kill.” These are the same young people who advocate for the killing of innocent children; it should not surprise us that they have now taken their intrinsically violent worldview applied them to born people. I wish we could rejoice that at least they are being consistent.

Another interesting point worthy of note is Wachowski’s comment that if she doesn’t use violence, certainly violence will be used against her.

I would challenge her and ask: where is the proof of this?

This past week in the United States, two stunningly massive marches were held: The Women’s March on Washington and the 2017 March for Life in Washington. A quick YouTube search gives evidence to many, many acts of violence by left-wing activists at the Women’s March, including this one of someone setting a girl’s hair on fire. Not to mention Madonna’s speech in which she talked about bombing the White House…

In stark contrast, at the March for Life there were no such instances of violence or encouragement of violent behavior. Certainly, there have been some activists in the past who have resorted to violence in order to stop abortions from happening. These acts of violence are wrong, condemned by pro-life leaders, and have not happened in a very long time. So again, I would ask Lana: where is her proof?

Secondly, the irony of BAMN protests..
The students at Berkeley shut down, rioted against, and harmed individuals in order to shut down a conversation that they didn’t want to hear. All of these things occured outside Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union building. Can you say ironic?

This riot was the antithesis of the kind of protesting that MLK stood for. BAMN continuously refers to MLK JR in their promotional material, as though they are following in his footsteps. This is indicative of a generation that does not know their history. It is a fact that MLK JR stood for the exact opposite of what this radical group stands for.Why? Because he understood that using violence in order to be heard or to create change ultimately only produces more violence and isolation in a culture that desperately needs healing, unity and love.

Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love… Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.
– Martin Luther King Jr. [source link]

Win his friendship and understanding. Powerful. THAT is real winning. THAT is real activism.

Unfortunately, as BAMN has proved they are not interested in winning friendships or understanding. They are only interested in one thing: winning power. This attitude will only lead to more violence and solidifies to youth around the world that violence paves the way to change. Indeed it does change something, but nothing good. Nothing beautiful. Nothing that adds value to one’s life. We need to be the kind of activists that seek to heal the culture, not tear it apart. We have to always remember that PEOPLE are affected, PEOPLE are torn apart, PEOPLE die, PEOPLE are shamed, PEOPLE are destroyed.

Student activists on campuses have a responsibility to be leaders in good revolution. You are setting an example for your peers, for high school students who follow you, and those who are looking to you to set standards and goals for future generations to follow you. If you do not show respect for people you disagree with, you have little hope of changing anything, except to harden the person you are talking to against your belief system. Student activists have a responsibility to engage constructively with differing ideologies and constructs. You are actively changing the world for better or for worse every time you engage with ideas different than your own. OWN that.