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week later, on Friday, October 20, SFL received an unsigned email from the SFUO, indicating that their club status had been revoked.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
Ruth Shaw, NCLN
1.877.618.4275 (ext. 3)