Press Release: Student Trespass Charges Withdrawn in Carleton University Free Expression Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Student Trespass Charges Withdrawn in Carleton University Free Expression Case

OTTAWA, ON. November 1, 2011- Trespassing charges that were filed against members of Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life student club at Carleton University, were withdrawn by the Crown yesterday.

On October 4, 2010, members of Carleton Lifeline, a pro-life club at Carleton University, were arrested for attempting to peacefully display the Genocide Awareness Project, an exhibit which compares abortion to other forms of genocide. The University deemed the Genocide Awareness Project to be “offensive” and directed the Ottawa Police Service to arrest and charge four Carleton University tuition-paying students and a Queen’s University student with trespassing. The charges were scheduled to proceed to trial today and tomorrow (November 2nd, 2011).

The Crown stated that the basis for withdrawing the trespass charges is that the issues dealing with the relationship between a university and its students was already being dealt with in Lobo et al. v. Carleton University et al., the civil action brought by two Carleton Lifeline members, Ruth (Lobo) Shaw and John McLeod, against Carleton University and members of its administration.

In July, the Ontario Superior Court heard a motion brought by Carleton University which sought to strike Carleton Lifeline’s Statement of Claim, the document initiating the lawsuit. Had the university been successful, this would have ended the suit. In a split decision, Justice Toscano Roccamo ordered that the action could continue but ordered Carleton Lifeline to make several amendments to its Statement of Claim.

In a subsequent decision regarding costs of the motion to strike, Justice Toscano Roccamo ordered the students to pay Carleton University’s legal costs in the amount of $18,400.87 plus applicable taxes. Carleton University had asked that the students pay $21, 467.68 in legal fees.

“We are pleased that the Crown has decided to withdraw these unjust charges” said Ruth (Lobo) Shaw, former president of Carleton Lifeline. “We have always maintained that we had the right to exhibit the Genocide Awareness Project on campus and that our arrest was unlawful. The withdrawal of these unjust charges is confirmation of that fact.”

Despite the withdrawal of the charges, the civil action against Carleton University is ongoing. “Although we no longer need to defend ourselves against the trespassing charges, a lot of work still needs to be done to move our lawsuit against Carleton University along and to clarify the legal rights of students to campus free speech and expression,” said John McLeod, current president of Carleton Lifeline.

To support Carleton Lifeline’s Defense Fund, please visit www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com.

For further information, please visit www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com or contact Carleton Lifeline’s Legal Counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos at (613) 241-2701.

-30-

Share Button

Carleton Lifeline in the news

Carleton Lifeline will appear in court tomorrow as the University attempts to quash their lawsuit, claiming it is “frivolous”.  The press release can be viewed here.

LifeSiteNews.com covered this development in the story here.

Ruth Lobo, the former president of Carleton Lifeline, appearened on Sun News today to discuss the arrests and free speech on campus.   The video clip can be seen here.

 

Share Button

Press Release: Carleton University Claims Carleton Lifeline’s Lawsuit is Frivolous

Carleton University Claims Carleton Lifeline’s Lawsuit Is Frivolous

OTTAWA,ON.  In the case of Lobo et. al. v. Carleton University et. al, Carleton University has brought for a Motion to Strike Carleton Lifeline’s Statement of Claim. The lawsuit followed closely on the heels of Carleton University having Ottawa City Police arrest its students for trespass when they tried to set up a pro-life display last October.

“This is an important case for freedom of expression on campus.” said Albertos Polizogopoulos, legal counsel for Lifeline.” Recently there has occurred many other cases where university students have had their voices silenced.”

In February 2011, Ruth Lobo and Nicholas McLeod, two members of Carleton Lifeline, the pro life club at Carleton University, commenced an action against Carleton University following the University’s attempt to censor them.

In April, Carleton University responded to Lifeline’s Statement of Claim with a Motion to Strike it on the grounds that it discloses no reasonable cause of action, is scandalous, frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

Carleton Lifeline disagrees and will continue to defend their right to freedom of expression vigorously.

If the University is successful in their Motion, Carleton Lifeline’s Statement of Claim will be struck, thereby ending this lawsuit.

The Motion to Strike will be heard in court on June 16, 2011 at 10:00 am. The hearing will be held at 161 Elgin Street it Ottawa, Ontario and is open to the public.

For more information please contact Carleton Lifeline’s legal counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos: 613-241-2701 – albertos@vdg.ca.
Mr. Polizogopoulos will also be available for comment after the hearing.

To view footage of Carleton Lifeline’s arrest and for other information, please visit: www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com

 

-30-

Share Button

LifeCanada Supports Carleton Lifeline

Our friends at LifeCanada just sent out the following press release:

 

LifeCanada/VieCanada

310 – 376 Churchill Ave. N.

Ottawa, ON  K1Z 5C3

Tel: 1-866-780-5433 Fax: 613-722-2201

lifecanada@bellnet.ca

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, 2011

LifeCanada supports freedom of speech for campus pro-life groups

Carleton Lifeline, a pro-life student group at Carleton University, announced today that it is suing the University over discriminatory treatment following the arrest of some of its members this past fall. LifeCanada, a national organization educating on the value of human life, supports the group’s legal challenge and their right to freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech is guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but undemocratic actions in recent years against pro-life organizations demonstrate an effort to suppress any and all opposition to abortion in this country.

“It is shocking that the truth cannot be expressed in this country, especially when it is through a peaceful demonstration at a post-secondary institution,” said LifeCanada president, Monica Roddis. “LifeCanada experienced a similar suppression of facts in our 2008 media campaign about abortion and the law. It is unconscionable that peaceful and law-abiding citizens are not allowed to express their views simply because a handful of individuals don’t approve of what they have to say. LifeCanada fully supports Carleton Lifeline in this legal challenge for their democratic right to freedom of speech.”

In 2008, LifeCanada launched a nation-wide media campaign promoting awareness of the lack of legal restrictions on abortion in Canada. The campaign ads depicted a pregnant woman and the words, “Have We Gone Too Far? 9 Months: The Length of Time Abortion is Legal in Canada. www.AbortioninCanada.ca.” Shortly after the campaign launch, Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), a self-regulatory body overseeing the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, deemed the ads “deceptive”.  An unnamed Appeal Panel made a final, closed decision and the ads have not been displayed on public property since. The ASC claimed the ads were ‘false’ and ‘deceptive’ despite the fact that abortion IS fully legal for the full gestation of a pregnancy in Canada.

– 30 –

Contact: Monica Roddis, President, 604-853-7985

Share Button

Priests For Life Canada’s Radio Show to Feature NCLN Today

” The Pro-Life Hour” to Feature NCLN Today

Today, January 4th 2011, tune into Priests for Life Canada’s monthly radio show, “The Pro-Life Hour.”  Today’s show addresses the pro-life activities taking place on university and college campuses.  Rebecca Richmond, NCLN’s Executive Director, appears on the show to discuss the work of NCLN.  Ruth Lobo, President of Carleton Lifeline who was arrested in October of 2010 for pro-life activities on her campus, is also featured on the show to update the audience on their situation.

You’ll find the show on Radio Teopoli, AM530 (in the Toronto area) or online at www.teopoli.org at 1P.M., If you’re unable to tune into the show today, you can access the program starting tomorrow at the Priests for Life Canada website and listen in at your convenience. www.PriestsForLifeCanada.com

Share Button

PRESS RELEASE: New Threats and Intimidation by Carleton University Administration

November 30, 2010. For Immediate Release:

NEW THREATS AND INTIMIDATION BY CARLETON UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION

Pro-Life Students Threatened With Disciplinary Action and Arrest

OTTAWA.  On October 27, Carleton Administration threatened pro-life students with charges of non-academic misconduct when they stood with hand-held signs of aborted fetuses on their campus. See video here: http://www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com

The University subsequently sent the students’ club, Carleton Lifeline, correspondence threatening them with arrest and disciplinary action.  They said these could be consequences if the students did not comply with a strict set of rules which only applied to them; these provisions surround a designated zone created for Lifeline where few students travel in the winter, where they are not able to offer pamphlets or initiate conversations with students, and not being permitted to move if protestors block the signs.

“This act of ‘compromise’ on the part of the University is nothing more than an intimidation tactic limiting our expression on campus,” said club president Ruth Lobo, a Human Rights Major.  “The definition of discrimination is differential treatment and that is what Lifeline is receiving.”

The university is no stranger to graphic images.  In the past month, Holocaust imagery was displayed as part of an Awareness Campaign. Further, Animal Rights activists have also been seen on campus multiple times erecting large, graphic displays in the busiest parts of campus showing slaughtered animals with slogans such as “SHAME ON YOU.” Neither of these events were surrounded by warning signs or held in ‘restricted’ areas.

These campaigns did not result in non-academic misconduct threats or arrest-threats like the anti-abortion signs did.  Arrest threats turned into actual arrests on October 4 when those same Carleton students were arrested for attempting to display the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) in the quad of the University. While GAP is a stationary exhibit consisting of 4×8-foot signs comparing abortion to the Holocaust, the most recent activity of Carleton Lifeline didn’t require a space booking and involved hand-held signs showing aborted fetuses with the word “Choice?”

James Shaw, Vice-President of Lifeline, questioned the University’s conduct asking, “Are students now being required to book standing space on campus? The University is taking a ‘Big Brother’ approach in their relationship with Lifeline. Frankly, we find this behavior more akin to 1984 than to the 21st Century.”


The following timeline summarizes the club’s 2-month-long controversy:


Oct. 4: Four Carleton students arrested for attempting to display the Genocide Awareness Project


Oct. 27: Carleton Lifeline begins a hand-held, mobile project called “Choice” Chain. View video: http://www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com


Nov. 11: Carleton Lifeline receives official notice of revoked club status from the Student Association (CUSA)


Nov. 12: Carleton Lifeline has a closed meeting with Carleton Administration


Nov. 15: Carleton Lifeline Legal Counsel responds to Student Association


Nov. 18: Carleton Lifeline receives official “Exhibit Zone” Proposal and threatening letter from Carleton Administration


Nov. 19: Carleton Lifeline pursues internal appeal processes with Student Association as well as a judicial review.


Nov. 29: Carleton Lifeline told by Student Association that Legal Counsel cannot represent them at internal appeal meeting.


Nov. 29: Carleton Lifeline Legal Counsel responds to threatening letter from Carleton Administration


For further information, contact Carleton Lifeline at (613) 600-4791, or Carleton Lifeline’s Legal Counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos at (613) 241-2701.



-30-


Share Button

Press Release: CUSA Maintains Legitimacy of their Discriminating Policy and their Procedures

November 19th, 2010; FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CUSA MAINTAINS LEGITIMACY OF THEIR DISCRIMINATING POLICY AND THEIR PROCEDURES

OTTAWA – Despite the deposit of a motion to challenge CUSA’s policy banning pro-life clubs, the Student Association maintains the legitimacy of the policy and the manner in which Carleton Lifeline was refused recertification.

In response to a letter from Lifeline’s Legal Council letter of November 15, 2010, Khaldoon Bushnak, VP Internal, wrote to inform Lifeline on November 18th, 2010,  that CUSA maintains the validity of the policy banning pro life clubs and the way in which the Association refused to grant Carleton Lifeline recertification. In response, Carleton Lifeline has threatened legal action against Carleton University’s Student Association.

Read exchange here: www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com

For further information, contact Carleton Lifeline at (613) 600-4791, or Carleton Lifeline’s Legal Counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos at (613) 241-2701.

Share Button

Americans stand in solidarity with Carleton Lifeline

Students for Life of America and National Campus Life Network launched a new website today, StandWithCarleton.com, to assist Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life campus club of Carleton University in Ottawa, who are facing discrimination from their school’s administration and student union.

National Campus Life Network has been working with Carleton Lifeline for the past several years, and is pleased to see the support that the students have received from the United States.
Upon launching the website, Kristan Hawkins Executive Director of Students for Life of America said, “I am excited to launch this new site so that we can raise awareness about the situation at Carleton University and to also show our support for Carleton Lifeline’s courageous pro-life work. Pro-life students in America and around the world stand in solidarity with the Carleton pro-life students today.”
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network, adds, “Canadian pro-life students have faced numerous instances of discrimination and censorship. Given the nature of the situation at Carleton, we are grateful for the support and the awareness that Students for Life of America is bringing to this issue.”
Carleton Lifeline was notified that the Carleton University Student Association (CUSA) would be decertifying the group in less than a week, on November 18th, unless they renounced the pro-life beliefs expressed in their group’s constitution. CUSA is using the school’s “Discrimination on Campus” policy, which upholds “a woman’s right to choose,” to justify discriminating against the pro-life student group. Read more from the students here.
This announcement comes after five students were arrested last month while attempting to put up a pro-life display on their campus.
If Carleton Lifeline loses their official group status, it would be a significant loss and would hinder their activities on campus by denying them the student space, resources and funding that all other clubs have access to.
—-
The website, StandWithCarleton.com, is co-sponsored by Students for Life of America (US), National Campus Life Network (Canada), Law Students for Life (US), Students for Life of Illinois (US), Rock for Life (US), and LifeNews.com (US).
For more information please contact Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network at 416 388 0461 or at director@ncln.ca. For more information about Carleton Lifeline you can visit their website.
To speak with Kristan Hawkins, please contact Mary Powers at mpowers@studentsforlife.org or phone: 703-351-6280.
National Campus Life Network (NCLN) is the national organization in Canada that works to educate, network and support pro-life campus groups across the country. Visit www.ncln.ca for more information.


Students for Life of America (SFLA) works to provide students, from high school to graduate school, with the resources they need to save lives and abolish abortion on their campuses and throughout the nation with 532 pro-life college groups in 48 states.
Share Button