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.