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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.

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Censorship Remains Unchecked at Laurier

A Response to the Letter from the LSU President

By Josh MacMillan, NCLN Campus Coordinator

On October 20, 10,000 pink and blue flags were set up by the pro-life club at Laurier campus, representing the 100,000 abortions that happen every year in Canada. The display was torn down by protestors. (Photo: R. Harlaar)

Good luck holding an unpopular opinion at Wilfred Laurier University (WLU), because according to the Laurier Student Union (LSU), you will get no protection.

LSU President Tyler Van Herzele, an elected representative of the student body who “works with key university and community personnel to advocate on behalf of all undergraduate students,” recently set a precedent that completely sidelines them.

In an open letter dated December 7, 2016, Van Herzele made a statement about an event held by the pro-life club, Laurier Lifelink in October. The club had hosted the WeNeedaLaw.ca flag display, comprised of 10,000 small pink and blue flags, each representing 10 abortions that happen each year in Canada. The event is meant to inform students about the facts about abortion in Canada and start a discussion on it. Half-way through the day, the display was destroyed by protestors.

The event was approved by the LSU. The space was properly booked. Everything was in order according to the LSU and LifeLink President Stephanie Breukelman. Yet, in light of the complaints and destructive action on the part of some members of the WLU Community, LSU automatically places the blame on the pro-life club and does not give them a fair hearing. The LSU plainly refuses to acknowledge that LifeLink has had their rights to free speech trampled upon, and was treated unjustly, regardless of the content of the display.

In the letter, Van Herzele states that “discussion of controversial issues should [not] be avoided” on the Laurier campus, and that the LSU “remain[s] dedicated to supporting the fundamental freedoms all Canadians share, including the ability to openly express opinions and beliefs.” Yet, in the same breath, he blames LifeLink for creating an “adversarial tone” which “evoked a confrontation which eliminated the possibility of respectful dialogue and created an unsafe environment for all students.”

This “adversarial tone” was simply a visualization of facts and the promotion of healthy discussion between students about these facts. It was, in fact, the protesting students who tore down the display and who “eliminated the possibility of respectful dialogue” and “created an unsafe environment.” Where is this so-called “dedication” to free speech? Obviously at LSU, there is none for pro-life students.

Van Herzele has made it ominously clear that this kind of treatment is not over. “We are working… to ensure this does not happen again…[by] revising several clubs policies to ensure future events, particularly those engaging in controversial or polarizing topics, respect the multitude of personal experiences and perspectives on campus.” What does this mean? By uttering not a word to defend the pro-life students from the unjust actions of mobs (simply because they are challenging students to think about “controversial issues”), it makes it very clear that Van Herzele does not have the best interests of all students in mind, but instead believes that mob rule silencing minority and unpopular opinions is justified and should be defended.

It is clear from this letter that LSU and its President are opposed to free speech and are not taking any action to defend free speech. Laurier LifeLink was told in a meeting the “concerns expressed by the Laurier community members were discussed and clear expectations were set for any future events.” Yet, the protestors who tore down the display were not told that what they did was unacceptable, nor were any expectations set for conduct at WLU that does not censor the free expression of others. Until a statement is issued to the contrary, it is clear that the LSU does not encourage “intellectual and social inquiry,” nor is dedicated to “valuing the existence of a variety of viewpoints and opinions.”

We encourage you to demand that the LSU Board and its President, Van Herzele, make clear to the WLU community that mob censorship is not acceptable on a University Campus and that they uphold the right of Laurier LifeLink to host events just like any other clubs, without fear of censorship for expressing what may be an unpopular belief.  You can contact the LSU by filling out the Customer Service and Satisfaction Policy Feedback Form, located to the right of the letter linked here, or by contacting Van Herzele directly at:

Tyler Van Herzele
supresident@wlu.ca
519.884.0710 x 3409

~30~

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From Apathy to Conviction

On Censorship and the Virtue of Refusing to Shut Up

By Chad Hagel, NCLN Intern and President of UTM Students For Life

When I booted up my phone on August 26th, 2015, the words on the screen stopped me cold. I had been looking forward to spending the last few days of summer relaxing and preparing for my third year at the University of Toronto Mississauga without tension. Alas, it was not to be. One of my fellow pro-life club executives, Cameron, was informing me that he had received an email from our Student Union telling us that our club status for the 2015-2016 year had been revoked. We were told little more than that, but it was as if the large flame of peace I had been nurturing had been extinguished. Even though it had not quite begun, our second year operating as a club had gotten off to a rough start already.

Over the next five months, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions as we first strove to find out why we had been censored. We decided to enlist legal aid while attempting to reconcile with the Student Union, and finally we chose to enter into a lawsuit, which has yet to be settled. The constant bombardment of stress and frustration—on top of my academic life—took a significant toll on me, and I reduced my course load in the second semester so I could recharge and refocus my energies.

In so doing, I was able to reflect on my position in the pro-life movement. I encountered a staggering revelation: since my involvement in pro-life work on campus, I had become firmly committed to speaking strongly against the greatest human rights injustice of our time. This revelation became all the more staggering as I remembered my mindset as I’d signed the club’s mailing list in 2014: apathetic, just doing it because it was expected of me.

How did I get to this point?

Before I explain how, I want to make a point about how apathy functions in the pro-life movement. It’s like a canker sore. When you get a canker sore—especially around your lips—it’s painful. It affects how you eat, how you breathe and how you talk. In short, it doesn’t just affect your lip; it affects how you interact with the people around you. It’s much the same with apathy. If someone’s apathetic, their apathy affects not just them, but the people around them. Apathy breeds more apathy, and apathy is something we cannot afford to have in the pro-life movement.

However, there is hope. Just as a canker sore recedes with time, apathy can be tackled and brought into conviction. That’s what I’m here to emphasize – how to move apathetic pro-lifers in your pro-life campus club to conviction. Here are some beginning methods:

  1. Create a supportive environment. One of the greatest boons I enjoyed in struggling with my Student Union was the support I received from NCLN and my local Right to Life group. They assisted me in numerous ways, most of all emotionally. They led me from apathy to conviction. Further, build that support network not just with pro-life organizations, but also within your club! Meet up with your members outside of activism and exec meetings for coffee. Ask them how they are doing outside of the pro-life cause. Get to know them as a whole person. Invite them to approach you if they have any concerns about being in the club, or anything else related. Be there for them.
  2. Implement a theory of change. As current president of Toronto Right to Life, Blaise Alleyne, once put it, pro-life organizations should not focus solely on doing activities for the sake of doing activities, but should look toward the broader picture. He calls the former a theory of action, the latter a theory of change. He argues that instead of doing activities that make us look busy, we are to do activities that are grounded on the principles of saving lives and making abortion unthinkable. Emulate this in your own club. Look hard at what you are planning for the upcoming year. Is it just busy work? Or is it planned with purpose, with an end goal in sight? How will your activism be effective in ending the killing of preborn humans? These and other such questions will help ground your club in a spirit of change, which will diminish the stain of apathy and allow convicted leaders to develop.
  3. Maintain your compassionate care. In my experience, I know that when I go to events and have no response – either mentally or emotionally – and have that apathy reciprocated by the event organizers, I am unlikely to come back. If the organizers didn’t care, how likely am I to care? Similarly, be careful to present your caring face to those you meet in the pro-life movement, in your club as well as in your activism. Just as you would extend care and compassion to the post-abortive woman, be sure to extend care and compassion to your club members. If they call you, call them back. If they text you, text them back. If they want to talk to you in private, respect their wishes and move to a quiet place. When you debrief after activism, make sure you ask them how it went, and listen to them. Listen to people–it is an indirect way of showing you care about them.

Although this is hardly an exhaustive list, do these small things and you will witness a blossoming of passionate pro-lifers in your campus club.

In the end, however, it is important to remember that the convicted pro-lifer will get tired. This is an inherent part of the human condition. When that happens, remind them of how they were. Ignite that spark. Be their support. Follow through. Look towards the bigger picture. Even though that may not be enough to restore the energies of your team member, it will certainly work for you: you will become further convicted of the need to have a pro-life presence on your campus. And that, really, is what we need: leaders determined to carry on the fight to save the preborn.

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Students at Brandon University Sue their Student Union after Club Banned from Campus

 

Brandon, MB: Pro-life students at Brandon University have filed a lawsuit after having their club status withdrawn by their student union in November without warning. The Brandon University Student Union alleged that the pro-life stance made some students feel “uncomfortable” and “intimidated” them. The union also argued that the club’s beliefs were contrary to the Canadian Federation of Students’ official pro-choice stance, and that the club itself was redundant because other campus groups (the LGBTQ Collective and the Women’s Collective) addressed the issue of abortion.

The club is not unfamiliar with censorship, as this is not the first time they have had to resort to legal aid in order to regain their official club status. “Our student union claims to serve students and support them in their efforts to share their passions and advocate for various causes,” states Catherine Dubois, president of Brandon University Students for Life, “However, over the past 4 years our club has been repeatedly censored and denied these opportunities offered to every other student. We are tired and frustrated with being treated in such a discriminatory manner.”

“It is unacceptable that a student on a university campus should have to resort to a court challenge to ensure they can enjoy the same freedoms as their peers on campus,” states Anastasia Pearse, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network, an organization dedicated to supporting post-secondary pro-life students, “It is disconcerting that campuses in our country are choosing to censor controversial issues rather than allow for open dialogue and debate.”

Currently, four other lawsuits initiated by pro-life student clubs are working their way through courts across the country. This is the highest number of lawsuits regarding campus free speech issues to be filed by pro-life clubs within a one-year period. The other universities include Ryerson University, the University of Toronto Mississauga, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and the University of Alberta.

“Abortion is an issue that personally affects women of the university age,” states Pearse, “we believe that women deserve to know everything about this procedure, even if the information makes people feel uncomfortable. Universities should not be afraid to accommodate opposing views on important and even controversial issues. With over 250 abortions occurring every day in Canada, this is a conversation that students ought to be having.”

For further information:

Anastasia Pearse
Executive Director, National Campus Life Network
director@ncln.ca
604-365-3484

Catherine Dubois, Brandon University Students for Life
204-570-1710 or duboiscm52@brandonu.ca

–33–


2015 Fall Brandon Chalking_4

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BC Supreme Court Rules Against Freedom of Speech for Pro-Life University Students

National Campus Life Network (NCLN) is very disappointed with the decision of the BC Supreme Court yesterday, which decided against the petition of Cameron Cote (the former president of the pro-life club Youth Protecting Youth at the University of Victoria) and the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). The case was in response to ongoing censorship from the student society and university administration and sought to have a confirmation that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be considered to apply to universities.

CIMG2024
YPY students protest illegal censorship in 2010

The University of Victoria has had a history of discrimination and censorship against pro-lifers. Anastasia Pearse, then president of the pro-life club Youth Protecting Youth, sued the student society with the help of the BCCLA in 2010. The lawsuit was settled out of court on the club’s terms, but unfortunately the student society and university administration has continued to bully the club over the past several years, censuring them for their activities.

Over the years the club has had their funding and status denied, they have had restrictions placed on their club booking and postering privileges, and has had stink bombs and smoke bombs set off during their activities. Recently, in the fall of 2014, the club faced vandalism and theft when two women threw used cat litter all over the table and stole fetal models. The current case focuses on events of 2013, when the university administration suddenly revoked their approval for space for a club event and admonished Cameron Cote, then club president, when the event went ahead despite the university’s attempted censorship.

Chief Justice Hinkson’s ruling found that the Charter did not apply in this case.

“I am very disappointed that the BC Supreme Court has ruled that the University of Victoria can silence an unpopular message at a moment’s notice without being held accountable to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” commented Cameron Cote. “If a university can pick and choose who is allowed to express their views in common areas on campus, then it is not only those who hold the pro-life view that should be concerned, but all students and indeed all Canadians.”

“This is another blow to the reputation of Canadian universities,” states Anastasia Pearse, alumnus of the University of Victoria and NCLN’s Western Campus Coordinator. “Universities claim to value free speech in their policies on the one hand and then repeatedly act against it when the peaceful expression and activities of some students is controversial or offensive to some.”

For more information or additional comment, contact Anastasia Pearse, NCLN’s Western Campus Coordinator. westerncanada@ncln.ca604 365 3484.

National Campus Life Network is Canada’s national pro-life student organization.

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Crumpled but Intact: YPY at York Gets the Message Out Despite Vandalism

By Clarissa Luluquisin, NCLN Central Campus Coordinator

The first week of the new semester was a literal and figurative ‘banner week’ for Youth Protecting Youth, the pro-life student club at York University (Toronto).  The club started their outreach by placing a banner in one of the most central areas on campus.  Hand-painted with an image of a pre-born child and the message, “Abortion kills a human life”, this banner was approved for display by one of the governing bodies for campus clubs.

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 2.41.12 PM
Source: YPY at York Facebook Page

The banner was torn down on the first night, but found intact in a nearby recycling bin. It was torn down a second time in the week and, again, the perpetrators attempted to recycle the large banner.

After rescuing their banner for the second time, the club plans to reinforce the banner to make its removal more difficult. They are also pursuing the vandalism by requesting access to the video feed of the hall. “We aren’t discouraged,” wrote a club leader on Facebook, “and no one can silence our voice!

As pro-lifers, our message, regardless of how many times it may get “crumpled” by someone who disagrees, remains intact.  This is the nature of the truth. 

If you are on campus and are feeling overwhelmed, perhaps feeling a bit like the club banner, know that NCLN is here to help smooth things over. We are here to serve you and support your efforts to make your voices heard!

Have stories from your Clubs Days or other activities this semester? Be sure to share them with your NCLN staff member! 

   

 

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What Have We Gotten Ourselves Into?

By Rebecca Richmond

I was new on the job and only a recent grad myself on October 4th, 2010. The NCLN Symposium had just finished and we caught a train to Ottawa to help out Carleton Lifeline as they put on the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP).  Well, as they tried to anyway.

Carleton arrests resizedMy job that morning was to take photos just in case.  And take photos I did, recording moments that seem more like a dream than a memory: friends being handcuffed and driven away in police vans.

What had I gotten myself into?

Three years later, as I enter my fourth year on staff with NCLN, I often find myself wondering the same thing. As do, I know, too many students who may not have to face handcuffs, but still have to fight long and hard for their rights on campus.

Since joining staff with NCLN I have worked with clubs coast-to-coast as they face discrimination. This fall is no different. Just one month has passed since school has started and already clubs are fighting opposition.

In Winnipeg this coming Monday, the University of Manitoba Student Union will vote on a motion to ban the pro-life club on campus – University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life – because the club ran the Genocide Awareness Project  (GAP) last week.  While the university acknowledged the free speech rights of the students to run the display, the student union members appear to require a bit more education on what freedom of expression entails.

In Victoria the legal representative and former president of the University of Victoria’s pro-life club, Youth Protecting Youth, is suing the university because of the censorship of the club’s “Choice” Chain event last winter and the restrictions placed on the club to prevent them from hosting similar events. 

And these are just the recent developments. It would take longer than one article to go through everything students went through last year – or even last semester.

So what have we gotten ourselves into?

We’re in a human rights movement, a culture war, a battle for the soul of a nation.   We fight for the very principle that holds – or ought to hold – our society together: that human life is valuable and that all humans, no matter what their abilities or circumstances might be, have a right to life.  We are counter-cultural and, as such, we challenge our society.  When we speak truth, it unsettles, disturbs and offends those who would rather remain in denial. When we speak up, others may try to shout us down or shut us down.  It has always been this way; why should we expect any different?  But we must also ask ourselves, what cause was won without sacrifice?  What victory was secured without a price?

No, it’s not fair.  And we will fight for fair and equal treatment for pro-life students.  But we do so, or at least the students and NCLN do so, because of the cause that got us into trouble in the first place.  When we fight for our rights, we do so not for ourselves, but for those we fight for: the preborn children who are being slaughtered every day in our country and for their wounded moms and dads.

It would be easy to say that we’ll take up the challenge after our education, when we have a steady job and a few more letters behind our name, when we have more time and aren’t constrained by midterms, papers or our course schedule.  But we cannot wait until tomorrow when we are presently in such a critically important environment.  Being a university pro-life activist might cost us something but I also believe, like Martin Luther King Jr. did, that it is worth the cost.

“Make a career of humanity,” he said, “Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

But ultimately it is the lives on the line that keeps us going when the opposition mounts.  It is the witness of friends, like the students arrested at Carleton in 2010, who inspire us.  It is the truth awakened in our own hearts that compels us to end the injustice of abortion and build a Culture of Life – starting with our campuses.

 

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Life Link Statement in Response to Misleading Comments Made by the UFV

UFV Life Link Statement: April 9, 2013

Response to Misleading Comments Made by the University of the Fraser Valley

This statement is in response to misleading comment made by the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) concerning the cancellation of the Life Link event on Wednesday April 10th.

UFV alleges that the LifeLink event was merely postponed and not cancelled.  However, in correspondence with the club leaders, UFV stated that the “room booking for the 10th of April has been cancelled and we would request that you remove your posters advertising this event.  We also request that you remove the event posting that is located on the weneedaLaw website.”  The university did state that the event could continue on the date booked, but only if it was off campus. 

Life Link was told, in the email from Friday April 5th, that “if you wish for your Life Link event to happen at UFV the date will have to be postponed.” Considering, however, that the campus is entering exams and the semester is ending, this still means, in effect, that the event has been completely shut down – at least until the next school year starts in September. 

The cancellation also failed to address why a risk management plan could not have been discussed when the event was booked three weeks ago or even in the last few days, after the university became concerned about potential protesters.  Comments made in the  University’s April 5th email to Life Link such as having the event off campus and the need to ensure “an event that provides a balanced view of the issue at hand” also demonstrates the university’s desire to censor the pro-life message.

The university also claims that it does not object to anti-gendercide materials on campus.  Why then were club resources restricted to a classroom? The university has stated to the media that graphic or potentially upsetting/offensive resources may be subject to ‘alternative arrangements for display’ out of public space.  This indicates that UFV considers the resources in question, which show a pregnant women’s belly and state facts on gendercide and which have been used on other Canadian universities, to be ‘graphic’ and, as such, subject to university censorship. 

The University’s Friday April 5th email sent to Life Link can be viewed here

The resources in question can be viewed here.

UFV Life Link banner

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