University of the Fraser Valley Life Link: Life Link Statement in Response to Misleading Comments Made by the UFV

This post was written for University of the Fraser Valley Life Link by nclnadmin. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

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.

Read the comments at the University of the Fraser Valley Life Link website.

University of the Fraser Valley Life Link: Press Release: UNIVERSITY OF THE FRASER VALLEY SHUTS DOWN EVENT AND CENSORS ANTI-GENDERCIDE RESOURCES

This post was written for University of the Fraser Valley Life Link by nclnadmin. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

UNIVERSITY OF THE FRASER VALLEY SHUTS DOWN EVENT AND CENSORS ANTI-GENDERCIDE RESOURCES

ABBOTSFORD, BC (April 8 2013) – Students at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford BC are calling on their university administration to reverse the cancellation of a pro-life presentation scheduled for Wednesday, and to reverse their decision to censor the club’s anti-gendercide resources.  The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Life Link club has secured legal counsel from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which issued a letter to the university on Monday April 8th with the demand.

“Our club has distributed resources, held a debate and organized other presentations on abortion,” states Ashley Bulthuis, Life Link’s president.  “A documentary on gendercide has even been screened on campus this year.  Why has the university suddenly disregarded its commitment to free speech in regards to the gendercide and abortion issues?”

The administration, citing security concerns, told the UFV Life Link club that the event was cancelled due to the possible presence of protestors. The presentation by Mike Schouten, Campaign Director of WeNeedALaw.ca, concerns the current legal status of abortion in Canada.

Earlier in the semester the administration had banned the students from distributing anti-gendercide resources that highlighted the missing women worldwide and the fact that this practice is occurring in Canada.  The university told the students they would only be able to distribute such resources in a closed room.

“The university ought to safeguard free speech on campus especially when there is a possibility of others – like the possible protesters – who might try to suppress it,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network (NCLN), an organization that supports pro-life students. A recent study found that “87% of Canadians oppose sex-selective abortion and 25% say it is occurring in their own communities. Why won’t the university allow students to raise awareness about this horrific practice?”

The anti-gendercide resources were created by NCLN and have been distributed on campuses across Canada. They provide facts on sex-selective abortions and its global consequences, stating that “‘It’s a Girl’ should not be a death sentence.” No other university has been censored for distributing these resources.

UFV Life Link eagerly awaits the university’s response, refuses to allow the university to censor them, and will continue to share their pro-life message on campus.

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For media requests, please contact:

Ashley Bulthuis, President, UFV Life Link, ufvlifelink@gmail.com, 778-549-8233
Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network, westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604 365 3484

To view the censored resources and the letter from the JCCF, please visit: http://ufvlifelink.ncln.ca/2013/04/08/censorship/

For statements from the JCCF and WeNeedALaw, please visit their respective websites: www.jccf.ca and www.weneedalaw.ca

Read the comments at the University of the Fraser Valley Life Link website.

Press Release: Pro-Life Club Banned at Trent University in Peterborough

Press Release

PRO-LIFE CLUB BANNED AT TRENT UNIVERSITY IN PETERBOROUGH

PETERBOROUGH, ON (February 7, 2013) – Students applying to form a pro-life club at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario were rejected by the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA) last week on grounds that such a club would be ‘exclusive’. Trent Lifeline has secured legal counsel and is demanding that the decision be reversed and club status granted.

“The purpose of Trent Lifeline is to engage with the student body regardless of what someone’s position is on abortion,” said Heather Anne Robertson, President of Trent Lifeline. “Anyone can bring their ideas and opinions to the discussion. To exclude us in the name of being inclusive is absurd.”

In response to its application, Trent Lifeline received an email from the TCSA Club & Group Coordinator informing them that “campaigning for pro life or pro choice is not allowed on campus as well since there is [sic] so many opinions to this it can lead to a very exclusive group, while all clubs at Trent University must be inclusive.” After requesting more information on the policies upon which this decision was based, Lifeline was informed that a policy could not be sent “as there is one working under way.”

“The student association is supposed to serve its members and not selectively exclude one group of them who take a position on a controversial human rights issue,” stated Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network, an organization that exists to support pro-life students in Canada. “The fact that the TCSA may be re-writing its policies to justify its discrimination against this club is also disconcerting.”

A letter from Trent Lifeline’s legal counsel, John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, was sent to the President of TCSA on February 6th. This letter calls for a reversal of the decision to reject Lifeline’s application, and explains why and how the student union’s conduct is illegal.

“We hope that the student union will reverse its decision, thereby removing the need for court action. However, if necessary, we will seek a Court Order to uphold the free speech rights and freedom of association rights of these students,” stated Carpay.

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For media requests, please contact:

John Carpay, President, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, 403-619-8014 or jcarpay@jccf.ca

Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network, director@ncln.ca, 416 388 0461.

Heather Anne Robertson, President of Trent Lifeline, lifelinetrent@gmail.com, http://trentlifeline.ncln.ca

 

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Kwantlen Student Association Rescinds Earlier Decision and Grants Pro-Life Club Status

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kwantlen Student Association Rescinds Earlier Decision and Grants Pro-Life Club Status

LANGLEY, B.C. (December 6 2012) – In the midst of preparing to file a lawsuit against their student association for discrimination, the pro-life student group at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in B.C. has been granted full club status.

The Runner, the Kwantlen student newspaper, reported that the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) reversed its earlier decision during a two-hour in-camera session on December 5th, and has now granted Protectores Vitae (Protectors of Life) formal status as a campus club. The specific content of any motions from the meeting was not made available, nor was the record of how the individual board members voted. Oliver Capko, the president of Protectores Vitae, was contacted later that evening by Christopher Girodat, the Chairperson of the KSA Executive Committee, who informed him of the decision.

“I am relieved that the issue has been resolved,” said Oliver. “After working towards this all semester, it is great to finally be accepted and treated like other clubs on campus.”

This decision by the Kwantlen Student Association was a reversal of its November 9th decision, which rejected the group’s application on the grounds that it conflicted with the student union’s pro-choice policy on abortion. Protectores Vitae secured legal representation from the Justice Centre, and demanded that the student association rescind their decision and, when the KSA did not, Protectores Vitae prepared to file a lawsuit.

“The Justice Centre has invested a lot of time in legal research and preparing the court documents, but we are happy that it will not be necessary to commence a court action against this discrimination,” stated Calgary lawyer John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

“This has not been the first time such discrimination against pro-life groups has happened on university campuses,” commented Anastasia Pearse on behalf of the National Campus Life Network. “We hope that other student associations will learn from Kwantlen’s example so that this won’t happen again.”

The students of Protectores Vitae, who are currently in the midst of exam season, plan to begin club activities on campus in the New Year.

“Now that we no longer have to fight against discrimination, we can actually focus on why we wanted to start this club in the first place,” said Oliver. “It’s important that bioethical issues, like abortion, are raised on campus and we look forward to being part of that conversation here at Kwantlen.”

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For media requests, please contact:

John Carpay, President, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, 403-619-8014 or jcarpay@jccf.ca

Anastasia Pearse, National Campus Life Network, westerncanada@ncln.ca, 604 365 3484

Oliver Capko, President Protectores Vitae, kwantlenprotectoresvitae@hotmail.com, http://kwantlenprotectoresvitae.ncln.ca/

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$1500 Grant for Pro-Life Clubs Offered Again this Year

It’s back! Last year, a new grant was created to support pro-life campus clubs in Canada. This $1500.00 grant is sponsored by The Interim and Niagara Region Right to Life, and facilitated by National Campus Life Network. We’re thrilled to announce that this grant is being offered again this year!

The purpose of this grant is to recognize the work of pro-life clubs and assist them in their efforts on campuses. The grant will be given to the group whose event proposal demonstrates:

  • Creativity
  • Planning
  • Leadership, and
  • Will have a substantial impact on the university culture.

The deadline for this year’s application is August 31st.

Last year’s winner was Youth Protecting Youth at the University of Victoria. The grant money made it possible for them to focus on activism, rather than fundraising, allowing them to organize effective events, including Choice Chain in November. Cam Côté, the Vice-President of Youth Protecting Youth, described this event as the most successful event he has seen since joining the club. Hundreds of conversations were had that day, and many more students were exposed to the pro-life message. Even more were reached through the media attention the club received, both on campus and in the community.

Cam Côté, reporting upon the impact the grant had on the club, stated,

“I cannot adequately express how successful our year was, despite the opposition and censorship, and how much the grant made our success possible. With it we have been able to train the largest group of people our club has had in recent memory … Though there will certainly be difficult times to come, the group that has come together has the desire and the basis to take an active part in making abortion unthinkable at UVic, and throughout the nation.”

Applications, which include the completed event proposal and a tentative budget, are to be submitted to NCLN by August 31st. The decision will be made by the Grant Sponsors, with recommendations from National Campus Life Network’s staff who work with the groups throughout the year. The grant of $1500.00 will be presented to representatives from the successful group during NCLN’s Annual National Symposium (Sept 28 – 30) in Toronto.

For an application contact Clarissa at central@ncln.ca  Applications are to be submitted to NCLN by August 31, 2012.

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PRESS RELEASE: Abortion Debate on B.C. Campuses

March 7th, 2012: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ABORTION DEBATE ON BC CAMPUSES

Vancouver, B.C. University pro-life clubs across British Columbia are bringing the abortion debate to their campuses in an unprecedented manner. Over the next week, six B.C. university campuses will be hosting multiple events, seeking to engage their peers on the issue of abortion.

“Our universities are places where ideas should be shared and contentious issues discussed,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network, a national pro-life student organization. “A recent CIHI report reveals that over a quarter of abortions are performed on university–aged students. If this is a choice young women are making, it is important that they consider what precisely they are choosing and know what abortion alternatives exist.”

Despite Prime Minister Harper’s repeated refusal to reopen the abortion debate in Parliament, pro-life student groups across the country have continued to be active on this issue, even amidst censorship and discrimination like that experienced most recently by Youth Protecting Youth at the University of Victoria.

Events include academic debates, resource distribution, information tables, and abortion imagery projects, all aimed at educating and engaging students in dialogue on the abortion issue. These clubs are also calling on their local politicians, asking them to bring the abortion debate to parliament.

Along with Canadian campus groups, others across the country are also working to raise awareness on the need to dialogue about abortion. Jakki Jeffs, director of Ontario’s We Want the Debate Campaign, has stated that, “the suppression of any debate in a democratic society is unacceptable.” The Alliance for Life of Ontario campaign is demanding that, “the current censorship of the debate around abortion be ended, and that an open and informed discussion be held in public.”

Abortion takes the lives of approximately 300 Canadian preborn human beings every day. Canadian pro-life students refuse to remain silent or be censored while such an injustice is occurring in our society.

Abortion Debates:
Capilano University: March 8th, 1:30 pm, Cedar Building Room 122
University of British Columbia: March 12th, 5:00pm, UBC-Woodward 1
University of the Fraser Valley: March 13th, 6:00pm, UFV Abbotsford Room B101
Simon Fraser University: March 14th, 6:00pm, SFU Burnaby, room TBA

For further information contact:
Anastasia Pearse Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network westerncanada@ncln.ca 604-365-3484

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University of Victoria Pro-Life Club Censored Once Again

February 7, 2012: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

University of Victoria Pro-Life Club Censored Once Again

Victoria B.C.-The University of Victoria Student’s Society (UVSS) Board of Directors passed two motions to publicly censure the pro-life club on campus, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY) last night, February 6th. The first motion was put forward in response to complaints stemming from an event the club held last November called “Choice” Chain and charged the students with violating the UVSS Harassment Policy. The second motion was passed in response to a poster the club put up on campus in October. As a result, YPY will be denied their ability to book public space on campus for their events and is forbidden to hold “Choice” Chain or other similar events. The club is also banned from putting up posters until a new policy is written by the UVSS to govern poster content. The board also ordered YPY to write a letter of apology to groups who were offended by the poster.

“Choice” Chain is a project developed by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) and consists of volunteers holding three by four foot signs with graphic images of first trimester aborted fetuses. The volunteers engage passers-by in dialogue about abortion. More information about the project can be found here: http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/projects/choicechain

“This is a disappointing development,” said Cameron Côté, YPY Vice-President and coordinator of the “Choice” Chain event. “People may have felt offended by the images but that in no way constitutes harassment. If you merely have to claim your feelings were hurt or you disliked someone’s message or way of expressing themselves to find that person guilty of harassment, freedom of speech ceases to exist. While we recognize that some people do not like our message, that doesn’t mean we should be censored.  ”

Campus Outreach Director for CCBR, Alanna Gomez, stated, “The charges of harassment have no grounds. There were no complaints made about the conduct of the students, because they acted respectfully and peacefully. The only complaints were based on the negative feelings people had because they didn’t like the pictures the students were holding. Just because someone doesn’t like a picture doesn’t mean they have been harassed, which is what the UVSS is trying to claim.”

The poster that resulted in the second motion was developed by National Campus Life Network (NCLN), and compares the current denial of legal personhood to the pre-born in Canada with similar treatment of other groups in the past. The poster can be viewed here: http://www.ncln.ca/resources/print-resources/person-poster/

“I thought the UVSS had moved past this type of discrimination and censorship since the settlement of YPY’s lawsuit in July 2010,” said Anastasia Pearse, former YPY president. Pearse currently works as the Western Campus Coordinator for NCLN. “Censorship of the abortion debate at a university is shameful and unacceptable.”

“YPY will not tolerate this ideological discrimination,” said Côté. “We must all demand that our   society be free of discrimination and censorship of minority or unpopular viewpoints. If there is a right not to be offended than we cannot have freedom of speech in this country or on campus.The legal killing of so many innocent human beings is a disturbing topic, but it is far too serious to suppress or ignore.”

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For further information:

Cameron Côté (YPY Vice President) – 778-678-4275, youthprotectingyouth@gmail.com

Alanna Gomez (CCBR Campus Outreach Director) – 403-690-5217, acampbell@unmaskingchoice.ca

Anastasia Pearse (NCLN Western Coordinator) – 604-365-3484, westerncanada@ncln.ca

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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.

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