Canadian Pro-Life Students Threatened with Expulsion

The University of Calgary is moving ahead with proceedings against eight pro-life students who are being charged with tresspassing on their own campus.  Despite the fact that these proceedings could deprive these students of the same rights enjoyed by every other student on campus, they are being denied even the most basic right of legal representation.

It should be emphasized that if any public university in the USA were to attempt such blatant censorship and discrimination, they would be immediately be defending themselves in a Federal civil rights action.  And that university would lose.  As you pray for these students, you might also thank God that you live in a country where your most basic rights are protected by law, including the right of free speech and assembly.  Let’s work and sacrifice to keep it that way.  Here is the latest from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform:

The University of Calgary is proceeding with individual non-academic misconduct hearings, which include the possibility of expulsion, for eight members of the Campus Pro-Life (CPL) student group regarding a pro-life display held earlier this month. The University administration notified students that “legal representatives are not suitable Advisors and are not welcome” at the individual, closed-door hearings, scheduled for April 28th and April 30th.
“This feels like a show trial where they’ve already convicted us unjustly and now want to punish us unjustly,” said Alanna Campbell, CPL President.
Earlier this month, after having set up a pro-life display on campus for the ninth time since 2006, members of the group were notified that they were being charged with a ‘Major Violation’ under Section 4.10 of the University of Calgary’s Non-Academic Misconduct Policy for “failure to comply with a Campus Security officer or University official in legitimate pursuit of his/her duties.” In 2006 and 2007, during the first four displays of the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on campus, the University defended the students’ right to expression under the Charter, but in 2008 the University reversed its policy without explanation.
Two hearings will be held on April 28th, at 1:00pm and 1:30pm. The remaining six are scheduled throughout the day on Friday, April 30th with the first at 9:30am.
“We’ve never received an explanation for why the University reversed their position, nor have we received any explanation as to what a security official’s legitimate duties actually include,” stated Vice-President Peter Csillag.
The group’s pro-life display, called the Genocide Awareness Project, has been held on the University of Calgary grounds without incident eight times since 2006. The display compares abortion to past historical atrocities, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.
“In exercising our freedom of expression rights, there is not a single University of Calgary bylaw or regulation broken,” said CPL Secretary Cristina Perri, “Obviously we’re going to challenge or appeal any adverse decision that comes from these or future hearings.”
In 2009, the University charged six students with trespassing in relation to the display, but the Crown Prosecutor stayed these charges prior to a trial scheduled for November of 2009.
In a statement to media on April 18th following notification of the Non-Academic Misconduct charges, CPL Vice-President (External) Cameron Wilson stated the Club’s position, “Our message to the University is this: do unto us whatever you desire, punish us however you wish; but our convictions shall not change, and we shall not alter our actions based on intimidation.”
For further information, contact Club President Alanna Campbell at (403) 690-5217, Vice-President (Internal) Peter Csillag at (403) 465-1777, or lawyer John Carpay of the Canadian Constitution Foundation at (403) 619-8014.

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