Just when you thought Canadian free speech could not be undermined any further, the administration of the University of Calgary has decided to take censorship to the level of Soviet-style crackdown on prolife students. I mentioned the U of C Campus Prolife group in a previous blog post, when the university administration charged several of their own students with trespassing on the campus where they attended classes. The Crown saw fit to stay these charges, and the U of C has decided to take a different tack in hopes that threat of academic censure will silence the voices of the prolifers. U of C Campus Prolife put out this news release last night:
April 18th, 2010 : FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRO-LIFE STUDENTS FACE POSSIBLE EXPULSION FROM U OF C
CALGARY- The University of Calgary has notified eight of its own students that they are being charged with non-academic misconduct, with a possibility of expulsion, for having set up a pro-life display on campus earlier this month.
Campus Pro-Life (CPL) Club President Leah Hallman stated, “We understand the severity of the charges, but our consciences could not contemplate silence, therefore we must stand by our convictions to fight for the lives of unborn children.”
The group’s Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display has been held on the University of Calgary grounds without incident eight times since 2006. The GAP display compares abortion to past historical atrocities, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.
“They failed to convince the crown that we were trespassing on our own campus last year so now they want to charge us with ‘non-academic misconduct’ for exercising our right to express our views,” said Peter Csillag, CPL’s Vice-president. “We condemn and will challenge these charges, as we have with all previous attempts at censoring and intimidating us.”
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. The University has threatened participating students with non-academic misconduct charges on the occasion of each display, but this is the first time they are following through with their threat.
“Quite frankly, I can’t help but feel like we’re living parts of the novel One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich,” stated Vice-president Cameron Wilson, “it feels almost surreal that we still have to fight this battle on our own campus.”
Campus Pro-Life will be holding a press conference at 10:00am on Monday, April 19th, 2010 outside of the MacKimmie Library Building on the University of Calgary campus to make a formal statement and answer questions pertaining to new developments.
For further information, contact CPL Club President Leah Hallman at (403) 808-3412, Vice-president (external) Cameron Wilson at (403) 668-9624, or lawyer John Carpay of the Canadian Constitution Foundation at (403)
This is too disgusting for words. With prolife clubs across Canada facing constant censure and harassment, the U of C has set a new precedent in attempting to silence a particular viewpoint. I stand in support with my friends at the University of Calgary, and can only hope that Canadians will stand in support for the right of their fellow citizens to freedom of thought and opinion.