After denying a pro-life group official club status in 2010, Carleton University’s student union is proposing a referendum to ban pro-life groups from the campus altogether.
The question asks: “Are you in favour of banning groups such as Lifeline, the Genocide Awareness Project, Campaign for Life Coalition and other organizations that use inaccurate information and violent images to discourage women from exploring all options in the event of pregnancy from Carleton University?”
The question was proposed by Shelly Melanson, a former National Deputy Chairperson of the Canadian Federation for Students. CFS has informed LifeSiteNews that she no longer represents their organization.
It appears among a list of seven referenda questions on the Carleton University Student Association’s (CUSA) Writ of Referenda for 2012, and the vote would occur along with the 2012 student elections.
According to The Charlatan, Carleton’s student newspaper, CUSA’s council voted 15-14 on Jan. 10 to delay approval of the questions, as they are facing unrelated internal struggles.
Carleton Lifeline, the university’s pro-life club, was defunded and decertified by CUSA in December 2010 after five pro-life students were arrested on campus for erecting the Genocide Awareness Project, a graphic display comparing abortion to past atrocities like the Holocaust.
“Carleton Lifeline has already been decertified as a university club,” said Taylor Hyatt, co-president of Lifeline. “What this referenda question amounts to is an attempt to not only censor pro-life students, but ostensibly have them evicted from Carleton’s campus. Is Carleton University and CUSA going to start removing students for doing pro-life activities?”
Ruth (Lobo) Shaw, Lifeline’s former president who was one of those arrested in 2010, commented: “Carleton University and the student union have already made every attempt to silence students who attempt to have a discussion about abortion. They’ve already handcuffed Carleton students and put them in paddy wagons once. Is Ms. Melanson advocating for this to be standard university procedure when faced with dissenting views?”
Brandon Wallingford, the CUSA Arts and Social Sciences Councillor, decried the question as an infringement upon freedom of speech and noted that pro-life students were not the only group targeted.
“It is disturbing that there are those who wish to ban opposing points of view instead of engaging in the type of mature discussion that universities used to be famous for,” said Wallingford. “Instead, we have individuals showing a callous disregard for the rights of those who disagree with them, as is indicated by their attempt at further censoring and banning other student groups on campus including my club, the Firearms Association of Carleton University,” he continued.
“These attacks on the rights of Carleton students, whether they be pro-life students or students who enjoy sport shooting, are disgusting and a violation of their fundamental freedoms of expression and association,” he added.
This article originally appeared Jan. 12 at LifeSiteNews.com and is reprinted with permission.