CARLETON UNIVERSITY CONTINUES TO BULLY STUDENTS
Carleton Communicates Misleading Statements to Public & Students’ Lawyer Responds
October 6, 2010. Ottawa. One day after Carleton University had Ottawa police arrest 5 students for attempting to peacefully express their views on abortion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJkBQn1-r8), a flurry of reports raise questions about whether the students are demanding something not allowed of other students.
University representatives have been reported as stating that no students are allowed to set up displays in the Quad, the area that the pro-life students selected for their signs. Attached is a letter the lawyer for the students sent to the university today.
Ruth Lobo, President of Carleton Lifeline, and one of the students arrested, responded: “The university is misleading the public by making it seem as though we are demanding special treatment instead of equal treatment, but that’s not true.”
She explained that their booking request was made several months ago and at no point between then and now did the university communicate to the students, or their lawyer, that the Tory Quad is not bookable space for students.
“Why is the University now claiming the Quad is not bookable space?” asked James Shaw, club Vice President. “We have done extensive research on the policies of the university and see no evidence of their claims that the space isn’t bookable. In fact, we see the opposite. If, as they’re now claiming, the Quad is not bookable, we should have been told in the summer when we were filling out the application form. That would have been a very simple answer to give, and a much easier one.”
According to the Booking-Space-On-Campus Policy, Tory Quad is listed as bookable space for recognized student groups, which includes Carleton Lifeline. Further, the policy does not place restrictions on display size or content.
According to David Sterritt, who is the Head of Housing and Conference Services at Carleton, the reason for denying the use of the Quad was based on content. On August 9, 2010, Sterritt wrote the club, “While we wish to provide your group with an opportunity to express itself freely on this matter, we are also aware that The Genocide Awareness Project uses promotional materials which are disturbing and offensive to some. To this end, we are prepared to offer your group the use of Porter Hall.”
Porter Hall is a closed room on campus that few students pass by and many are even unaware of its location.
“It’s clear by their direct communication to us,” said Lobo, “that this is content-based discrimination. This censorship should concern everyone, regardless of one’s views on abortion.”
Shaw added, “First the university has us arrested for peacefully exercising our academic freedom and free speech rights. And now they’re coming up with excuses for their bad behaviour that they never communicated to us. Shame on Carleton.”
Carleton Lifeline continues to stress that the right to free speech does not exist so much as to maintain mainstream views but more so to protect unpopular opinions like theirs, especially on a university campus.
Lobo said she finds it appalling the university would “mislead the public by making the arrest look like we violated university policy instead of what it really was: that Carleton censors opinions on campus thereby violating their own policy of academic freedom.”
Below is Carleton University’s Human Rights Policies and Procedures- relevant section is Part 1 General Article 4:
Below is Carleton University’s Booking-Space-On-Campus Policy- Relevant sections are Section 1 and Appedix A.:
For more information contact Ruth Lobo or James Shaw at 613-600-4791 (cell).
Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR)
5-8720 Macleod Trail SE
Calgary, AB, T2H 0M4
See it. Believe it. Change it. http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca
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