OTTAWA, Ontario, November 18, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The embattled Carleton University pro-life club, which is facing the loss of its club status due to its pro-life views, has been given a boost of hope in the form of a newly introduced motion in the university’s student union.
After four members of Carleton Lifeline were arrested last month for attempting to erect a pro-life display on campus, the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) informed them last week that their club constitution violates a CUSA policy that upholds “a woman’s right to choose.”
Khaldoon Bushnaq, CUSA’s vice-president of internal affairs, gave the pro-life club until today to remove their pro-life commitment from the constitution or else they would lose their club status. The club instead vowed to fight.
Now it appears at least some members of the student union are considering backing down. Bushnaq told the Canadian Press Thursday that a motion was introduced at their council meeting Wednesday night to change CUSA’s policies so that the pro-life club can maintain its status. The motion is expected to be voted on in December.
Jason MacDonald, spokesman for the university, emphasized that CUSA operates independently, but said the university – which was responsible for ordering the students’ arrest – has “never challenged or questioned” the club’s right to exist or hold their views. “We have made efforts to accommodate their right to express themselves and their point of view on the abortion issue on our campus, though we may have disagreed over where and how they may express elements of their position,” said MacDonald.
LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from Bushnaq by press time.
“We’re appalled by CUSA’s decision to deny Lifeline the rights and privileges accorded to other student groups on the basis of Lifeline’s pro-life position,” commented Rebecca Richmond of Canada’s National Campus Life Network. “We hope that CUSA will realize that this constitutes discrimination and will alter its policies to respect Lifeline’s rights.”
The club’s loss of status made the cover of Canada’s National Post Wednesday in an article by Charles Lewis with the headline, “Support abortion or stay off campus, club told“. The Post’s main editorial Thursday condemned the CUSA action.
The Post decried the fact that Canadian universities are becoming “bastions of censorship” where “right-of-centre” students face lawsuits or expulsion for expressing their views while “left-wing students” are allowed to shut down views they oppose.
“We doubt CUSA would ask campus Marxists to renounce socialism, or require Muslim groups to convert to Judaism, yet they are demanding the equivalent backflip from pro-lifers,” the editorial reads.
Pro-life activities have been restricted or banned recently at numerous Canadian universities, including Lakehead University, the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, the University of Calgary, Newfoundland’s Memorial University, and Toronto’s York University.