All Posts Tagged With: "Carleton Lifeline"
What students are talking about today (January 11th)
1. The Waldorf, a two-year old arts venue in Vancouver’s east end, has been sold to developers. Artists are, unsurprisingly, enraged. Grimes was among those who played the tiki-themed multi-room venue. Her Tweet on Thursday captures the reaction to the closure: “wow vancouver is so f*d if they shut down the waldorf. f*k this city. you’ve destroyed nearly every piece of culture that you had.” Rhys Edwards, wrote this in a piece for The Ubyssey’s blog: “The Waldorf is one more victim in the amorphous onslaught of gentrification in a city that simply does not prioritize cultural activities that do not promote economic development.” Without the Waldorf, she says, Vancouver will be less weird.
2. Emma Teitel says she can’t do simple math and she’s blaming the pressure to perform, which in her case took the form of the “Mad Minute,” an exercise where students race against a clock to do as much arithmetic as possible. This created a fear of math and caused her to give up. She points out that Finnish students, who don’t face much pressure from teachers, perform best in the world.
Carleton had anti-abortion protesters arrested in 2010
Former Carleton University students who sued the university and its president after the school had them arrested for trespassing in 2010 can’t claim their Charter right to free expression was breached when the school refused to give them space to protest, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday. Ruth Lobo and John McLeod were arrested after their club, Carleton Lifeline, hung posters of aborted fetuses in a prominent space on campus called Tory Quad. The appeal court agreed with a January decision that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which limits the power of governments, doesn’t apply to the private institution in this case. For more, see the Ottawa Sun.
UNB ratifies pro-lifers as Carleton considers ban
There was good news and bad news this week for pro-life groups on Canadian campuses.
The University of New Brunswick Student Union has ratified the Students for Life Club, reports The Brunswickan. Amanda Magee, club president, told council that her group wants to have an open debate about abortion. They will provide information booths, but will not be seek out women directly.
Meanwhile, the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) has decided it will let the following referendum question stand in the next general election: “Are you in favor 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?”
Pro-life groups have been controversial at the Ottawa school. The club Carleton Lifeline was decertified by CUSA after five pro-life students were arrested on campus for attempting to erect a graphic display in 2010 called the Genocide Awareness Project, which showed pictures of fetuses.
Brandon Wallingford, the CUSA Arts and Social Sciences Councillor, was quoted in a press release by Carleton Lifeline yesterday saying that the referendum question infringes on freedom of speech. “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,” he said.
Students wanted to show graphic images in high-traffic area
Carleton University has asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit by two members of an anti-abortion group who claim they were discriminated against by the administration, reports the Ottawa Citizen.
The school wouldn’t allow Ruth Lobo and John McLeod of Carleton Lifeline to put up a display that included graphic images of genocide and fetuses in a high-traffic square on campus known as the Tory Quad. The university offered them a more secluded space to make their presentation. The students argue that was discriminatory because animal-rights activists and Holocaust awareness groups are permitted to use graphic images in Tory Quad.
Lawyers for the university told the judge the claim is “scandalous, frivolous, vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the process of the court.” They argued that the university’s Human Rights Policy and the policy on Student Rights and Responsibilities are “internal administrative directives and procedures,” and that they do not form a contract between administrators and students.
Lobo and McLeod’s lawyer argued that Carleton University may have been acting as an agent of government and would therefore be subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including provisions on freedom of expression.
Carleton student union upholds decision to ban anti-abortion group
The Carleton University Students Association (CUSA) has decided to uphold its judgment that Carleton Lifeline, an anti-abortion club on campus, is unworthy of group status.
CUSA threatened to strip the group of its status back in November, alleging that the club violated CUSA’s anti-discrimination policy. The policy states that “any campaign, distribution, solicitation, lobbying, effort, display, event etc. that seeks to limit or remove a woman’s right to choose her options in the case of pregnancy will not be supported.”
When the decision was being weighed, I argued that CUSA’s ban would amount to little more than discrimination based on religious and political belief. Yes, I used the “D” word. Here’s another word: humiliation. CUSA is no stranger to that one; it got plenty of it in 2008 after deciding to discontinue its Shinerama fundraiser for cystic fibrosis. Why? Well, members looked in their belly buttons and somehow landed upon the erroneous conclusion that the disease only affected “white people, and primarily men.” That little blunder cost CUSA some of its pride, and this one should too.
CUSA’s own constitution states its aim to uphold an “environment free from prejudice, exploitation, abuse or violence on the basis of, but not limited to, sex, race, language, religion, age, national or social status, political affiliation or belief, sexual orientation or marital status.” Indeed, on paper CUSA purports to defend a campus environment where prejudice based on political affiliation or belief is not tolerated. However, in practice, CUSA not only yields to such intolerance, but acts as perpetrator by denying club status based on the beliefs of its members. Ironic? (That creaking sound you hear is the collective twinge of CUSA’s decision-makers cocking their heads.)
Carleton Lifeline has been criticized for its methods—particularly its graphic displays and comparisons of abortion to Holocaust. I happen to agree with many of those criticisms. I really don’t see the need to invoke Hitler in the discussion of terminated pregnancies, especially when doing so is a pretty sure-fire way to shoot one’s self in the foot. But CUSA should not be the one to take away the gun. Pro-choice positions were once in the spot pro-life positions find themselves on campuses today; that is, in the minority. Imagine we forced those students silent for fear they would infringe on the rights of the religious majority? (Actually, that was often the case.) While Carleton Lifeline is not being silenced today, it is effectively being sent the same message by being denied club status.
The union needs to stand by its principle of defending the rights of all students, regardless of ideology. Or else, it should stand by none at all. While Carleton Lifeline’s message might make us feel a little uneasy, it does not infringe on a woman’s right to choose. CUSA should be ashamed of its blatant ideological favouritism, and lambasted for its discriminatory action towards its own students on campus.
Our student panel weighs in
Pro-life clubs are among the most controversial student groups on university campuses. At several universities across the country, they have had their student group status stripped and have even been arrested for their advocacy. Recently, the Carleton University Students’ Association decertified pro-life group Carleton Lifeline because the club’s constitution was out-of-line with CUSA’s official pro-choice stance.
Our bloggers have weighed in on the issue, with Robyn Urback arguing that CUSA has enacted a “discriminatory ban” and Jacob Serebrin taking the position that no student group has any inherent right to funding.
We put the question to our student panel. Leading off this week is Shelley Halchuk, a dentistry student at the University of Manitoba, and an executive member of the University of Manitoba Aboriginal Students’ Association. As with previous weeks, all videos will be featured on our You Tube channel.
Wants official student group status restored
Pro-life student group, Carleton Lifeline, is threatening to sue the students’ union if its official student group status is not restored. The group was officially de-certified last week after the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) informed them that the group’s constitution would have to be amended to be brought inline with the students’ union’s pro-choice stance. Without official club status Carleton Lifeline would not receive the same funding that other student groups are entitled to, and would not be permitted to use CUSA controlled space for their advocacy. Albertos Polizogopoulos, the group’s lawyer, said earlier this week that if the group is not re-certified, legal action will be pursued. Prior to last week, Carleton Lifeline had been certified since early 2007.
Pro-life club could regain status in December
A motion to change the Carleton University Students Association’s policy against pro-life clubs was introduced to council on Wednesday. The students’ association and student group Carleton Life had been exchanging letters over the past several weeks, which culminated with the group losing its certification.
In a letter to Carleton Lifeline, CUSA informed the group that if it did not alter its contitution by Thursday Nov 18, that it would not receive student group status. The group had received status last year. CUSA wants the pro-life group to bring its constitution inline with the students’ association’s pro-choice stance. The motion to change CUSA’s policy to permit pro-life groups to gain certification will be voted on next month.
Without official club status Carleton Lifeline would not receive the same funding that other student groups are entitled to, and would not be permitted to use CUSA controlled space for their advocacy. The university administration has said it does not agree with the students’ association position, and will provide the pro-life group space on campus to express their views.
Carleton students shouldn’t be forced to pay for a group they don’t support
Critics of the Carleton University Students’ Association’s threat to strip an anti-abortion group’s club status are missing the point.
“Carleton student association bans anti-abortion club,” screams the headline on the National Post’s religion blog. According to a press release from the Campaign Life Coalition: “Carleton University, that bastion of free-thought, has ordered some of its students to accept its pro-abortion policy or leave the University.”
The problem is that this just simply isn’t true.
What’s actually happening at Carleton is that the students’ association–not the university–has decided to suspend a group’s club status. What does this actually mean? It means the group won’t get student money and can’t use student space for their activities. That’s it.
This has nothing to do with freedom of speech and everything to do with a group of self-righteous whiners who feel that they’re entitled to funding from all students and are upset that the gravy train has been stopped.
This group hasn’t been “silenced” or any such nonsense, they’re just being forced to pay their own way.
Students shouldn’t be forced to financially support groups that they disagree with. As Thomas Jefferson said, “to compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
Yes, I am aware that students across the country are forced to pay for on-campus groups they may or may not support. I don’t think they should be.
Moreover, Carleton Lifeline’s views are particularly extreme. The group’s most recent protest involved the hosting of something called the “Genocide Awareness Project” a vile campaign which makes a mockery of the suffering of Holocaust victims.
The CUSA is a private corporation run by elected pseudo-politicians, they’re allowed to take stances on issues. One might even say that’s what they’re supposed to do.
If individual Carleton students want to pay for this group they can, and should, do it out of their own pockets.
Threat to decertify pro-life group ignores union’s pledge to protect campus diversity
CUSA issued a notice to Carleton Lifeline Monday saying that the group will been banned for failing to comply with CUSA’s anti-discrimination policy. It helpfully informed the club that it has the opportunity to be recertified, so long as it adjusts the terms its constitution.
“We invite you to amend your constitution to create one that respects our anti-discrimination policy,” wrote Khaldoon Bushnaq, CUSA’s vice-president of internal affairs. CUSA’s anti-discrimination policy essentially states that “any campaign, distribution, solicitation, lobbying, effort, display, event etc. that seeks to limit or remove a woman’s right to choose her options in the case of pregnancy will not be supported.”
In sum, Carleton’s anti-abortion club must now support abortion rights if it wants to remain a student group on campus. The thought police at CUSA have given Carleton Lifeline until tomorrow to amend its constitution.
CUSA is the same student organization that famously and erroneously characterized cystic fibrosis as a disease only affecting “white people, and primarily men” back in 2008. The student savants who made up the council at that time deemed the disease not “inclusive” enough and voted to discontinue its Shinerama fundraising campaign. The burden of national embarrassment (and, you know, the actual facts about the disease) eventually prompted council to reverse the decision, but it seems the discomfiture of being a Canada-wide laughingstock back in 2008 has settled for the CUSA of late, and it’s getting back to making outrageous moves.
In what can only be perceived as an ironic push for progressivism, CUSA has turned its own constitution on its head; a constitution which explicitly states its aim to uphold an “environment free from prejudice, exploitation, abuse or violence on the basis of, but not limited to, sex, race, language, religion, age, national or social status, political affiliation or belief, sexual orientation or marital status.” Despite Article I of CUSA’s constitution, which states that the organization “shall act as a representative of the entire undergraduate student body attending Carleton University” (emphasis mine), CUSA’s decertification of Carleton Lifeline is little more than a discriminatory move toward a segment of its populace.
Some students at Carleton University believe that abortion is wrong. Shall I pause for dramatic effect? Though perhaps an unpopular position among members of CUSA’s council, it shall nevertheless seek to uphold an environment where pro-lifers can express their political and ideological beliefs free from discrimination. That’s according to CUSA’s own stated principles. Perhaps council has forgotten, but clauses protecting individuals’ rights to association and free speech are precisely so important as to protect those unpopular opinions. Concepts such as a woman’s right to cast a vote or the freedom for gay partners to express affection in the streets were once unpopular and/or offensive positions too, after all.
Not only is CUSA failing to protect its student from discrimination based on political and possibly religious belief (anti-abortion positions are often faith-based, after all), the group has taken on the role of oppressor itself. By mandating a “think like us or else” ultimatum, council is not seeking equity for all students, but rather, is playing favourites with group ideology. Short of CUSA declaring that pro-life attitudes plague only “white people, and primarily men,” I should think this latest hypocriticial CUSA move has just about pushed limits of reason.
-Photo shows Lifeline members being arrested during a demonstration on campus last month.
Group has until Nov 18 to amend constitution or lose student group status
A pro-life club at Carleton University has been threatened with losing its status as a student group. According to a letter issued by the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA), Carleton Lifeline has until Nov 18 to amend it’s constitution or risk decertification.
The anti-abortion club’s constitution declares that “Carleton Lifeline believes in the equal rights of the unborn and firmly believes that abortion is a moral and legal wrong, not a constitutional right. Therefore, Carleton lifeline shall work to promote the legal protection of the unborn and their basic human rights to life.”
The students’s association claims that the group is in violation of campus discrimination policies that “respect and affirm a woman’s right to choose her options in case of pregnancy.” CUSA regulations state that no students’ association resources be used for “actions such as any campaign, distribution, solicitation, lobbying, effort, display, event etc. that seeks to limit or remove a woman’s right to choose.”
Students charged with trespassing after erecting anti-abortion display
Five students were arrested and charged with trespassing after erecting an anti-abortion display at Carleton University’s main quadgrangle. Four of the students are members of pro-life group, Carleton Lifeline, while the fifth student was from Queen’s University.
The university had denied the group permission to put up the display in the quadgrangle when it applied two months ago, citing the size and offensiveness of the photos. Instead, the students were offered a table in university centre, an offer that apparently was not suitable for the group’s goals. It is about telling “the truth about abortion,” a Carleton Lifeline member said in the Post.
Photo of Ottawa police arresting students, courtesy of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform