FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FORMER NATIONAL STUDENT GROUP REP ADVOCATES THE REMOVAL OF PRO-LIFERS FROM CARLETON CAMPUS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FORMER NATIONAL STUDENT GROUP REP ADVOCATES THE REMOVAL OF PRO-LIFERS FROM CARLETON CAMPUS
Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) former National Deputy Chairperson Shelly Melanson circulated a referendum question to ban pro-lifers on campus.
January 12, 2012. OTTAWA, ON—This week, the former CFS National Deputy Chairperson Shelly Melanson publicized a referendum question to the Carleton University Student’s Association (CUSA) which is creating a firestorm of controversy. The proposed question involves censoring certain groups: “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 has been added to CUSA’s Write of Referenda for 2012, which indicates that the referenda will be held concurrently with the 2012 General Elections.
“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.”
Carleton Lifeline was decertified and defunded by CUSA in December of 2010, several months after five pro-life students were arrested on campus by police officers summoned by campus security for attempting to erect a graphic display, the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP: unmaskingchoice.ca/projects/gap).
Former Lifeline president Ruth (Lobo) Shaw, who was arrested at Carleton 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 Counciller, 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. 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.”
For more information, contact Carleton Lifeline president Taylor Hyatt at 613-558-2906, or former Lifeline president Ruth (Lobo) Shaw at 403-668-0485.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Censorship Case at Carleton University Heats Up
Carleton University Applies to Strike Pro-Life Lawsuit a Second Time
December 8, 2011. Carleton University has brought a second motion to strike the lawsuit against them put forward by two pro-life Carleton students, Ruth (Lobo) Shaw and John Nicholas McLeod in February 2010. In October 2011, Carleton University had (Lobo) Shaw and McLeod arrested for attempting to exhibit a pro-life display thereby violating the rights of the students to freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination and freedom of security. The Statement of Claim, which is the document initiating the lawsuit, claims that Carleton University is acting as a delegate of the Province of Ontario in providing post-secondary education to the general public.
The University is attempting to strike the claim that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to the University and its actions in the context of this litigation. They are also attempting to strike the claim that the University and members of its administration were negligent.
“Carleton University brought a motion to strike our Statement of Claim. If they are successful, our lawsuit will end. Our lawsuit survived their first motion to strike but, as they were unsuccessful in having our entire claim thrown out, they are now bringing this second motion on the same grounds. Their actions give the impression that the University does not want this matter to be addressed by a court.” said Ruth (Lobo) Shaw, former President of Carleton Lifeline and a Plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Are members of Carleton University’s administration concerned that an impartial judge would rule that the university violated the rights of their students?”
If Carleton University is successful in their motion, Carleton Lifeline’s claims of negligence and violation of Charter rights will be dismissed.
“We are dismayed that the University is continuing with this aggressive approach” said John Nicholas McLeod, current President of Carleton Lifeline and a Plaintiff in the lawsuit. “We had our rights violated and our voices censored. We decided to fight for our rights and Carleton University has employed tactics which are delaying a trial and increasing legal costs. In fact, in October, we were ordered to pay over $18,000 towards Carleton University’s legal costs for the first motion they brought.
All relevant information regarding the censorship against Carleton Lifeline by Carleton University, including all court documents and video footage of the arrest, can be found at http://www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com.
For more information please visit http://www.carletonlifeline.wordress.com or contact Lifeline’s lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos at 613-241-2701.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Student Trespass Charges Withdrawn in Carleton University Free Expression Case
OTTAWA, ON. November 1, 2011- Trespassing charges that were filed against members of Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life student club at Carleton University, were withdrawn by the Crown yesterday.
On October 4, 2010, members of Carleton Lifeline, a pro-life club at Carleton University, were arrested for attempting to peacefully display the Genocide Awareness Project, an exhibit which compares abortion to other forms of genocide. The University deemed the Genocide Awareness Project to be “offensive” and directed the Ottawa Police Service to arrest and charge four Carleton University tuition-paying students and a Queen’s University student with trespassing. The charges were scheduled to proceed to trial today and tomorrow (November 2nd, 2011).
The Crown stated that the basis for withdrawing the trespass charges is that the issues dealing with the relationship between a university and its students was already being dealt with in Lobo et al. v. Carleton University et al., the civil action brought by two Carleton Lifeline members, Ruth (Lobo) Shaw and John McLeod, against Carleton University and members of its administration.
In July, the Ontario Superior Court heard a motion brought by Carleton University which sought to strike Carleton Lifeline’s Statement of Claim, the document initiating the lawsuit. Had the university been successful, this would have ended the suit. In a split decision, Justice Toscano Roccamo ordered that the action could continue but ordered Carleton Lifeline to make several amendments to its Statement of Claim.
In a subsequent decision regarding costs of the motion to strike, Justice Toscano Roccamo ordered the students to pay Carleton University’s legal costs in the amount of $18,400.87 plus applicable taxes. Carleton University had asked that the students pay $21, 467.68 in legal fees.
“We are pleased that the Crown has decided to withdraw these unjust charges” said Ruth (Lobo) Shaw, former president of Carleton Lifeline. “We have always maintained that we had the right to exhibit the Genocide Awareness Project on campus and that our arrest was unlawful. The withdrawal of these unjust charges is confirmation of that fact.”
Despite the withdrawal of the charges, the civil action against Carleton University is ongoing. “Although we no longer need to defend ourselves against the trespassing charges, a lot of work still needs to be done to move our lawsuit against Carleton University along and to clarify the legal rights of students to campus free speech and expression,” said John McLeod, current president of Carleton Lifeline.
To support Carleton Lifeline’s Defense Fund, please visit http://www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com.
For further information, please visit http://www.carletonlifeline.wordpress.com or contact Carleton Lifeline’s Legal Counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulos at (613) 241-2701.