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.