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Debate censorship by pro-choice student unions?

University of Guelph’s student union latest to ban pro-life club


 

Forgive me for my sarcasm in this post, but I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall and not even chipping the paint. The only thing I’m achieving is continuing to frustrate myself and getting a headache. Yet, I continue screaming at the top of my lungs: “Enough! Banning free speech does nothing but make martyrs of the newly-oppressed!”

The latest cause of my frustration is the banning, on Oct. 1, of a pro-life club by the University of Guelph’s undergraduate student union, the Central Student Association.

A few months ago during a similar situation at York University, I noted that banning pro-life groups is actually counter-productive to the pro-choice cause.

The name of the banned club is Life Choice and they stand accused of promoting their anti-abortion/pro-life viewpoint during an event called “Life Fair” in March. The event featured speakers from the pro-life side, including graphic pictures and the distribution of materials to the student body. The CSA says this violated clubs policy and decided to ban the club during its Oct. 1 board meeting.

Life Choice says it didn’t believe it was violating policy.

This is the typical “he said-she said” debate that surrounds this issue. As much as I’m personally disgusted by some of the material and graphics shown by pro-lifers at many events I’ve witnessed, I support their ability to express their viewpoint and distribute their materials.

Sadly, the CSA does not believe in free speech for this political hot potato. According to the CSA, the event in March was so traumatic they had no choice but to ban the club and to issue an apology on behalf of the student body for exposing them to this side of the debate. The apology cites, in partial defense of the CSA’s crackdown on free speech, a recent resolution of the Canadian Federation of Students to support student unions which ban “anti-choice organizations access to their resources and space.”

All of this reflects poorly upon the CSA, but it gets worse. The CSA did not provide due process to the pro-life group.

Under the CSA’s own policy, Life Choice was supposed to be informed that their club status was being review. This would have provided the club the opportunity to speak in its own defense in front of the CSA Board. The CSA did not inform Life Choice of the impending vote as they rushed to ban the club. The lack of due process discredited the decision to ban the club. The CSA took the position that this lack of due process was acceptable because the club could appeal its mistreatment to the CSA Board of Directors, the same people who denied them due process in the first place.

The appeal was to be heard on Oct. 29. In the lead up to this meeting, the local mainstream newspaper The Guelph Mercury, devoted an editorial to the fiasco. In the editorial, the paper called the ban an “incredibly ill-advised choice.” However, the paper noted the appeal offered the CSA a “chance to save face, do the proper thing and return the club’s student group status.”

Sadly, for the already damaged reputation of the CSA, the normal chair of their meetings was unavailable that night and the meeting was unable to render a decision on the future of the pro-life club. According to The Mercury, the CSA will be meeting again tomorrow and still has the opportunity to make the right decision. They can allow for free speech to return to their campus.

Here’s my advice to the CSA: allow Life Choice enough status to participate in the great discussions of the academy. Allow them free speech. Don’t fund them. (They’ve said they don’t want the funding.) Allow them to distribute their viewpoint. If the CSA feels so strongly on the issue, counter their materials. If they are false, as the CSA claims, have confidence in the intelligence of the average university student to be able to realize this.

The abortion debate is exactly that; a debate. What better place for a debate to occur than on an university campus.


Poll Question

 

[poll=18]

 

This poll closes at 19:00 Eastern Standard Time on November 12, 2008


 

Debate censorship by pro-choice student unions?

  1. Students’ union’s are advocacy organizations that take political positions. Why, then, would they provide resources of any kind to a position they oppose? It’s ridiculous. As a gay man, should I contribute money (or a platform) to an “ex-gay” organization in order to promote “free speech”? No way. I oppose their ridiculous and damaging views.

    This is not about free speech; it has never been about free speech. The anti-choice thugs are free to speak; nobody is preventing them from opening their mouths and espousing their harmful views (which are usually rooted in irrational and patriarchal religious ideologies). But students’ union’s who oppose them are not, and should not, be providing any resources or platform for them. They have free speech; we are not obligated to subsidize and amplify that speech. Let the idiots raise their own money.

    And if the student body wants their students’ union to support the anti-choicers, then the student body surely has access to governance mechanisms for proposing, debating, and adopting such a position. In the meantime, students’ union representatives are well within their rights NOT to support the anti-choicers — as the BC Supreme Court recently affirmed.

  2. Joey,

    A woman’s right to reproduce when she chooses is just that – a right. A right that isn’t debatable.

    The right of women to have access to safe and fully-funded abortions in Canada is guaranteed in their right to life, liberty, and security of person, as established by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1988.

    Justice Wilson explains:

    “The right to “liberty” contained in s. 7 guarantees to every individual a degree of personal autonomy over important decisions intimately affecting his or her private life. Liberty in a free and democratic society does not require the state to approve such decisions but it does require the state to respect them.

    A woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy falls within this class of protected decisions. It is one that will have profound psychological, economic and social consequences for her. It is a decision that deeply reflects the way the woman thinks about herself and her relationship to others and to society at large. It is not just a medical decision; it is a profound social and ethical one as well…

    Section 251 also deprives a pregnant woman of her right to security of the person under s. 7 of the Charter. This right protects both the physical and psychological integrity of the individual. Section 251 is more deeply flawed than just subjecting women to considerable emotional stress and unnecessary physical risk. It asserts that the woman’s capacity to reproduce is to be subject, not to her own control, but to that of the state. This is a direct interference with the woman’s physical “person”…

    The deprivation of the s. 7 right in this case offends freedom of conscience guaranteed in s. 2(a) of the Charter. The decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is essentially a moral decision and in a free and democratic society the conscience of the individual must be paramount to that of the state. Indeed, s. 2(a) makes it clear that this freedom belongs to each of us individually.”

    Anti-choice groups intend to intimidate and influence women to make one decision, and to actively undermine the reproductive rights of women. There is nothing debatable about a woman’s right to choose.

    I am happy that more organisations, including student unions, are taking stances to assert a women’s right to choose. Reproductive rights are constantly under attack and women and their allies need to continue to fight to both retain the rights we have, and fight for better access for women who currently do not have access to abortions (e.g. women in PEI, New Brunswick, many rural women, women living on reserves, etc).

    If anti-choice individuals do not support abortions, they can choose not to have one. They can also produce materials about why they think abortion is morally wrong. They can talk to their neighbours or friends about it, they can hold debates, or whatever about the moral issues. No organization, though, is forced to fund those initiatives.

    The CSA is being responsible in actively opposing these organizations on their campus. Most student unions, and I would imagine the CSA is no different, provide their members with local resources about dealing with pregnancy, so that women can make an informed decision.

    Many women, I am sure, would consult with their partner, friends, family, doctor, and in some cases a priest or minister when facing such a significant decision. I am sure that they debate with others and with themselves what the best choice for them is. But no matter what a pregnant women chooses to do, the choice itself isn’t debatable.

    P.S. When’s the “Anti-Freedom of the Press” issue of MacLean’s coming out?

  3. Is there any evidence here that the club in question was advocating the abolishment of womens’ rights to a safe abortion? Both of the comments thus far that have been supportive of the CSA’s decision have used the term “anti-choice” instead of “pro-life”, as if the two were the same thing. To both of you I have to ask, is it impossible to believe on one hand that a woman should have the right to choose, but on the other hand believe that choosing abortion is a bad thing and ought to be discouraged?

    Now, I did a little digging on the CSA’s policies, and they include provisions for revoking a club’s status and funding in a situation where they act inappropriately, including engaging in activities deemed to be oppressive in nature. I’ve seen plenty of pro-life groups act in such a way that I’d want their funding revoked. But whether or not this group acted in that way is a question that ought to be examined under a formal review, with the accused given an opportunity to defend themselves. And if their funding was revoked after that review, then so be it, but saying something done the wrong way was right because you approve of the outcome is wrong. “The Ends Justify The Means” is not a suitable model of governance.

    If CSA wanted to refuse funding to Life Choice, they could have introduced a measure to their club funding regulations that they would only fund clubs with stances they agree with (they’re the student government, after all, they can make any rules they want within their jurisdiction and there are legal precedents to refusing funds to pro-life groups). As it was, the policy they had was that any group could get funding assuming they played by the rules, and whether or not Life Choice broke the rules should have been subject to review and due process, which it wasn’t. Regardless of how you feel about the issue of women’s choice, you have to acknowledge that based on their actions, CSA was in the wrong here.

  4. I think a big point to clear up in that debate, before even talking about abortion:

    Does removing club status equals banning from campus? The answer to this depends of what club status means in different universities.

    1 – Club status might give access some student union resources (such as funding or physical resources available).

    2 – Club status might also be a condition for the university to allow students to book a room or put up posters on campus.

    If the student union refuses to put its own resources in it (point 1 above), the club has to fund its own event and find by itself the physical resources it needs (e.g. multimedia material, etc.). But that doesn’t prevent them from being active on campus.

    In case 2, it’s a different story, because in that case it has nothing to do with student union resource, it is only that the university itself uses the club certification at its own certification mechanism for which groups are allowed to, basically, do anything public on campus (posting or booking space).

    Do you agree with that difference?

    —-

    On another topic, I remember in 2005 the University of Ottawa (not the student association) attempting to pass a rule to ban any event with political and religious content in some public spaces. This was clearly wrong and it was repealed the day after students mobilized on it.

    But U of O, I think, still maintains a sort of “good taste” policy and all materials need to be approved by security. I think one incident that caused this was not related to abortion, but rather to some human rights group showing graphic images of war in a public area (rather than a closed room). Some people argued the group had no right to “force” these images on people passing by. This is for obvious reasons related to the debate here and I wonder what people would say about where to trace the line, relating to violent images or other graphic content. Would you support a policy that limits those events to closed rooms? Or you think people should not be shielded from witnessing violence that actually happens elsewhere?

  5. The “Life Choice” issue is indeed about the loss of rights, but not the right to free speech that so many around the community and in the media have cited; it is about the potential loss by women of their sexual rights. The World Health Organization’s working definition of sexual rights includes the right to achieve “the highest attainable standard of sexual health, including access to sexual and reproductive health care services.” Other rights listed under sexual rights include rights to sexual education and bodily integrity, and the right to “pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.” The fact that the ultimate goal of “Life Choice” is to see these rights taken away cannot be overemphasized. At present, they have not and will not say that this is their mission, but their advocacy of a “right way” to act when one becomes pregnant, and their targeting of those who have had abortions are tactical methods of control. If the intent of “Life Choice” was anything less, why would they circulate such slogans as “Make Abortion Extinct,” and “Refuse to Choose”? The notion that these slogans prompt any sense of ambiguity is absurd to me; and yet this very rhetoric, found at the heart of “Life Choice’s” mandate, has been conveniently pushed aside to ensure that the heedless discussion of “free speech” continues.

    After all, newspapers like The Ontarion and The Guelph Mercury have a specific stake in their obvious coalition with “Life Choice” – the group is like a free lunch for our local media. As long as it remains, the papers’ editors won’t have to get back to the business of actually finding stories to cover. And as long as the getting’s good, The Ontarion will continue to forget any sense of ethical responsibility and publish dangerous, harmful covers such as the one we found on our campus last week (see the Ontarion’s website if you do not know what I’m referring to).

    Continuing to see this issue as nothing more than “a debate,” as the writer of this post does, is also dangerous – it ignores any sense of reality regarding the actual experience of pregnancy and abortion. Contrary to your opinion, Mr. Coleman, this issue has never been and never will be simply a debate. But perhaps it’s never occurred to you that this issue ACTUALLY affects women in your community.

  6. As a student who was present for the “life fair” put on by Life Choice, I would like to make it clear that the issue is not about freedom of speech. The issue is that Life Choice has repeatedly violated several CSA policies, but they would like to retain club status because they feel the CSA did not follow procedure correctly.

    Life Choice held their “life fair” in the University Centre’s courtyard, a public space essential to students and members of the university community. They brought in anti-choice organizations, such as Alliance for Life and Guelph and Area Right to Life. They handed out magnets saying “Let’s make abortion extinct!” and CD’s claiming that women who have abortions use them as a method of birth control.

    When I approached a speaker at the fair, before I said anything to indicate my view on abortion, and before I realized that this was in actuality an anti-choice fair, she put her arm around me and drew me in to her so our faces were very close. It was not a violent act, but it certainly made me uncomfortable and was inappropriate. I’m still unsure why she did this.

    Later, when I was in the UC and wearing a shirt saying “my body, my choice”, I had a different woman approach me (I was speaking with a friend) and tell me I was blind and God would not approve of me. This woman was approaching many people, expressing similar comments, and invading their personal boundaries.

    After the “life fair” Life Choice held an event called “Silent No More”. On a stage in the centre of the UC courtyard women who had negative experiences with abortion voiced their opinions over a microphone. One woman said making abortion legal 20 years ago was a “mistake”.

    I do not question or invalidate the experiences of these women. There is (and should be!) room for discussion of personal experiences with abortion, as well as emotions associated with female reproductive health.

    However, as the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion has said, individual experiences with abortion cannot be used to create a generalization for all women, which is what this event did. The APA’s report stated “Failures to control for…co-occurring risk factors may lead to reports of associations between abortion history and mental health problems that are misleading”.

    Life Choice’s decision to invite anti-choice organizations and hold an emotionally triggering event that advocated making abortions illegal in a public space that is essential for students was not only irresponsible, but in violation of CSA policies.

    The CSA, as a student union with clear mandates, is under no obligation to fund student groups that violate its policies. Anti-choice students, just like proponents of white supremacy, are free to peacefully organize and propagate their opinions, and can do so on campus through other avenues.

    The CSA has a duty to the students it represents to uphold its policies, especially ones regarding maintaining a safe environment for women students and “the fundamental right of all women to control their bodies”.

    I do not want my student union to fund another “life fair” that makes so many people feel unsafe in a building created for their use. I do not want my student union to fund the student group that organized this fair. I do not want my student union to fund the group of students who clearly advocated against a women’s right to control her body.

    I want my student union to defend the policies it has created to protect me as a female student.

  7. As a Representative of the CSA I would like to clear up some inaccuracies in Coleman’s article. Perhaps if he had bothered to get in touch with the CSA these inaccuracies would not be part of his article.

    Q: Did the CSA break its policy in the process?

    A: Because the CSA does not have policy on what to do in this circumstance, the CSA has not violated its policies in the appeals process. The policies that are continually being referred to are those that dictate what the CSA should do to take club status away which is not what we did. Each Fall and Winter semester CSA clubs have to go through the process of applying for club status. Life Choice did this, and they were not given status. All clubs know their application for status can be approved or denied by the board. As stated above, the CSA does not have clear policy on what to do when a club has not been given status yet, but the board has an objection with doing so. This situation has demonstrated above all the CSA must create a policy that outlines this process.

    Life choice was not present at the original October 1st meeting where the CSA made the initial decision to not give CSA club status to Life Choice. While the CSA recognizes that this was not the ideal process, there is no clear policy which dictates the steps to takes in this situation. The CSA is committed to clearing up this policy in order to give proper structure to an appeals process of this circumstance. In response to the situation and the concerns of the club, the CSA has slowed down the appeals process, giving the club time to be in dialogue with the CSA on this issue.

    Q: Is the CSA violating Free Speech?

    A: The CSA recognizes that there are responsibilities that come with the right to Free Speech. It is not a right that can be used as an excuse for not respecting the right of women to control their own bodies. The CSA has policies that demonstrate that control of one’s body is the right of women students. They should not have to be exposed to events that attack or demoralize this right. Though Life Choice members have a right to hold these opinions, it is not the responsibility of the CSA to support them, since we are a pro-choice organization.

    Q: Doesn’t the CSA think a university should be a place for free and open debate?

    A: Freedom of speech is of paramount importance to the democratic functioning of public post-secondary educational institutions. Unfortunately, this valuable principle has been misused by individuals and organizations which compromise a safe space on college campuses across Ontario, by comparing abortion to murder and advocating for the elimination of abortion. The students’ union supports the constitutional right to the freedom of speech, which constitutionally, has limits. We oppose the use of students’ unions to demonize and criminalize women’s reproductive freedoms.

    Q: Why did the CSA decide to ban pro-life groups on campus?

    A: There is no ban. Pro-life groups are free to organize on campus, the difference is that the CSA decided that it will not be done in the name of our organization which respects the right of all women to control their bodies. The student union decides democratically on our policies and bylaws. We have taken a stance which simply does not give CSA club status for anti-choice organizations.

  8. You have it completely wrong. It’s not a matter of free speech.

    It’s a matter of taking student money, in the form of student union fees, and giving it to questionable causes. Why should the student union give fees to a cause that not all students support? If I started an anti-homosexual club at a Canadian university, should I given student money to do so, and then scream “this is banning free speech!” like Joey Coleman does in a Maclean blog when denied club status?

  9. Student unions are not arbiters of free speech on campus. Access to student union resources does not determine who has freedom of speech and who doesn’t.

    In December 2006 Carleton’s student union, CUSA, passed a motion reinforcing the union’s pro-choice position and to deny any student union resources to student groups that advocated the criminalization of abortion. An unwritten part of this motion was an understanding that groups which compared the Holocaust to abortion would also be denied student union resources. As an organization, CUSA was completely within their rights to do this.

    Yet, this was called an attack on free speech. Most critics in this episode ignored the fact that the group in question, LifeLine, was still able to hold a debate with Planned Parenthood on the campus without any of the union’s resources. The group also ended up with student union funding because it agreed not to advocate for the removal of a women’s right to choose, but to promote their pro-life views as a choice.

    There is a fundamental difference between anti-choice and pro-life, a point that is deliberately conflated by anti-choice bigots. At Carleton, the anti-choice folks actually lied to religious student groups, including the MSA, saying that CUSA would cut funding to them because they were pro-life. Dirty tricks like this were conveniently absent from mainstream reports and those of critics. Also absent was the numerous death threats to the Womyn’s Centre and CUSA executives and councillors who spearheaded the pro-choice motion. Pro-choice means that people have the individual choice to make up their mind on the issue of abortion. It’s amazing how this is completely lost on so many people, particularly those attacking student unions.

    If student unions use their democratic processes to decide to deny resources to such groups, they are completely within their rights to do so. It’s called freedom of association, a right that many critics of student unions seem to forget.

    Those who cry “censorship” are copping-out of the democratic process within their student unions. They are attempting to derail and/or avoid an actual debate with students about the pros and cons of existing abortion rights. Whatever the issue may be, minority positions in a student union still have the right to organize and argue and try and use the democratic process to overturn the ruling.

    But this is precisely the crux of the issue – the anti-choice bigots are a minority and they know it. They know that they will not win through the democratic process so they rely on slander and lies, red herrings and a right-wing media that is happy to advance their cause of denying a woman’s right to choose.

  10. How is it that these articles can be taken seriously? The author did not fact check anything he has purported in this article. What due process did the author follow? He did not allow the CSA a chance to respond to HIS accusations. Life Choice is strictly an anti-choice group which has allowed their guests, and members to create an unsafe environment for students trying to student at the University of Guelph.

    Check your own backyard, before complaining about your neighbours.

  11. To the person who wrote this: “A woman’s right to reproduce when she chooses is just that – a right. A right that isn’t debatable.

    The right of women to have access to safe and fully-funded abortions in Canada is guaranteed in their right to life, liberty, and security of person, as established by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1988.

    Justice Wilson explains:….”

    Just so you know as much as its a strong argument that it is a right, it surely is debatable. The s.7 argument that you propose and Justice Wilson presented was NOT endorsed by the majority of the court in their decision to overturn the ban on abortion. In fact, she was the only one who provided the view that carte blanche abortion was a right. The rest of the court found flaws with the specific criminal law. They majority of justices who opposed the abortion law left lots of room for parliament to bring forth a new law.

  12. We could argue whether something is debatable or not. I would argue that my right to reproduce is not debateable.

    All of the judges in some way use s. 7. The decision below also outlines that interfering with a woman’s choice is a violation of her right to security of person.

    Per Dickson C.J. and Lamer J.:

    Section 7 of the Charter requires that the courts review the substance of legislation once the legislation has been determined to infringe an individual’s right to “life, liberty and security of the person”. Those interests may only be impaired if the principles of fundamental justice are respected. It was sufficient here to investigate whether or not the impugned legislative provisions met the procedural standards of fundamental justice and the Court accordingly did not need to tread the fine line between substantive review and the adjudication of public policy.

    State interference with bodily integrity and serious state-imposed psychological stress, at least in the criminal law context, constitutes a breach of security of the person. Section 251 clearly interferes with a woman’s physical and bodily integrity. Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a foetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus an infringement of security of the person.

  13. The declaration of students rights according to the policy 4.0 of the CSA policy manual states the the CSA has the responsiblity to protect students as a whole from discrimination of political beliefs and religious beliefs. The CSA is discriminating against the prolife political beliefs of students on campus who may or may not be in the club and violating this policy. The CSA is also violating students religious beleifs as most of the members of the club are christian or catholic and thier religion has a strong belief in the santicty of life.

    .

  14. The patriarchal CSA is violating the womens rights 4.2 of the CSA policy manuel by denying the woman the right to make an infomred descion to do with what she wants with her body. As students you know that in order to make an infromed descion on anything you need to know wall the sides of the issue, a have access to many differnt resources. The CSA is violating the policy to have the freedom to choose because the CSA is denying information and resources that the only true prolife organization on campus lIfe choice can provide. SO , Life choice is a service to those women to help them make an informed descion. Life choice is not denying the the womes rights clause because they are not phisicallly stopping a women from excersing her right to choose. If they were blocking the entrance to an abortuary the CSA would have a case. This is not the case however.

  15. But the facts of the case is that life choice is not stopping a women from excerisng her right to choose and if helping a women make the informed descion on abortion. The CSA is denying the is violating policy 4.2 by not allowing a women to have acess to all available resources in regards to an abortion or other options. The CSA is picking and choosing what information the woman on campus have acess too. They are only allowing women access to resources and (prochoice) information on one side of the issue. I hav eevidence according to thier apology, minutes, articles, etc of this huge blatent violation.

  16. The abortion debate is not resolved and the CSA has no responsibilty to protect women on campus from the consequences of thier own personal descions around abortion. The women knew that thier is strong oppsotion in the society to abortion and she needs to face reality that their is always going to be people who disagree with her choice and she has no right to try to silance political beliefs that are protected under the CSA delcaration of students rights as a whole. Techinically an anti choice group, a pro chocie group and a prolife group are all protected under this one policy .

  17. It is a matter of power going to peoples heads and misuse and abuse of that power. The CSA is picking and choosing what information students have access to. I do not want my money taken from my tuition to pay for a lawyer if this case goes to the courts and the humans rights Commision. That money could be used for students clubs. The student union at UBC- Okanogan or Capilano univeristy paid at $45,000 in legal fees to prevent a club that has every right to be on campus. I do not want my money going to help the CSA fight against Life choice. I have confidence that the patriarchal CSA has most likely lost to the club and the prolife people who are being oppressed on thier own campus by the CSA breaking so many policies.

  18. I have a 26 page document and (still in progress )to present to the CSA at the appeal with solid phisical evidence of the CSA violating lots of thier own policeys and bylaws in the lifechoice case. I do not want to write them here because the CSA might be reading this. They will find out at the appeal.

  19. I forgot to add the CSA is funded by the national campus life network not the CSA ever. They have never even had an office. The According to the CSA policys they have to protect students from discrimination on their religious and political beliefs as a whole. That includes the anti choice groups, pro choice groups, and prolife groups.

  20. The CSA is in the wrong. Life choice is not phisically preventing any women from excersing her right to choose. This means they are not violating the womens right to excerise her right to choose. They are provideing prolife life informtaion to help a women choose and be informed. This is about the abuse of power by the CSA.

  21. Some of my replies to posts are not posting even though it said it did. Just letting you know of a glitch in the posting process. I put alot of thought into my posts so it is incrediably frusturating see them not appear. I am hoping its not a moderator suppressing my freedom of speech. I agree that it s a debate and not an essay site and I am doing my best to follow the rules of the site. SO I am hoping that my posts are not comming up because of a glitch.

  22. For those of you who are interested in seeing CSA policy instead of hearing an anti-choice interpretation … here it is. It pretty explicitly states a pro-choice stance.

    The CSA's Policy Manual states in Appendix F, 4.2 that "women have the right to an educational environment free of advertisement, entertainment, programming and/or materials which promote violence against women, sexual stereotyping and discrimination. Furthermore, the fundamental right of all women to control their bodies by:
    i) Access to safe, reliable birth control and family planning information and the right of choice in the method.
    ii) Freedom of choice choosing one's stance in the matter of abortion.
    iii) Access to quality health services and counseling which meet the needs of women students and respect a woman's control of her body.
    iv) Freedom of expression of sexual orientation;
    v) Freedom from sexual assault and all other forms of violence."

    Some people have highlighted the point about choosing one's stance and that Life Choice has that right. Yes, that is important to note, but in order to be able to choose one's stance, there needs to be a choice. I was at that Life Fair, and it was explicitly ANTI-CHOICE. Speakers were saying on the mic that abortion was immoral, unthinkable, murder, and that it should be abolished. That is about as anti-choice as you can get.

    So please Gen and "Guelph Student who has done research", don't twist the CSA's policies into some pro-life stance. The policies are pro-choice and the CSA has a right to enforce them. Go stand on your anti-choice soap-box somewhere else. I'm sure the CSA has heard quite enough from you.

  23. I was going to ask out of curiosity what bylaws and policies they had violated, but if you feel as if restricting the argument because you don't want the CSA to hear your argument beforehand and have time to think about it, okay. Immature and not what I would suggest, but okay.

    Why at this point does Life Choice care if they are accredited? If they have received no office space or funding, how much do they benefit by being accredited by the CSA? The student government is not the only organization on campus that can give a club permission to hold events, correct?

  24. 1. (Guelph Student ) already tried putting up those policys you want to know about and I want to talk about. They were deleted by the website moderator. Even if I could post those policeys those would be deleted. The Club which I am not even a member represents the political and religous beliefs of all of the pro life community. The Club is fighting on principle. It is not my choice it is up to whoever is moderating this heated debate. Do not attack me personally. I do not attack people, I attack policys and procedural errors in the case.

    The CSA is the only governement on campus that can allow events to be held on campus. The Univeristy of Guelph does not approve events. So freedom of politcal exspression is thus violated. Plus there is no solid phisical eveidence that Life choice broke policy. I was at the appeal and they still has no evidence. Just hearsay evidence which is not admissable. People stop slandering life choice they did nothing wrong.

  25. The Policy 4.2 is meant to be neutral, not prochoice or pro life. Strong students governments have a responsibilty to not take stances on political issues. That is not thier job. There Job is to advocate for students on al lthings academia. If the CSA policy that you are are interpreting is prochoice then it is in direct conflict and violating another policy. Which I cannot put here because the moderator will delete it like they deleted (guelph student post )who was making a point on both policys. I can tell you though that it will be brought up at the appeal.

    oh, and attacking someone personally in a debate like you are attacking me is immature and disrespectful and the moderator should take that into account. Please rectify the situation.

  26. Just to correct you. policy 4.2 ,11. states the right to an education al enviroment free of advertisement , entertainment programing, and- or materials which promote violanece against women , sexual sterotyping and discrimination . This is not the same policy as policy number 4.2, 13 according to CSA policy which is:

    13. The fundamental right for women to control thier bodies. It is a fact that I caught you in a lie. Now, I have evidence that I will present to counter policy 11 and 13 alleged violations and I can prove that life choice has not broken these policy. You cannot justify evil or wrongdoing, it is impossible.

  27. The UC courtyard is not an academic enviroment. A lab , a lecture hall, a class room are academic enviroments. The UC is a public place on campus that has nothing to do with acadamia.

  28. Thanks for the correction, the policy I quoted is 4.2.13.

    Gen, 4.2.13 is NOT in any way neutral. It specifically says that women have the fundamental right to control their bodies, which is not a pro-life or anti-choice stance. It also says that women should have health services that respect and promote a woman’s right to control her body. When you start arguing that abortion is murder, and that a fetus should have rights, you are arguing against a woman’s right to control her body.

    There IS substantial evidence that material handed out at the Life Fair was anti-choice. I was also at the appeal and that evidence was stated by many people. The Life Choice rep just chose to not answer questions about the explicitly anti-choice materials. It does not matter whether Life Choice could succeed in criminalizing abortion. What matters is that women should not be subject to groups who promote the restriction of their rights. A student union should not have to support a group that demoralizes the rights of women.

    Also, many of the groups that Life Choice brought in were explicitly anti-choice. Before I walked through the UC on March 7th, I had encountered the anti-choice group Silent No More ( http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/ ) This group states specifically that one of their goals is to,

    “Educate the public that abortion is harmful emotionally, physically and spiritually to women, men and families, so that it becomes unacceptable for anyone to recommend abortion as a ‘fix’ for a problem pregnancy.”

    Basically what they are saying is that abortion should not be offered to women. THAT is anti-choice. The CSA has every right to say that they will not support an anti-choice group on campus because female students should not be exposed to groups that do not respect their right to control their body.

    Also, student unions are always taking a stance on political issues, such as reducing tuition, supporting Queer Rights, stating that military recruiters should be banned from campus, etc. Student Unions are HISTORICALLY political organizations. They are not here to simply provide academic advocacy or services.

  29. I would love to debate you (on this subject, on this site) only after the appeal that is on Wendsday Nov 26th. If they did not move it I would be debating you about it right now. I am extremly confidant that Lifechoice will win the case hands down. I see CSA board members and GRCHED members on this site and I think most intellegent strategy is not to say anything that will be brought up at the appeal obviosly. It is important to note that the CSA has no physical evidence but they think they do. Hearsay evidence is also unadmissable and that was the bulk of what was given as evidence at the last appeal.

    It is a fact that Life choice has not done anything wrong and I will prove it at the appeal with solid physical evidence. I will discuss it on here next week. The CSA and the prochoice organization GRCHED do not agree with the clubs stance on abortion. This is what it comes down to. They are trying to silence the free speech which the club is entitled to, whether people like it or not. The CSA is afraid that people will be persuaded to choose life. People are feel to be offended, to not listen, to hear, to speak. People are not free to silence those views on campus which they do not agree with. It is impotant to note that most prolife organizations have won there club status back after controversys on campuses like this.

  30. The CSA had posted publically on thier website called Life Choice Faqs. The CSA actually says that the Canadian Constitutional Right to Freedom of unlimited speech is limited. They are referring to laws that do not exist. I have never heard of a Canadian constitutional law of limited speech. Has any one else….Go and read it for yourself at http://www.csaonline.ca click on life choice faqs under news. Honestly, It does not seem to be a logical or fair document.

  31. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 2, includes the “freedom of expression” as a fundamental freedom. Due to section 1 of the Charter, the so-called limitation clause, Canada’s freedom of expression is not absolute and can be limited under certain situations. Section 1 of the Charter states:

    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. (emphasis added from “only” to “society”)

    As the CSA FAQ mentions, there are in fact limits to freedom of speech. If you had read the first two sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms you would have noticed this. I think your opinion that the document is not logical or fair is in itself illogical, unfair, and ignorant. I don’t think the CSA had to put together a FAQ but I am glad they did, and also think it is well written and informative. Too bad it was not around before some articles in the news were published without actually researching the appeals case.

  32. First of all, the Supreme court is the only organization that has the authority to make the desicion on limits. The CSA is not the Supreme Courtas much as it thinks it is. The CSA does not have the respondsbilty of holding up laws, that is the supreme courts job. Policy 4.2 12 is already guareenteed by the supreme court so it should not be in the policys of the CSA. As a criminology and justice expert and professor said in the Nov 6 Ontarion (Calling a fetus a baby and that abortion is murder is not a lawful and justifiable reason to limit speech and expression) considering about half of Canadians are prolife and half are prochoice. If you had read that article you would know. Now, Please attack the arguments and facts not the person otherwise you just look like a bully.

  33. Rick, the CSA is not, nor should it be, an advocacy group for issues UNRELKATED to student life. Now you can make specious arguments about how abortion is indirectly related to student life if a student gets pregnant and has to choose between parenthood and education, but you and I both know that’s you trying to rationalise your imposition of YOUR values on other people.

    Abortion is an issue that many if not ever person who has an opinion on feels very strongly about, and oought not be an issue that enters into the realm of student government politics. it bears no relation to student life. Anybody who does not on ideological blinders can see that plain as day.

    It’s an attempt by radicals to highjack yet another organisatgion, and turn it towards their own purposes, and as a result, they have today little to do with the actual interests of the students they supposedly represent. Why do you think turnouts at student elections are so pathetically small? (I know for a fact that turnouts at UofG elections are pitiable) Because the bulk of students are, to put it mildly, turned off by the radical nature of these organisation and those who populate their ranks.

    And if it were an advocacy group. Who gets to decide what issues are advocated. And what sides are advocated? If it be the case that the population decides, then the position of unrestricted, government funded abortion-on-demand would not be that which the CSA would be advocating, as this is NOT the position of the majority of the student population. Most students favour at least limited restrictions on abortion. Those who decided that unlimited free abortion was to be pushed on the student populace at large weren’t even elected by one half of one half of the student population, so don’t tell me a representative sample of students voted.

    It’s clear to me that you simply can not tolerate legitimate debate on a subject you feel strongly about. You see the issue as closed for yourself, therefore it must be closed for everybody else, by force if necessary. You don’t trust peopel to make up trheir own minds, because they may not choose your side. You and your kind are ideological bullies. There are people out there who still honestly don’t know what to think about abortion, and they haved a RIGHT to make up their own minds. To TELL them what to think is ideological dictatorship. Which I guess makes you and people like Ideology Nazis. “No free thought for you!”

  34. Devin:

    This is really straightforward.

    1. Last time I checked, 50%+ of students are women–most of them in the 18-23 age range. Defending their right to choose is, therefore, a student issue.

    2. There is nothing “radical” about being pro-choice. The majority of Canadians are pro-choice.

    3. Your hypothesis about student apathy is interesting–but it is just that: a hypothesis.

    4. The CSA has a democratic system of governance and elections. If you wish to make change, put together your platform and run.

    5. Nobody (including me) is telling anybody what to believe. Nobody is silencing others. But nobody, or no organization, is compelled to pay for others to espouse their opinions. And certainly, nobody/no organization should be forced to pay for anti-abortion fanatics to harass and intimidate people on campus.

    The Nazi reference is cute, but hardly applicable or appropriate. Just lame drama, really.

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