Lakehead University Life Support Club Denied
A disturbing trend continues:
Press Release: Lakehead University Life Support Club Denied
The Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU) has severely restricted the free speech rights of their own members and blatantly violated their own union policies. At a meeting on January 10th, 2008, the LUSU board of directors voted 20-3 to deny official club status to Lakehead University Life Support, a pro-life club.
On December 5th, 2007, Life Support was given restrictive conditions to be followed in order to become a club. These conditions, were made up by LUSU VP Finance Matt Granville, and not approved in advance by the LUSU board. One of these conditions stated that there would be “no unsolicited conversations with students, approaching people to tell them about your clubs and beliefs” not only violating LUSU’s own policies, which encourage student groups to interact with the student body, but is violating freedom of speech and expression as per Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, Section 2.
According to the LUSU website, LUSU “has decided not to grant status due to a poster campaign deemed to be inappropriate.” When asked about this, Cathy Simons, Life Support’s President, said that “it was a single poster campaign that merely stated the pro-life view. They had been actually stamped with approval by LUSU before being put up.” She adds that “The university campus is supposed to be a haven for discussion, debate and diversity. However, anyone who holds an unpopular view portrayed in their speech or their posters, according to LUSU, shouldn’t be part of a discussion and debate on campus.”
The decision of LUSU to violate their own policies regarding discrimination and those referring to clubs on campus appears to be motivated by personal opinions of the student union on the matter of abortion. Despite their claims as being a neutral entity, LUSU gives a hefty budget of thousands of dollars per year to the pro-abortion group on campus, the Genders Issue Centre, while not even allowing the pro-life side to raise their side of the issue. By censoring the pro-life side and sponsoring the pro-abortion side, LUSU has taken a less then neutral opinion on abortion and is therefore not representing all of its students.
Francisco Gomez, a member of Life Support, says that “A university campus is supposed to foster an environment of diverse views that is open to freedom of speech and expression, not one of censorship.” Members of Life Support will continue to work to have a voice on campus.
Lakehead University Life Support
Francisco Gomez: fjgomezj at lakeheadu dot ca (807)472-1668
Cathy Simons: csimons at lakeheadu dot ca (807) 627-6653