Pro-Life Students Face Possible Expulsion From U of C
April 18th, 2010
PRO-LIFE STUDENTS FACE POSSIBLE EXPULSION FROM U OF C
CALGARY- The University of Calgary has notified eight of its own students that they are being charged with non-academic misconduct, with a possibility of expulsion, for having set up a pro-life display on campus earlier this month.
Campus Pro-Life (CPL) Club President Leah Hallman stated, “We understand the severity of the charges, but our consciences could not contemplate silence, therefore we must stand by our convictions to fight for the lives of unborn children.”
The group’s Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display has been held on the University of Calgary grounds without incident eight times since 2006. The GAP display compares abortion to past historical atrocities, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.
“They failed to convince the crown that we were trespassing on our own campus last year so now they want to charge us with ‘non-academic misconduct’ for exercising our right to express our views,” said Peter Csillag, CPL’s Vice-president. “We condemn and will challenge these charges, as we have with all previous attempts at censoring and intimidating us.”
In 2009, the University charged six students with trespassing in relation to the display, but the crown prosecutor stayed these charges prior to a trial scheduled for November of 2009. The University has threatened participating students with non-academic misconduct charges on the occasion of each display, but this is the first time they are following through with their threat.
“Quite frankly, I can’t help but feel like we’re living parts of the novel One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich,” stated Vice-president Cameron Wilson, “it feels almost surreal that we still have to fight this battle on our own campus.”
Campus Pro-Life will be holding a press conference at 10:00am on Monday, April 19th, 2010 outside of the MacKimmie Library Building on the University of Calgary campus to make a formal statement and answer questions pertaining to new developments.
For further information, contact CPL Club President Leah Hallman at (403) 808-3412, Vice-president (external) Cameron Wilson at (403) 668-9624, or lawyer John Carpay of the Canadian Constitution Foundation at (403)
(I have only one word for this at the moment… wow.)
I am a student at the University of Calgary and would like to say that I completely support the University’s decision to place these students on academic probation. Looking around, for instance, listening to AM radio, I am seeing that the debate is very one sided, in favor of the pro-lifers. There spokespeople have claimed that they are not aggressive or confrontational about the signs, however, I can tell you first hand that after walking by this site because I HAD to to get to where I was going and refusing a pamphlet from someone I was accused by a pro-lifer of not caring about human rights. I was deeply offended and insulted not only by the comment but also by the fact that they must think me rather stupid, believing that a pamphlet of a picture will change my belief on the freedom to choose what to do with one’s body.
They talk the talk but take no effort to educate people on sex or contraceptives. So basically their train of thought is if you have sex before marriage you will go to hell, we won’t teach you the safe way to have sex so if you get pregnant too bad, and if you don’t want your child to grow up in extreme poverty because you can’t look after them and would rather get an abortion, you’ll go to hell, too bad. These pro-lifers are scary fanatics who need to learn how to respect others beliefs just as much as they as others to respect theres. Furthermore, I think asking them to turn their signs inwards is more than fair. They are still able to express themselves (in a respectful manner) and if people want to see the signs they can, if they would rather not because they find them insulting and offensive (not to mention unintelligent, given that they are not even using the word “genocide” correctly) they don’t have to.
I fully support freedom of speech as long as it does not cause physical, emotional, or psychological harm towards others. The pro-lifers do not care about how they are harming others emotionally or psychologically by making them view these signs. All that it does is make me angry and furious at their lack of logic.
And to respond to the accusation that I don’t care about human rights, which a pro-lifer yelled to me as I walked by, I do care about human rights. In fact, in my opinion I care about human rights more than they do because I appreciate the right to live and express oneself but I also appreciate the right to choose. What is life without choice? As comedian, Wanda Sykes once said, when pro-lifers here the word pro-choice they seem to think that it means pro-death. That is far from true.
I support the UofC in their decision. I think that the pro-life group needs to present more honest facts and stop making it seem that they are being biased against. Any other club on campus would have to take responsibility for their actions as well if they went against their contract where they stated that they would agree with their club requirements. They deserve no special treatment.
So, you think students who disagree with you should be expelled?
Or, would you apply the same logic to students who take a public position on other contentious issues? When it comes to conflict in the Middle East, is it the students running Israeli Apartheid events who should be expelled, or the Zionist sort? Would you expel a Martin Luther King Jr. figure for being bold and confrontational, causing emotional and psychological harm by challenging what he felt was an injustice, rather than trying to keep the peace?
I’ve never been to the University of Calgary, but I’d be surprised if you don’t often come across other ideas that offend you. It’s a weak move to claim emotional harm just because you’re offending, to the point of supporting the expulsion of other students for essentially disagreeing with you.
So, for what other contentious stances would you support expulsion? Or is this a one-time thing?
Clearly, you misunderstood my comment Blaise. I certainly do NOT think that people who disagree with me should be expelled but I DO think that they should be accountable for their actions. If they are presenting their argument then it must be done in a manner that is respectful to others (i.e. non-confrontational and complying with what they have AGREED with as a club).
Pro-life cannot be hypocritical and say that they stand for freedom of expression but disregard freedom to choose or freedom to not believe what they believe. They are rude and accusatory towards people who do not have the same opinion as them. If they treated others in a respectful manner and respected their right to believe something different than their own beliefs than they could be taken more seriously. However, I find that they present themselves to the media falsely as something that they are (i.e. people who stand for freedom of expression and are being expelled for no reason). There is a reason for why they are facing the potential of expulsion. I could ask you the same question. So, do you think that clubs which lie, go against what they have agreed to do as a club, and show a lack of respect for others emotions, rules, or logic (i.e. have a one-sided and ill informed argument) should not face disciplinary actions? F.Y.I. Having a lack of respect would include yelling accusatory terms at people who refuse to take a pamphlet, as is what happened to me and my friends!
Accountable how? They’re being charged with non-academic misconduct, with the possibility of expulsion. Do you agree or disagree with the charge?
Freedom of expression is different than the right to life, liberty and the security of person, which a freedom to choose abortion violates. Freedom of expression doesn’t kill people, by the way.
I wasn’t there, so I’ll take you at your word about them being rude, but you honestly believe that being rude warrants a charge of non-academic misconduct, including the threat of expulsion? Is it the University of Calgary’s job to police the manners of its students?
Woah, talk about introducing new information in the conclusion. (1) What did they lie about? I thought this was about them being rude? (2) What agreement did they violate? Is this having to do with showing GAP on campus? From my knowledge, the club has cleared never agreed with those restrictions, as they are continually challenging the basis of them. (3) “Lack of respect for others emotion” — that’s a pretty cowardly way to silence arguments you don’t like.
No, I don’t think think members of a club should face personal charges of non-academic misconduct, which includes the threat of expulsion, for holding a peaceful demonstration on a contentious issue that offends people.
Being rude or being offensive doesn’t warrant university sanctions. Aren’t universities supposed to be places that uphold the notion of academic freedom? Or would you prefer they police manners?
I would say the same about any Israeli Apartheid group, Zionist group, or about PETA. PETA uses graphic images when they demonstrate on our campus, and the Israeli Apartheid folks are sure as hell rude to supporters of the state of Israel.
No, I don’t think students in any of those cases should face personal charges that threaten their academic careers for making arguments or showing images about contentious issues that offend people.
For what other positions, besides opposition to abortion, do you believe that students should individually faces charges from their university administration, which include the threat of expulsion? Or is it just the pro-life position that you believe deserves this response?
Blair, I find your comments rather humorous. I have only been stating the facts in my argument and they seem to really frustrate you. This is a clear case of what I am talking about. There should be nothing wrong with someone disagreeing with your opinion, however they should be respectful of your difference of opinion. Period. That includes for campus pro-life and for you as well.
You are asking me questions on how they should be punished and about Israeli’s and so on. Things cannot be generalized. I am not the one who is responsible for handing out punishments. I am merely stating my opinion that people should be respectful of others and if they are not than they should be accountable for it. I do not know what is so offensive about this. I am not going to comment about other things because that is not the discussion at hand.I am not going to say how they should be accountable because that is not my place. That is for the university committee to consider based on the facts and, hopefully, on unbiased opinions. Certainly, “rude” is a general term and you are correct. Police shouldn’t be out and about patrolling whether people are being polite (i.e. saying “please” and “thank you”) but they should be involved in some acts of misconduct. As for whether people are confrontational to others and insulting. Yes, I would say that this gives right for some authority to step in and make sure that others psychological rights are not abused. Walking past a pro-life group that is throwing “fighting words” to me could inflict psychological harm on myself or others. There is no knowing what someone’s past is and I do not find it right that people use their “academic freedom” to in my definition verbally insult people who do not believe what they believe.
To clarify, I am not saying that the police should be involved in this. In fact, I never even mentioned the police in my argument so I am not sure why it is being brought up. However, it is important for people to be accountable to some authority if needed. In the pro-life groups case it is the university for violating their contract as a club.
In conclusion, there is a difference between academic freedom and people showing a lack of respect. You are correct, freedom of expression, most often, does not kill people but that does not mean that it cannot inflict emotional or psychological harm if done in a derogatory and disrespectful manner. I commend you for being passionate about your argument but I also feel strongly about my position and will not give in to having my words twisted and I will not discuss things that are a tangent of what is outside of the issue. Something tells me if you are trying to pull things outside of the facts of the situation than perhaps your position is not all that strong. I could discuss a lot about pro-life but am trying to stay to the main discussion of those students at UofC and the reason that they are risking being penalized…because there are good reasons.
I assume when you say Blair, you intend to address your comment to me. What did I write that was disrespectful to our difference of opinion, by the way? You seem to have an incredibly weak standard for disrespect, which seems to border on disagreement itself. Disagreement is not disrespect.
Our disagreement is very simple. You “completely support the University’s decision to place these students on academic probation” for being rude. I think that’s a ridiculous overreaction, especially in that it includes the threat of expulsion.
I don’t think that asking someone whether or not they care about human rights warrants the threat of expulsion. You do.
That doesn’t mean I think it’s right for people to be disrespectful. But I don’t think the university has any place to use academic sanctions and the threat of expulsion to make sure that no one’s feelings get hurt, especially regarding contentious issues. This isn’t kindergarten.
And that’s the reason I keep bringing up other contentious issues. I’m trying to figure out if you would apply the same logic equally to other scenarios. Apparently, it is only the pro-life view which you would support this kind of crackdown on. That seems hypocritical to me. If you can’t see the connection between debates about abortion, animal rights, or conflict in the Middle East and freedom of expression, I’m not sure if I can help you much. It is absolutely on-topic to bring up other controversial issues where freedom of expression is fundamental. I’m trying to figure out whether you have a double-standard on freedom of expression, depending on which side of an issue you’re on, or if you would support the university if it threatened to expel others.
In fact, by your support of a university administration protecting psychological rights, I’d expect you to support academic probation for quite a few people.
I’ve been accused by pro-choicers on the U of T campus of “not caring about women’s rights,” given the middle finger when I hadn’t even addressed them, and have had all sorts of insults and swear words hurled at me and my friends, along with various sorts of ridicule, ranging for a mockery of my appearance to a mockery of the religious beliefs of some of our members.
I find that offensive. They don’t know my past, and I do not find it right that people use their “academic freedom” to, in your definition, verbally insult people who do not believe what they believe. There should be nothing wrong with people disagreeing with my opinion, but they should be respectful of that difference.
The difference between us, it seems, is that you would support putting these people on academic probation. I don’t appreciate their insults and their lack of respect, and I disagree with the substance and style of many of the things that have been said to me, but I think it would be totally inappropriate for the university administration at U of T to put them on academic probation or threaten to expel them simply for being mean.
It’s not right to be mean or disrespectful—I agree—but you think that being a jerk warrants academic probation, and the threat of expulsion. I don’t.
Would you support the same sanctions against the pro-choicers at U of T who have been disrespectful to our group? Or do you only support such sanctions against those with whom you disagree?
(Who gets to define what counts as offensive or disrespectful? That’s the crux of the tension created by freedom of expression, no? The sense I’m getting is that you don’t actually have an objective, unbiased, fact-based standard for what constitutes disrespect, or you’ve declined to share it with me thus far. Either that, or your standard is so low that I wonder which politically active person would not be implicated by it.)
ps I never brought up the police. If you re-read my comment, I used “police” as a verb.
Blaire, I find your response to be well-written. What I disagree with is going outside of the situation. There is very little in this world that is black and white. A majority of things exist in a grey area. There are several things that I do agree with outside of the context as you mentioned, such as animal rights. However, I think that it is dangerous to overgeneralize. That is why each situation must be looked at individually.
You asked what my thoughts would be if the situation were reversed. If pro-choicers were going against their contract as a club, being accusatory and demeaning to others I would expect the same punishment especially after the university had tried to come to a middle ground with them to still respect their freedom of expression, meanwhile not causing hate towards students or an un-academically welcoming environment.
I think that an academic punishment is fair because they are in an academic community and, most importantly, they have agreed to the terms which they have decided to break, fully understanding the consequences of their actions beforehand, as an ACADEMIC club. If this had happened anywhere else other than the university campus than the situation and the entire context would be very different.
Again, I cannot stress enough that I do not think that they should be punished because I disagree with them or vice versa, or think them rude, but because of their choices– consciously going against their agreement as an academic club, and what the consequences of their choices are. Their actions could cause great psychological and emotional distress to others, as I described above. There are manners for people to share their opinions and raise awareness without disrespecting others or inflicting what I call non-physical harm on others. Again, I stress, that to determine punishments for things the context MUST always be considered.
To answer your question about whether people should be expelled simply for being mean, of course I disagree. However, again the context must be considered. Having a group of students with emotionally distressing images on a campus yelling rude, hurtful things to people who merely refuse to accept a pamphlet from them– this goes beyond simply “being mean”. This situation, to me is very wrong. They can promote their beliefs in a more respectful and academically appropriate manner. By failing to try and compromise with the university, this gives me the impression that this club does not care for the well being of others so long as they get their way, which, again, is a negative attitude that leads to negative behaviours.
For instance, why not just form a circle with the boards to give people the choice to see them or not. Now THIS would be freedom. Freedom, in my eyes, is not see only what I want you to see and if you don’t you are violating my academic freedom. This manner of thinking in itself is distorted. The pro-lifers have the choice to show what they want but equally important viewers should have a choice to see it if they want. If they feel that for whatever reason they do not want to look at it they have the FREEDOM to respectfully choose not to or to do so. This is the same reason, why photos of dead people aren’t shown outside of a hospital. Because evidently, people can be hurt in a traumatic manner.
Another option is to hold the event in a closed setting, for instance, in doors in the Mac Ball room. All other forms of protests or controversial events are held indoors and people have the right to attend them or not. Why should the University of Calgary pro-life group be given an exception over any other club on campus? I find this point particularly important because I was listening to pro-lifers on the AM radio discuss their situation. The person representing them said that any other club would not be penalized for doing what they want. This is far from the truth. In fact, the University of Calgary pro-life group is the only club that I know of that is abusing their liberties and refusing to come to a form of compromise, and furthermore, claiming to be penalized for unjust reasons. If any other club on campus were in the same situation, pro-life or pro-choice, than they would be held responsible for the same consequences.
You can describe the principles you’re applying to this individual case without overgeneralizing. If your approach isn’t arbitrary, there will be some principles or guidelines you’re depending on.
Is there not a middle ground here? Don’t you see anything in between looking at something with blinders on, and overgeneralizing to the point where you forget about the specifics?
Maybe I’m missing something, but aren’t they a non-academic (i.e. extra curricular) club, and the charges were of non-academic misconduct? As I understand it (I haven’t read the U of C’s code of conduct, but I went through Ryerson’s with a fine-tooth comb a few years back), non-academic misconduct can have academic repercussions in the most serious instances.
They aren’t an academic club.
Otherwise, we’re just rehashing earlier comments. We won’t agree here. I don’t think showing graphic images of a perceived injustice warrants the threat of expulsion. You do.
We don’t show pictures of dead people outside of hospitals, unless we think something happened that needs to be exposed. That’s why people don’t get threatened with expulsion when they show pictures of dead people from the Holocaust, and no one forces graphic displays of the horrors of war off the streets and inside a lecture hall—that would defeat the purpose of a protest.
Anyways, the verdict is in: http://calgary.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100510/CGY_campus_pro_life_100510/20100510/?hub=CalgaryHome
Just a warning this time, but the threat of expulsion has been repeated. I’d still love to know which other students get threatened with expulsion for holding peaceful protests on campus. At the University of Toronto, the only time I’ve heard of charges of non-academic misconduct like this over activism or social justice issues is when protesters threaten the safety of others on campus, not when people get offended. Maybe we just have thicker skin in Toronto.
Sorry for the typos (i.e. Blair) — Blaise.
No problem. 🙂
CAMPUS pro-life group is an academic club because they are affiliated with the university. This group broke their contract with the university, which affects other campus students, and are being penalized or threatened with the punishment for breaching the agreed upon contract. The name of the punishment is irrelevant in this case.
Also, looking at the University of Toronto is irrelevant. The University of Calgary is the topic of concern because that is where the problem occurred. This issue is regarding not the University of Toronto or elsewhere. Furthermore, I find it insulting to say that people in Toronto just have “thicker skin” as that ignores any legitimate objective information about the situation AT the University of CALGARY.
Also, safety in your perspective means physical harm. I believe safety can mean many things like protecting people’s physical safety, of course, as well as their civil liberties freedom to CHOOSE to not see disgraceful posters that pro-life puts up, the right to not be emotionally or psychologically or spiritually hurt by the pro-life students which insult people verbally as they walk by if they refuse to take a pamphlet. There are more respectful ways to get their ill informed message across. They simply choose not to look for alternative RESPECTFUL ways to get their message across. Furthermore, they AGREE to the university rules, knowing that there is logic to people’s concerns, and OVERTLY PURPOSELY broke the rules saying a big “F-You” to people who do not believe what they believe. How is that freedom?
Should people just be able to do whatever they want without rules as long as they believe that they are right and if someone disagrees say that their freedom of speech is being abused? According to pro-lifers, basically yes. Pro lifers have the mentality that if they think that they are right, they will just do it and ignore all the FACTS why they are wrong. There are many FACTS why abortions ARE GOOD at times and NECESSARY at time, that pro-lifers ignore. They ignore the importance of educating people on contraceptives to eliminate the NEED for abortions in the first place. A majority of pregnancies and abortions are caused by a lack of sex education. Why don’t pro-lifers do anything about that? Because they are unwise. Abortions are necessary particularly in developing countries where woman AND their CHILDREN DIE from not getting openly supported abortions. This causes the woman to then have unsafe abortions as a last resort and die in the process or later, a painful death from illness and infection and their unmedically supervised pregnancies. Having to hide abortions kills the mother and the child. A majority of people who are born into families where they are not wanted grow up in poverty, abuse, drugs, encounter homelessness, SEVERE emotional and psychological distress that they will never overcome, they may even commit suicide…etc. The cycle continues. Certainly this is not in all cases but FACTUAL for MOST. If you’re not convinced do the research! Let’s not forget the importance of freedom to CHOOSE!! No freedom can exist without some form of freedom to choose. this is basics!! And finally the importance of freedom for females AND males to be in control of THEIR bodies. Overall the consequences for people not having abortions in many situations outweigh the “benefit” of not having an abortion in the first place. No one choses to have an abortion unless they feel that it is a last resort.
THAT is the fact.
Aside from that the FACT is that CAmpus PRo life group at the university of calgary are unaccountable for their actions. I find it hilarious that they can get away with it and will keep getting away. ASide from that, I personally find it HILARIOUS that they are chosing to support the cause in the first place. Especially the females! They should basically be holding signs saying I dont care about my freedom to chose what I do with my body and my life AND I should blindly change my beliefs if people holding pamphlets tell me that I’m wrong. Hurrah! Also, I should be happy that people insult me as a human being and my beliefs if I refuse a pamphlet because thats just what pro-lifers do and I’d be wrong to try and get this club to stop being cruel because the group is just going to lie to the media about what they do anyways and get away with it. That’s a great cause isnt it? (not!)
PRO CHOICE all the way!!! To pro lifers: killing is bad? Duh! What else you got? Why not start a club that will actually try to help people so they dont have to chose to have abortions as a best resort in the first place. HAHAHAAH!! YA!!! THAT’LL BE THE DAY, but seriously…
So, there’s no such thing as non-academic activity on a University campus? Then, why were they charged with non-academic misconduct?
Check your browser’s address bar. I’m talking about U of T because you’re commenting on the U of T Students for Life blog.
Well, if I believed that safety means not being assaulted or insulted with offensive comments on my blog, I couldn’t just redefine the word and string you up on charges. It doesn’t matter how you want to redefine the word safety.
My point, in making all of these comparisons, is that being in a place in which it’s considered misconduct to offend someone, in which that is considering “dangerous”, is an absolutely attack on the freedom of speech. There is no such thing as freedom from being offended or having your feelings hurt. Grow up.
When the University of Toronto tried to turn our GAP signs against a wall a couple years back, we simply ignored them and brought our signs onto the public city sidewalks where they have no jurisdiction over us. I refuse to submit to that kind of censorship too, and applaud the students in Calgary for standing up for their own rights.
Yes, that includes the right to offend you.
So, let’s just actively and directly rip children limb from limb inside the womb instead. Great solution!
So, why don’t we kill those people after they’re born to spare them their miserable lives?
What if someone chooses to punch you in the face? What if students at the University of Calgary choose to show images of aborted fetuses?
I call bullshit.
The basic question is: choose what?
When a women is pregnant, does her body have four arms? If she is pregnant with a male child, does she have a penis?
There’s more than one body involved.
Even if that were true, it wouldn’t mean that abortion is okay. Replace “abortion” with “theft” or “murder.” Just because someone feels it’s a last resort doesn’t make it okay, even if it changes the gravity of the wrongdoing. If women feel like it’s their last resort, when need to help them to solve whatever problems are pressuring them into killing their child, not to help them kill their child.
You know, CAPS LOCK doesn’t make things facts.
No one is trying to escape accountability. They’re arguing that their actions don’t warrant a charge of non-academic misconduct. Disputing a charge is not dodging accountability.
Your comments have been incredibly weak thus far, but the rest of that one doesn’t even warrant a response. You’re shoving your fingers into your ears and yelling “la la la I can’t hear you!”
That’s a sign of insecurity. It’s not what someone who’s comfortable with their argument or beliefs says or does.
1. Emotional and psychological abuse IS just as important as physical assault. Verbal attacks can be just as abusive as physical attacks, if not worse. Ever heard of emotional abuse? Verbal abuse is a kind of battering which doesn’t leave evidence comparable to the bruises of physical battering. It can be just as painful, and recovery can take much longer. Verbal attacks should be taken as seriously as any other form of attack or personal assault. And, “Grow up” is a lame response to shows ME that you are the one who is insecure.
2. If someone were to “choose” to punch me in the face, then that would be THEIR choice and they would have to be accountable for THEIR actions. My chosen response would be easy. I would sue them for wrongful action! If pro-lifers chose to show images of aborted fetuses, depending on the situation, it may be okay. If they are not being abusive to passer biers or inflicting emotional or psychological harm on others, and abiding to the agreed upon terms of them being allowed to show images, then that is fine. However, that is not the case!
I stand by what I said. The freedom of choice is a basic importance. However, people can choose to make the right choice or the wrong choice. Depending on what they decide and the context of the situation they may or may not be ethical choices.
Whether pro life students at the University of Calgary or elsewhere choose to show images of aborted fetuses is not the issue. The issue is WHERE and HOW the pro-lifers show the images, the issue is them not giving people a choice to see them OR to NOT see them. They are abusing people of their freedom of choice. They also disregard any responsibility or concern for fellow students is the issue. It is WRONG! Also, how they verbally and emotionally abuse and attack people who choose not to view their images or accept a pamphlet is A MAJOR problem! (Although according to you, they’re not throwing stones or punching people so they are just fine).
Pro lifers are standing up for their rights is great, I agree. That is excellent. EVERYONE should stand up for their rights, including non –pro lifers. What about the rights of all non-pro lifers who do not want to see their signs or be verbally attacked for having different beliefs (based on logic)? Are you suggesting that the freedom of pro-lifers is more important than everyone else’s? I completely agree with you that if this is important to pro lifers they should be able to show their images and spread their message that is freedom of speech. HOWEVER, they MUST be respectful of other people in the process or their message is crap!
The university has worked hard to try and find a compromise so that pro lifers can do their thing while respecting other students. Yet pro-lifers CHOOSE not to act in ways that are respectful of others and then have the audacity to sat that their freedom of speech is being taken away. They can perfectly spread their message in a location on campus where people have a CHOICE to go to or not too.
Pro lifers basically have the childish mentality that if something isn’t done the way that I want it then its no good! What kind of world would this be if everyone was like that? Other students are willing to allow pro lifers to do their thing, the university administration is allowing pro lifers to do their thing, promote their message and what not BUT the fact that pro lifers are no longer allowed to abuse people and SHOVE their message down other people’s thoughts is not good enough for them. They whine about their freedom of speech being taken away from them. What about other peoples freedoms and the importance of compromise? Really, what impact does your pro life campaign have on people’s lives anyways?
3. I would completely support if the UofC students went onto the public city sidewalks and showed their signs. That would get them off campus and the whole issue would be solved! If they do not want to be respectful to the administration or the students on campus than they SHOULD be going somewhere else. Why do they keep coming back anyways, if they claim that their rights are being so horribly “violated”.
4. Way to ignore all the reasons and facts that I stated above on why abortion is, unfortunately, at times the best option for people. I’m not surprised 🙂 I would not expect anything less from a religious extremist group that to have their fingers in their ears. Why don’t pro lifers try to help people so they are not in positions of needing abortions, sometimes just to survive? Why not teach people about sex education? Why only judge people? Why not willing to compromise in the best interest of everyone not just yourself.
I restate: “There are many FACTS why abortions ARE GOOD at times and NECESSARY at time, that pro-lifers ignore. Pro-lifers ignore the importance of educating people on contraceptives to eliminate the NEED for abortions in the first place. A majority of pregnancies and abortions are caused by a lack of sex education. Why don’t pro-lifers do anything about that? Because they are unwise. Abortions are necessary particularly in developing countries where woman AND their CHILDREN DIE from not getting openly supported abortions. This causes the woman to then have unsafe abortions as a last resort and die in the process or later, a painful death from illness and infection and their unmedically supervised pregnancies. Having to hide abortions kills the mother and the child. A majority of people who are born into families where they are not wanted grow up in poverty, abuse, drugs, encounter homelessness, SEVERE emotional and psychological distress that they will never overcome, they may even commit suicide…etc. The cycle continues. Certainly this is not in all cases but FACTUAL for MOST. If you’re not convinced do the research! Let’s not forget the importance of freedom to CHOOSE!! No freedom can exist without some form of freedom to choose. This is basic!! And finally the importance of freedom for females AND males to be in control of THEIR bodies. Overall the consequences for people not having abortions in many situations outweigh the “benefit” of not having an abortion in the first place. No one chooses to have an abortion unless they feel that it is a last resort.
THAT is the fact.”
Don’t get me wrong. I do commend you for feeling passionately about your issue, along with other pro-lifers. What I am emphasizing is that the logic should be re-evaluated. Perhaps people can be helped in more proactive ways. Instead of being a judgmental group, maybe pro lifers can aim to educate and help people.
Be open to other people trying to work with you to spread a good message — that abortions are sad horrible things. Look at why abortions occur, look at how to help people avoid abortions, look at ways to help people cope with abortions if they HAD to have one due for a number of possible reasons. Attacking people into believing what you believe gets pro lifers little to no where. Show people understanding and they are more susceptible.
I say, fight for your cause if you feel you are right, but don’t be blinded by thinking that it is best way. Perhaps your cause causes more harm than good. Maybe it just promotes anger and hatred between people. Maybe it pushes people away who need help the most.
If pro life finds that they are getting such harsh criticism, repeatedly, then there must be a reason for it. Because people feel insulted by your message. that 1. abortion is “genocide”. I can tell you that as soon as people see this sign they start laughing and say how dare they (and other bad words), they dont even know how to use a word correctly. And I am NOT trying to be mean towards you. This is a Fact. Just observe one day at one of your events not as an attacker but as a neutral observer. You will see that sadly for your group this is true.
People see your sign abortion=genocide and automatically feel attacked. They realize that they are in an area where they will be confronted by people who are extremists (illogical) and who do not care about seeing any one else’s perspective. People who have sex (which is who you are trying to impact) and people who have had abortions for whatever reason know pro lifers think that they are evil, etc.
This extends to anyone who has sex will feel judged. Because what if someone gets pregnant by accident, female or the male partner, this means to pro lifers that they will go to hell first off probably for not being married before having sex and, second, no sympathy for being scared and feeling helpless in their situation, where they do not feel prepared to know what to do in their situation.
There is also of course the constant joke of “how can a lot of these religious people ( I assume religious extremists because that is another thing people think of when they see your signs)…how can those religious people even be talking about sex when most of them, being religious extremists, probably don’t even have sex themselves” because they are waiting to get married.
All that non pro lifers think when they see the pro lifer’s signs is great, these people think “they are right and we are evil.”
Is all of that an effective way to try to help people make the right choice in life? People respond to how they are treated. Instead of being a judgmental group, pro lifers, obviously passionate and dedicated, can do a lot of good rather than harm! They can aim to educate and help people. That is a choice. Unfortunately, with freedom to choose, pro lifers often chose to resist change and just repeat the same behaviour and poster tradition over and over with no benefit.
Again,** instead of being a judgmental group, pro lifers, obviously passionate and dedicated, can do a lot of good! They can aim to educate and help people. They should put their efforts to good use rather than spread negativity and tension into the world.
You have to chose to make things better. YOU CAN DO THAT! YOU CAN POSITIVELY help people. You can make people feel accepted and help them make good choices in life. You do not have to only judge and create anger. When will pro lifers make the right choice?
Promoting a message that you don’t like is not verbal abuse. Asking whether or not you care about human rights is not emotional abuse. Being offensive is not abusive. Again, just because you’re feelings are hurt doesn’t mean that you’re being abused. You insult people who are actually in abusive situations by likening difference on a controversial and volatile political issue as abusive simply because you were offended.
Just because their message is crap, doesn’t mean it should be banned or censored, or that they should face sanctions from the university. This is where we will simply not agree.
You think that people should be punished for having a crappy message and hurting your feelings. Even if the message is harmful to their own cause, I cannot agree with you that it should be banned simply because you don’t like it. We have something called the freedom of expression in our constitution as one of our fundamental rights. Just because you don’t like the way something is expressed, or because it upsets you doesn’t mean that the expression should be punished.
Again, I challenge you to come up with another example of a situation where someone should be punished for expression their views, even if they’re offensive. It seems like this is the only issue you think should result in punishment and censorship.
At the University of Toronto, city sidewalks run all the way through campus. When we moved off University property and onto the city sidewalks, we moved about 50 feet, and were still at the heart of campus.
This is getting entertaining! 🙂
Before we can continue to have any sort of intelligible conversation, you need to look up the difference between a fact and an assertion. Your restated paragraph is full of unsupported assertions. Where’s your evidence? Where are your facts? If I were your TA, you’d get a failing grade on that paragraph for baseless assertions, nevermind the inability to distinguish between facts and assertions.
First, our group doesn’t take a position on contraceptives, because there are differences among pro-lifers on the issue. Second, it’s a lot more complicated that you assert. Look up the U.S. Supreme Court case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992, maybe 1993). Contraceptives may weaken the “need” for abortion by providing a way to (mostly) avoid unplanned pregnancy, but they strengthen the need for abortion because people organize their social relationships around the ability to have sex without having babies. That is, in a contraceptive culture, abortion is essential and necessary as a backup to failed contraception. The relationship between contraception and abortion isn’t a matter of reducing the need for abortion. In many ways, contraception increases a dependency on the availability of abortion.
Citation needed. On what basis are you making that assertion? And how do you account for women who have multiple abortions? This is not a “fact.”
Children die from abortion. Killing children isn’t a great solution to stop children from dying.
If you want to talk about abortion itself, we’re getting off topic from whether U of C pro-lifers have the freedom of expression (even if they are actually wrong), but we can do it.
The question that really matters is: what is the unborn? If the unborn is not a human person, then no justification for elective abortion is even necessary. But if the unborn is a human person, then no justification for elective abortion is adequate.
Life begins at conception. If you want to look up some facts, crack open a biology text. That’s when you have a new and distinct organism, a new and unique human being. Certainly, the passage through the birth canal does not magically transform the unborn into a human person—we have a new person before then, yet abortion is legal in Canada through all 9 months of pregnancy.
The pro-life position on abortion is summarized as follows:
1. It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.
2. Elective abortion is the intentionally killing of an innocent human being.
3. Therefore, elective abortion is wrong.
Happy to pursue that further, if you feel it’s necessary. Yet, on topic, it doesn’t change the U of C students’ right to expression, even if you think they’re wrong (or if your feelings are hurt).
Hold on. So, you call me a “religious extremist” (have I even made any religious argument or a mention of religion?), and I’m judgmental? I’m not sure I’m following you there. You seem incredibly judgmental and intolerant to me. You think speech should be banned if it offends you, and that people who disagree with you are extremists. Yet, I’m judgmental?
I think I’m missing something…
As for the efficacy of the Genocide Awareness Project, I actually agree with you in many ways. At least, it’s a hot topic among pro-lifers. There are lots of pro-lifers who don’t support the Genocide Awareness Project and don’t want anything to do with it, and others who think it’s an important way to expose injustice.
What astonishes me, is the notion that just because a campaign is ineffective it should be illegal (or banned or censored in some way). People have a right to shoot themselves in the foot.
1. “Promoting a message that you ‘like is not verbal abuse.”
I agree with you 100%, however, just because people are promoting a message does not mean that are not also being verbally abusive. Their message can be promoted in a respectful manner. Not one that insults people on an emotional, spiritual, and personal level. It is not what you say, its how you say it. For instance, giving someone what could be a compliment in a sarcastic way obviously means the opposite.
If I defined it as such, I could say that I was verbally abused by a pro lifer as I was deeply personally hurt by their comment. Also, I am not the only one who has brought up this concern or shared a similar experience. Even so, if I was offended by the comments made my pro life supporters, how does that differ from them verbally offending others? The point is that they ARE verbally abusive in many ways. Of course they Pro Lifers deny that things like this occur even though they do. This should be unacceptable from ANY school group, pro life or not.
2. “Just because their message is crap, doesn’t mean it should be banned or censored”
Again, I agree with you 100% and I do not think that they should be banned. I DO think, however, that they need to promote their message, however important or unimportant it may be, in a respectful manner which they do not. Again, why do they refuse to take other people into account. They only want to “promote” their message the way they want to which is disrespectful, abusive, and inconsiderate of fellow students. They refuse to promote their message, nah, they are ALLOWED to promote their message in a different manner that is not as offensive and instead is respectful of the academic institution and its members, yet choose not to. They are not being banned or censored. They are merely being asked to act in a way that is ethical, which they refuse to do.
3. “You think that people should be punished for having a crappy message and hurting your feelings.”
I definitely do NOT think that people should be punished for having a crappy message or even if people’s feelings are hurt. That is hard to avoid. Nonetheless, if a message is purposely given in a way that is disrespectful and told with the intention of abusing someone verbally, emotionally, or psychologically, then yes, I do believe that that is not acceptable.
And I am not saying that you are the one responsible for this or one of the people in the pro life who are abusive. I am saying that there are many people in the pro life group who insult people purposely, intending to get a response from them in a manner that is abusive and not acceptable. It is not the message but the act.
4. “I challenge you to come up with another example of a situation where someone should be punished for expression their views, even if they’re offensive.”
Well, because you asked, I think that someone should be punished or help accountable for expressing their views if while expressing their views they are promoting hate towards a certain group of people with the intent to harm them, physically, or psychologically. For instance, Nazi messages to kill jews is not right. Historically, it let to people’s deaths. For instance, people psychologically, verbally, and emotionally abusing their peers leading them to commit suicide, or go into a deep depression which negatively impacts their lives, then this is also not right.
5. “Your restated paragraph is full of unsupported assertions. Where’s your evidence? Where are your facts?”
Those were facts that I stated but I advised YOU to do the research. I already know that they are correct and that is why I stated them as facts. I do not have time to look up all these facts for you. My intention was merely to raise awareness that facts, or assertions as you call them, exist in support that abortion is sometimes necessary and sometimes it makes sense to have abortions. There is so much more to abortions than “don’t do it”. Consider why do abortions occur; are they sometimes necessary? Do they actually end up saving lives in certain situations? Should all the benefits/necessities of abortion be ignored, only because of the statement “don’t do it”? Is it really that clear cut black and white: abortions are bad, saving lives are good? No, in reality, abortions are not that clear cut. There is much to consider. These considerations are what I have stated twice above. It is up to you to educate yourself if you would like or you can choose to fight for a cause that is much more complex than “yes” or “no”.
6. “our group doesn’t take a position on contraceptives”
If you don’t take a position on contraceptives what is the point of bringing up the issue in the first place?! What harm could it do to your cause to educate people on contraceptives? If anything teaching people about sex education and how to NOT get pregnant really helps your cause. If people don’t accidentally get pregnant, they do not even have to think about abortions. This is very relevant to your cause!
To me this is like saying, “our cause is that ‘stupid people are bad’. We don’t care about educating people. We just like to tell them that their stupid. That’s our cause”….I wonder why do people try to get us to spread our message in a more respectful way?’
As I mentioned before, Pro life COULD be doing AMAZING things!!!! This is a group of passionate and committed individuals. I commend your group on that. However, right now, they are focused on holding up signs of abortion pictures but there is no message behind the pictures other than if you have an abortion you are evil. What do people get out of that? Or if there is a message, people evidently do not understand it.
PLEASE please please, use your knowledge and university education to educate others and to help them. You don’t want people to have abortions, so help them be knowledgeable about sex so that they do not get pregnant in the first place! No accidental pregnancy= no need for abortion. They are one in the same issue. How is that something not important to pro life. What is pro life good for then? What is the benefit of it because I really do not know and would love to know if there is something that I am not understanding.
Also, just so you know, contrary to belief, sex education does not promote sex. This is another fact you can look up if you are so included or you can chose to ignore it as well. Promoting sex education is not the same as promoting sex. In fact, in many countries where people are more option about talking about sex, people take sex more seriously before they have it. They are more knowledgeable and do not wait to have sex whenever they first get the opportunity to do it.
7. “Killing children isn’t a great solution to stop children from dying.”
Of course it is not ideal! What I am saying is that in some situations abortions are beneficial and necessary. To me, it is no more ‘ethical’ or just you neglect someone a proper medical abortion and instead have them bleed to death trying to do it themselves. So the mother dies and the fetus dies. The pro life cause led to 2 deaths rather than 1. Math much?
Or a child is not aborted, is born in extreme poverty and dies from starvation, malnutrition, or disease from lack of care, etc. Again, how is that any better. The family, mother, and child could have been spared the suffering. If you get anything from what I am trying to say, is that abortion is not a black and white issue. It is not enough to say that killing a fetus/ an abortion is wrong. Look at why do abortions and unwanted pregnancies occur (lack of sexual education*****!!!!!), are abortions sometimes the best option for people, and by campaigning that abortions are bad is that message leading to more harm than good? For instance, Canada no longer assisting Africa with ethical abortions which leads to a larger loss of parental and child deaths than would have occurred from abortions in the first place.
8. “If you want to talk about abortion itself, we’re getting off topic”
Yes, in a way that is off topic from the university pro life situation although not really because that is what the pro life group is all about! No abortion= no pro life group= no controversy of whether the UofC students were right or wrong, blah blah, so in a way the topic is very relevant.
9. “The question that really matters is: what is the unborn? If the unborn is not a human person, then no justification for elective abortion is even necessary. But if the unborn is a human person, then no justification for elective abortion isadequate.”
Hello, the statement “then no justification for elective abortion is adequate”? Please re-read above about how yes, it is sometimes “adequate”, beneficial, and necessary? Abortion is not desired but there are reasons why they occur. Examine why.
How does any of this relate to what I wrote above about abortion not being a black and white topic? In all the history of the world you’re saying that there is never any situation or plausible scenario in which an abortion is ‘adequate’. If you’re answers yes, think harder because the answers are stated above honey.
10. “The pro-life position on abortion is summarized as follows:
1. It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.
2. Elective abortion is the intentionally killing of an innocent human being.
3. Therefore, elective abortion is wrong.”
My pro life position is:
Obviously it is “wrong”’ to intentionally kill a fetus or developing organism which could progress to a fully developed human; however, in some situations the act of abortions is better than not letting an abortion occur in the first place. In fact, by not allowing ethical abortions to occur, not only do fetus’ die but sometimes the mothers also and perhaps more (i.e. if the mother was the sole caregiver of other children).
So by my logic can I SAY that pro life is wrong because they help to intentionally kill human beings by supporting a lack of sexual education and abortions. I think that that’s a similar logic isn’t it? So what pro life is doing is wrong. Lets see:
1. Killing is wrong (OBVIOUSLY!)
2. Withholding information that can save lifes and lead to a killing is wrong
3. Pro life knows that having a sexual education helps to prevent prevents unwanted pregnancies, and ‘killings’ or abortions/ the consequent removal of or ‘killing’ of a fetus or developing human organism;
Yet Pro Life refuses to do anything as a group to prevent these events from occurring. (Holding up pictures does not save lives, education does). They withhold information (sexual education) and contraceptives, thus helping to put people in situations where they need abortions. Interestingly, by this logic Pro Life is helping to ‘kill’ aborted babies.
4. Therefore, Pro Life is assisting people in having to ‘kill’ thus pro life is wrong!
So what is pro life’s position on HELPING people no need abortions? We don’t deal with that. We only hand out the judgement, that killing is wrong. We don’t really DO anything to prevent them from occurring.
What about this logic:
1. People ALREADY know that killing is wrong
2. People do it anyways
3. Therefore by just telling people that killing is wrong a group is ineffective as people will do it anyways, aka, have abortions anyways.
Examine why people have abortions even though they know that ‘killing’ or aborting a fetus is wrong. Could it be out of necessity or situational factors??????
Finally, I have the logic also that:
1. It is wrong to be hypocritical:
2. Judging people for being wrong when you yourself are wrong is hypocritical
3. It is wrong to judge people for being in a bad situation (i.e. having to consider abortion) when you could have helped them not be in that situation (i.e. handed out contraceptives at a Pro Life event and promote sexual education).
In other words, it is wrong to tell people that they are wrong and refuse to help them not be ‘wrong’.
Pro life tells people they are wrong all the time and yet does not accept any responsibility for helping others change their ‘wrong’ situation.
4. Therefore the pro life group is hypocritical because they are wrong and insist on judging others who are ‘wrong’ also.
11. “Hold on. So, you call me a ‘religious extremist’ (have I even made any religious argument or a mention of religion?), and I’m judgmental?”
I can understand your point. If you read what I wrote, though I wrote what it is LIKE for people to walk by a Pro Life protest. Most people think ‘oh great here are some religious extremists’….
That is the reality of what a lot of people think when they are encountered by something of the sort especially when they are refusing to promote contraceptives. Why else would that be if they were not trying to appease to some religious group or some other extreme group?
Anyways, I am not trying to judge you. Rather, I’m trying to say that this the fact of what I know I think of and many other people that I’ve talked to think of when there’s any extreme point like ‘abortion is wrong’ but a dis-concern for additional logic. (For instance, if abortion is wrong maybe we should try reduce them from occurring. Nah! We’ll just judge people instead.) That is usually the case of religious extremist groups. There is a position, they are not willing to bend or compromise thinking that listening to others requests or logic. So logically this is why I think this and other people think this when they see Pro Life. I admit, I could be wrong, the Pro Life groups may not be a religious extreme group as you are suggesting but that is realistically what most people think. If this is not the case, I urge you to try to dispel this common belief. or if you are curious, do a survey at your school sometime. “Do you think that the Pro Life group is a group of religious extremists? Yes or No?”. I bet you the majority of people would say yes. This is not a judgement but a likely reality or, if you feel, both.
12. “Just because a campaign is ineffective it should be illegal (or banned or censored in some way)”.
I definitely do NOT think this. If you thought that that is what I was trying to argue, that is not so. People should be able to promote what they want as long as the benefits outweigh the cons and things are done in a manner respectful of others. Pro Life can promote their idea whether Ii disagree with it or not, whether some people think it is ineffective or not. They should however do it in a way that is not abusive, and harassing of others because, after all, that is what they are looking for in return. They want people to be respectful of them promoting their message. Others want Pro Life to be respectful of them if they choose to avoid their message or choose to disagree with their message.
This logic would be the same with any other group too! For instance, if a pro choice group was forcing their beliefs on others and throwing insults at passerbyers for not taking a condom I would question their legitimacy just as much and suggest that the university reevaluate the benefit of this group. Also, if the group was offered the option to hand out condoms in another part of campus, agreed to it, and then refused to go there because they did not feel like it then, again, they would have to be accountable for their actions for not doing what was agreed to be in the best interest of everyone. I was also especially question their group, if I felt that they were arguing for something that was not logical such as the freedom to choose and then not care if the province took away people’s right to vote. Instead, saying we don’t involve ourselves with voting, we only argue for the right to choose.
13. “As for the efficacy of the Genocide Awareness Project, I actually agree with you in many ways. At least, it’s a hot topic among pro-lifers. There are lots of pro-lifers who don’t support the Genocide Awareness Project and don’t want anything to do with it, and others who think it’s an important way to expose injustice.”
I appreciate your honest response. Knowing this helps me better respect the Pro Life group, knowing that some Pro Lifers have the same concerns about the group as non-Pro Lifers or neutral parties do.
People outside of the Pro Life group only see the presented Pro Life campaign which makes all Pro Lifers look bad. Most people disagree with the “Genocide” campaign and therefore it is easy to understand why they take all Pro Lifers not as serious as they would like to be taken. I guarantee that getting rid of the “Genocide” spin of the project would dramatically increase the amount of success other students have for the group because as of now, when students see the genocide sign the automatic response is to laugh and feel insulted all at once and then to tune all of the insulting people and posters out. Think of how much more of your message could get across if people were interested in listening.
Again, as I’ve written several times. I commend you for your dedication to the cause. I really encourage you to direct your efforts to good use. Everyone (well almost everyone) knows that killing/abortions are wrong. The reality is whether legal or not, they will always occur. Examine why they occur. Help people make the right sexual decisions so they do have to even consider abortion. Abstinence has been proven time and time again to be ineffective. I question, why pro life is not trying to promote contraceptives and sexual education. Be a pro active group. SHOW that abortion really is an important issue because really it seems that right now its about freedom of speech yadi yada and not abortion, or lack of, at all. Replace the abortion images with some other vulgar images and the situation would basically stay the same. “We don have freedom of speech to…”. Abortion is an issue on the back burner. Bring it forward. Educate people on the importance of safe sex and the emotional hardships/ consequences of abortion instead. Don’t be judgmental, be educational and helpful.