MUN for LIFE needs your help!
Friday, September 28, 2007
The Death of Free Speech at Memorial University of Newfoundland:
MUN Students’ Union disallows pro-life group
On Wednesday, September 26, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union Board of Directors (MUNSU) met for its regularly scheduled meeting. One of the highlights of the agenda was the proposal to ratify, or give official club status to, Memorial University of Newfoundland Students for Life (MUN for LIFE). When it came to this point the meeting, everyone was hesitant to speak. The chair asked for a motion to approve and one was not tabled. A motion to deny was put forth and the flood gates holding back the conversation opened wide. Every speaker, except for one, identified themselves as pro-choice and echoed the comments of the previous speakers. The motion to deny ratification passed nearly unanimous. MUSNU signaled the death of free speech on a university campus.
The dominate arguments brought by MUNSU personalities to deny MUN for LIFE their rights were 1) MUNSU is a local of the pro-choice Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) 2) MUNSU could not ratify a group in opposition to its beliefs.
If MUNSU only ratifies groups that it agrees with, why is it that an assortment groups with competing ideologies are listed on their website. For example, there are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Pagan groups. There are Progressive Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic groups. Surely, MUNSU can not agree with every one of these groups. If MUNSU can grant ratification to these groups, it should be able to allow MUN for LIFE its democratic and university rights to free speech.
If CFS is an obstacle, why it is that a number of other CFS locals have pro-life groups? A small example of these would be the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Dalhousie, Carleton, and Saskatchewan. Once again, MUNSU is grasping at straws for excuses to silence the voice of the pro-life movement. MUN for LIFE members have paid CFS and MUNSU union dues and must now be granted their rights to free speech and association.
In November 2006 the Carleton University Students’ Association passed a motion to silence pro-life student groups on their campus. As a result, Carleton Lifeline’s ratification was placed in jeopardy. A heated debate, which attracted national media coverage, ended in Carleton Lifeline’s membership increasing and work continuing.
Patrick Hanlon, the President of MUN for LIFE, is encouraging his fellow union members and all concerned individuals, regardless of their position on life issues, to demand MUNSU to immediately reverse the decision made at the September 26 meeting. If this decision is not reversed, a dangerous precedent is set in place for MUNSU, and other Student Unions in Canada, which would allow the silencing of any other group that a union wishes not to have democratic and university rights.
MUN for LIFE President
To respectfully contact the MUNSU executive and voice your opposition to the decision:
James Farrell, External Director, email@example.com
Bradley Russell, Student Life Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stella Magalios, Campaigns Director, email@example.com
Stephanie Power, Advocacy Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Eisnor, Finance Director, email@example.com
Mail: MUNSU, Suite 2000 – University Centre, MUN, St. John’s, NL A1C 5S7
To respectfully express your concerns to the university administration:
Dr. Axel Meisen, President and Vice Chancellor of MUN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Lilly Walker, Dean of Student Affairs and Services, email@example.com
You may carbon copy or send best wises to:
Patrick Hanlon, MUN for LIFE President, MUNforLIFE@gmail.com