CALGARY, AB, September 14, 2010 – The Catholic Civil Rights League has called on the University of Calgary to either drop charges against members of Campus Pro-Life or at least grant them a fair hearing with an opportunity to present evidence.
In an ongoing dispute regarding the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), eight students were charged last spring with non-academic misconduct for refusing April 10 to turn graphic images inward so that passers-by would not see them. The students were informed earlier in September that the Appeal Board at the University of Calgary has refused to hold a hearing to consider their appeal.
In an e-mail to university President Elizabeth Cannon, League Executive Director Joanne McGarry asked administration to consider dropping the charges or at least granting the students a hearing where they could present their case and be accompanied by a lawyer.
“I have been following this situation since the problems with the exhibit first began, and it seems to me that what the students were doing is well within their legal right to freedom of expression, and not out of keeping with how student clubs express controversial opinions on most campuses,” said Ms. McGarry.
The GAP exhibit is controversial because of its graphic images and analogies between abortion and the Holocaust and other atrocities. There are many people who are not in favour of this kind of imagery, and that includes people who are pro-life.
“However, universities are publicly-funded institutions and should not be in effect discriminating against one side of a controversial question,” Ms. McGarry comments.
– Charges against student pro-life group harm free speech, League press releases, Feb. 3, 2009.
– Controversy continues for campus pro-life clubs, League articles, Feb. 19, 2009.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; firstname.lastname@example.org