OTTAWA, October 6, 2010 – The Catholic Civil Rights League has criticized the use of police and the laying of trespassing charges following the arrest Monday of a small group of students attempting to set up a Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) exhibit at Carleton University.
In a letter to university President Roseann O’Reilly Runte, the League noted that the use of handcuffs and laying of charges was far in excess of anything required by the situation. The protest was peaceful and no passers-by appeared to have been inconvenienced in any way. (Video footage of the arrests can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJkBQn1-r8)
“While it is true that the students had been told not to conduct the protest on that part of the campus and were offered a less public location, it is outrageous to resort to the use of police to stop a relatively minor infraction of school regulations. In fact, we suggest that the police action is very unlikely to encourage any dialogue, and raises some not-insignificant questions about the university’s commitment to free speech,” said the League.
Student pro-life clubs have also experienced difficulties at University of Calgary, University of Victoria, University of Guelph, York University, Lakehead University, and McGill University in recent years. The League takes no position on the use of graphic images as a tactic, but upholds the right to free speech for all students.
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