Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Carleton pro-life student group loses club status

by Patrick B. Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, November 16, 2010 ( – Carleton Lifeline, the campus pro-life group that made headlines last month after several of its members were arrested by Ottawa’s Carleton University, now faces decertification unless they renounce the pro-life beliefs expressed in the club’s constitution.

“We are being discriminated against because of our political and ideological values,” said Ruth Lobo, president of Carleton Lifeline.  “We have been a club for 3 years, so why now?”

Khaldoon Bushnaq, Vice-President of Internal Affairs for the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA), wrote the club by e-mail on Thursday saying they would not be recertified because their constitution violates CUSA’s Discrimination on Campus Policy, which purports to uphold “a woman’s right to choose.”

The offending paragraph in the club's constitution, which Bushnaq quoted, states that the club “believes in the equal rights of the unborn and firmly believes that abortion is a moral and legal wrong, not a constitutional right. Therefore, Carleton Lifeline shall work to promote the legal protection of the unborn and their basic human rights to life.”

Bushnaq gave the club until November 18th to submit an amended constitution.

Carleton Lifeline’s lawyer, Albertos Polizogopoulos, wrote CUSA on Monday saying the Discrimination on Campus Policy is “incongruous in that it purports to protect individuals from discrimination but in effect, calls for the discrimination of some.”  He said the policy violates CUSA’s own constitution, university policy, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it discriminates against the students based on their pro-life beliefs.

He also said that CUSA violated their own protocols in decertifying the club.  CUSA’s by-laws, he noted, require that they bring a motion and notify the students in writing ten days before the vote.

“Our constitution has not changed since our club was first certified in 2007,” said James Shaw, vice-president of Carleton Lifeline. “We have always received funding and status whenever we applied, and were always re-certified as a club from year to year.”

“We simply want the same status as other clubs without viewpoint discrimination,” stated club member Nicholas McLeod. “This decision clearly violates CUSA’s own procedures on certification and re-certification.  As a student, I am forced to give money to CUSA when I pay my tuition which means that I am paying CUSA to discriminate against me.”

“Our group is going to challenge this,” added McLeod.

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from Carleton University or CUSA by press time.

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