by Steven Ertelt
October 27, 2007
St. Johns, Canada (LifeNews.com) — The campus pro-life group at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada has again failed to persuade the pro-abortion student government to allow it to be an official campus group. The MUN Students’ Union denied a request for ratification by MUN For Life earlier this month and did it again the other day.
MUN for Life President Patrick Hanlon appeared before the student government a second time to make his group’s case but didn’t find any support.
He quoted a letter from MUN for Life’s legal advisor, Donald Hutchingson, who said the denial violates the Human Rights Code of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The code says: “A person shall not deny to or discriminate against a person or class of persons with respect to accommodation, services, facilities, or goods to which members of the public customarily have access to or which are customarily offered to the public because of the … political opinion … of that person or class of persons."
Hanlon said the group just wants to be an official one so it can use campus space to hold events like fundraisers for pregnancy centers.
As an officially recognized group, the pro-life organization would be eligible for funding and space from the student union.
“We don’t want to get nasty. We don’t want to pick a fight. We want to see some agreement reached,” he said, according to a report in The Muse, the student newspaper.
But the same people who objected before objected again and Hanlon never got a vote on his request.
Matt Sheppard, who represents the gay and lesbian students on campus, put forward the motion to deny the ratification the first time. He said the Canadian Federation of Students, which is the parent group of MUNSU, has an official pro-abortion position and, therefore, MUNSU backs abortion as well.
Hanlon told The Muse he was upset by the decision.
"We are paid members of this union and we deserve the full rights of belonging to this union. This union trampled on our rights, our human rights, and this is a very dangerous precedent for this union to set," he said.
This isn’t the first time a Canada college has refused to recognize a pro-life student group.
Students at Capilano College in August were denied official status from the university and took their case to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
The official recognition by the college is an important distinction. Without it, a campus group can’t post fliers, advertise and hold meetings.
Last year, the student union at the University of British Columbia’s Kelowna campus refused club status to campus pro-lifers.
And in Ottawa, the Carleton University Students’ Association passed a motion affirming their pro-abortion position and denying official status to a student pro-life group.