University of Calgary Pro-Life Students Face Biased Hearing on Abortion Display

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 29, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

University of Calgary Pro-Life Students Face Biased Hearing on Abortion Display

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 29
, 2010

Calgary, Canada ( — The University of Calgary is going after pro-life students again for putting up a display featuring graphic pictures of abortion. The college charged members of the Campus Pro-Life group last year with criminally trespassing on their own campus to stop them from speaking out against abortion.

Those charges were later withdrawn. Now, after putting up a new display the university is threatening to expel a group of students who refused to move it.

The eight students received letters from the school earlier this month advising that they had violated the non-academic misconduct policy. Two students had a hearing now and the rest get hearings on Friday.

The university went ahead with a hearing on the matter on Wednesday giving the students no chance to present their side. Asia Strezynski and Ryan Wilson met individually with the university’s vice-provost and ombudsman, according to Global News, to establish the facts for a future hearing.

"They already knew what the facts were. We weren’t going to dispute those facts," Wilson told the news service. "They were unwilling to even talk about whether these charges are legitimate."

Strezynski told GN she asked acting associate vice-provost Meghan Houghton whether the campus security was doing their duty by asking the students to take down the pro-life display, but was told that she was not within her right to ask such a question.

"I find that troublesome because she’s the one who makes this decision; she should know whether that is a legitimate request and not make a decision based on what she’s been told and what impression she got of me," Strezynski said.

University representative Grady Semmens would not comment on the hearing "because all misconduct hearings and issues are confidential."

Houghton is expected to issue a decision within 10 days and that could take the form of a written warning, suspension or expulsion.

John Carpay, of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, is offering the students legal representation and said any discipline can be appealed to a five-person panel.

"It’s unfortunate they’re not even allowed at this stage to argue that censorship is not one of the duties of campus security," he told Global News.

The group put up the display again on April 8, and was asked by campus security to turn the graphic images inward so no one could see them. The students snubbed that request and refused to leave campus, according to the university’s letter.

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