Pro-Life Student Group Wins Battle Against University Discrimination That Denied Its Club Status

International   |   Steven Ertelt, Emily Derois   |   Aug 31, 2016   |   11:33AM   |   Ottawa, Canada

A pro-life student group in Canada won its battle against a university that discriminated against it by yanking its official student club status.

Pro-life students filed a lawsuit against the Brandon University Students’ Union after it revoked their club status last November, CBC News reported. The situation is the latest in a series of on-going problems involving high schools and colleges discriminating against pro-life students.

The lawsuit asked the court to reinstate the Students for Life as an official club at the university in Manitoba, Canada. The university student union claims that the club was unnecessary as other campus clubs already focus on the issue of abortion. However, the pro-life group leaders contend that their club’s status was removed because their stance made some students uneasy, according to CBC News.

Apparently the suit was enough to get university officials to reinstate the club. Here’s more:

The Brandon University Students Union reversed its decision to revoke the club status of Students for Life, ending court action. The club will be recognized in the 2016-17 school year.

“It’s kind of sad that it had to come to legal action, but I’m happy,” said SFL president Catherine Dubois.

Without club status, SFL could not book meeting rooms unless it paid fees. It also couldn’t receive union services.

Justice centre president John Carpay said he’s pleased.

“The student union should never have removed club status from this group…and (it) was quite clear the only reason why they removed this club’s status was because the student union did not like, or did not agree with their opinions.”

President of Brandon University Students for Life Catherine Dubois revealed in a press release that the union has tried to censor their club since it started four years ago.

“Our student union claims to serve students and support them in their efforts to share their passions and advocate for various causes,” Dubois said. “Our club has been repeatedly censored and denied these opportunities offered to every other student. We are tired and frustrated with being treated in such a discriminatory manner.”

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The Students for Life club at Brandon University is not the only pro-life group being targeted. Other pro-life student clubs in Canada and the U.S. also have had to challenge their schools’ decisions in the past.

Anastasia Pearse, executive director of National Campus Life Network, said there are 40 pro-life clubs at Canadian universities that are experiencing difficulties with free speech.

“We know that the pro-life position is one that can be uncomfortable to talk about,” Pearse said. “But it is such an important issue for us to talk about, as so many women on our campuses are affected by abortion.

“We should be able to discuss these issues respectfully and openly without fear of being censored. It’s unfortunate that so many student unions resort to the lazy option of censorship instead of relying on open dialogue and debate.”

In the past two years, LifeNews reported pro-life students in California, Iowa, Nevada and North Dakota had to challenge their schools, too, after school officials tried to prohibit them from forming pro-life clubs.