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March 25, 2009 | Daniel Kanis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CAMPUS PRO-LIFE BRINGS GENOCIDE AWARENESS PROJECT BACK TO UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY

U of C Pro Life club members assert their right to freedom of speech
CALGARY, AB, March 24, 2009

Despite having been charged with trespassing on their own campus, tomorrow pro-life students are again setting up their controversial display on the University of Calgary campus, as they have been doing since 2006.  Members of Campus Pro life (CPL) are bringing the display, known as the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) to campus at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday March 25, 2009. GAP is a peaceful, educational display which utilizes 4×8-foot signs to show the reality of abortion to the public, drawing comparisons between it and other genocides.

“Rather than fulfilling its mission of being a forum where all views can be expressed and debated, the university is trying to censor a minority opinion on the basis of anonymous complaints,” stated Alanna Campbell, treasurer of CPL. “We don’t know what the university will do this time, but we do know we can’t let them censor us. Unborn childrens’ lives depend on us communicating an uncensored message.”

The students have set up GAP on campus once per semester (twice per year) since 2006, with the University setting up its own signs stating that the GAP display was protected speech under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In 2008, the University of Calgary started demanding that the students face their signs inwards so no passers-by could see the signs, effectively censoring the students.

The pro-life students responded to the University’s censorship demands by continuing to display GAP as previously, pointing out that other campus groups, including pro-choice students, do not have the same kind of restrictions. In response, the University asked Calgary Police to charge
the students with trespassing. The students have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial has been set for November 4, 2009.
“Students just want to exercise their right to peacefully express their views without the fear of censorship, because differing views should be debated at a university,” stated Campus Pro-Life club president Leah Hallman.

“All group members involved in the GAP display agree to a code of conduct, which includes a commitment of non-violence,” added Hallman.
“If the university can silence our viewpoint on campus just because it’s unpopular in some quarters, then they can censor others as well,” says vice president of CPL, Cameron Wilson. “Being told to turn signs inward is like being told that you can express your views as long as nobody can hear you.”

Wilson points out that Harvey Weingarten, past-president of the U of C, has stated, “The role of universities is to promote, permit and enable the free exchange of ideas, debate and civil discourse. If universities do not support these values, which societal institutions will?” (Academic Freedom Needs to Come First: Canadians Universities React to Proposed Academic Boycott, Sara Hanson, The Gauntlet, July 19, 2007). The president’s comment reflects the university’s own policy laid out in its Academic Calendar showing that the University aims “to promote free inquiry and debate”.
The students will set up the GAP display on campus at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday March 25th and Thursday March 26th.
For more information, please contact the following:

Leah Hallman, CPL President (403-808-3412) Cameron Wilson, CPL Vice President (403-465-9164) Asia Strezynski (FRENCH-SPEAKING CONTACT), CPL Secretary (403-827-1622) John Carpay, Legal Counsel (403-619-8014)
More detailed information can be found at:
http://www.campusprolife.com

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