University of Calgary Charges Pro-Life Students with Trespassing



February 2, 2009

CALGARY, AB, February 2, 2009 ( – The University of Calgary has charged a number of its own students with “trespassing” for having set up a controversial pro-life display on campus this past November. Two months after exhibiting the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) the pro-life students received, privately in their homes, summons to court. They must enter a plea by the end of this month, with a trial to be set for later in the year.

The students, who are members of the Campus Pro-Life (CPL) club, set up the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on November 26th and 27th of 2008.

Since 2006, the GAP, which includes large color photographs of abortion and compares abortion to other past genocides, has been set up on campus six times without incident. In 2006 and 2007, the University had protected the club’s right to put up the display under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This year, however, the University threatened the pro-life students with arrest and academic sanctions, including possible expulsion, if they set up the display. The University justified it demands saying that it had received anonymous complaints about the graphic display, and said that the display could provoke violent reactions.

Leah Hallman, president of CPL stated in November that, “Banning an event because of the possibility of someone else being violent towards it, is like telling women they are not allowed to walk on campus at night because of the possibility they may be sexually assaulted.”

“The right solution to that potential crime is to provide lighting and security to deter the person who might commit such a crime, not to ban the women.”

In the past the pro-life students have also pointed out that the University has not taken action against other students or groups making use of shocking photographs to communicate their message. At the same time that GAP was displayed in November, another display showed disturbing photographs of the atrocities committed by the Chinese government against the supporters of Falun Gong. In addition, the University has extended generous tolerance towards campus pro-choice groups, even when engaged in the physical blocking of the pro-life display.

University of Calgary contact info:

Dr. Harvey P. Weingarten, President
Administration Building, Room 100
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4
Phone: (403) 220-5460
Fax: (403) 289-6800
Email: [email protected]

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