Pro-life club sues Ryerson Students’ Union over illegal discrimination
TORONTO, ON---Pro-life students at Ryerson University have filed a lawsuit against the Ryerson Students' Union (RSU) over denying their club---Students for Life at Ryerson (SFLR)---official status.
On February 23, 2015, the RSU Board of Directors unanimously voted that SFLR would not be allowed to form a pro-life club. This vote marked the last step in an appeal process that began in the fall semester after SFLR was rejected by the Student Groups Committee on the basis that the RSU, “opposes…groups, meetings, or events that promote misogynist views towards woman [sic] and ideologies that promote gender inequity, challenges women’s right [sic] to bodily autonomy, or justifies [sic] sexual assault”.
“Our club stands for human rights for all human beings, including those at the earliest stages of life. We also want to support pregnant students on campus who want alternatives to abortion,” states Carter Grant, a third year business major and Vice-President of SFLR.
Pro-life students at Ryerson were first denied club status back in 2003. Now students are taking the decision to court to assert their right to be treated fairly by their student union, and to not be discriminated against on the basis of their pro-life viewpoint.
What is happening at Ryerson is not an isolated event. Pro-life students across the country have faced similar censorship at other institutions, including at the University of Victoria, University of Calgary, York University, Carleton University, Trent University, Lakehead University, and Capilano College.
The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) is assisting the students with this case. CCBR's new legal department, CCBR Legal, has retained experienced constitutional lawyer Carol Crosson to defend the students. Ms. Crosson says that, “pro-life students have been denied rights on campuses long enough. This is the time to end this battle and enshrine students' rights on campus."
"As history as shown, legal representation is an integral part of successful social movements," says Nicholas McLeod, legal director at CCBR. "The law protects the right for pro-life individuals to share their message on the same basis as others and CCBR Legal is determined to protect this right."
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