Fredericton, NEW BRUNSWICK, December 19, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life students at the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) Fredericton campus say they were “shocked” last week to learn that their application for club status was again denied due to a “lack of information.”
“It’s a double standard,” said Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network, a national organization supporting pro-life students across Canada. “The Council has asked for ‘additional information’; what they need is information concerning what the role of a student union is and is not.”
“Determining which views are accepted and which are discriminated against is not part of their mandate,” she said in a press release today.
UNB Students for Life applied for club status in October, not foreseeing any difficulties given that a pro-life club is currently recognized at the UNB Saint John campus and that a similar club had existed previously at the Fredericton campus.
The pro-life students stated in their application that they were “committed to proclaiming, celebrating, and defending the dignity of all human beings from conception to natural death,” adding that their club would look to educating the “students and faculty of UNB and the public on current life issues, directing them to pro-life resources such as crisis pregnancy and post abortion counselling centres.”
However, Student Union council members criticized the pro-life group, calling their beliefs “controversial,” “touchy,” and “negative.”
“This group is negative and should not be recognized. Being an escort at the clinic and dealing with these groups on a weekly basis, I do not think they should have support because of the harassment on a weekly basis,” said Councillor Glenwright during the Student Union’s November 6th meeting.
Their application was stalled at that time until additional information could be provided.
The pro-life students provided the requested information two days before the November 20th Student Union meeting, expecting this time to be granted club status.
During the meeting, Andrew Martel, the Student Union’s Vice-President of Finance and Operations at first denied having receiving the requested information, but later admitted that he had received “limited” information.
At this time, Student Union councilors objected to granting the pro-life group official club status saying that it would be a “single issue” club with “political will or intention,” that it would be “contentious” and “inviting debate,” and that it would be a source of “misinformation” regarding “post-abortion counselling.”
However, Councillor Chamberlain-Boyle, while not agreeing with the views of the pro-life group, stated that it was not the role of the Student Union to be a “morality police.”
Once again, the matter was deferred until more information about the group could be obtained.
Despite having sent more information, the pro-life group learned that the Student Union denied them club status at their December 7th meeting, citing once more “insufficient information from the club.”
Now the pro-life group must wait until January for the Student Union’s response, once additional information that has been submitted.
“The whole situation has been incredibly frustrating,” said Amanda Magee, the President of UNB Students for Life in a press release today. “We have given the Student Union information. We have offered to be present to answer questions.”
Magee indicated that part of the frustration comes from a lack of communication on the part of the Student Union. She and her group have had to rely on the student’s newspaper and the minutes of the Student Union’s meetings to piece together where their group stands.
“And the December 4th minutes still aren’t available, so we’re not entirely sure what happened,” she said.
“All we want is the same rights as other clubs so we can do these things on campus.”
To encourage the pro-life students:
Amanda Magee, UNB Students for Life President
Ph: (506) 852-4399
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Attention: Amanda Magee
Other contact information:
Student Union University of New Brunswick:
Main Office Ph: (506) 453-4955
Fax: (506) 447-3272
UNB Student Union President
VP Finance & Operations
Student Union Welcome Centre
21 Pacey Drive