Banned pro-life club files lawsuit against British Columbia student union
LANGLEY, British Columbia, Dec. 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pro-life students in British Columbia are defending their right to promote life on campus as they take their student union to court for banning their club.
Protectores Vitae, the pro-life group at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in the Vancouver area, announced the lawsuit in a press release Monday evening.
The students had threatened to sue the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) last week after it rejected their application to form an official pro-life club. They had given the union until Nov. 29th to rescind the decision.
“After discussion amongst Protectores Vitae members, we have decided to move forward with the lawsuit,” said Oliver Capko, the club’s president. “It is unfortunate that we have to sue our own student representatives in order to secure equal and fair treatment on campus.”
The student union has adopted an officially pro-abortion stance, an increasingly common occurrence on Canadian campuses. They claim recognizing a pro-life club would violate policy.
But the pro-life students say that the KSA made a special amendment to its club policy in October so they could reject Protectores Vitae’s application. Originally the policy had said that clubs are “autonomous in their activities, as long as they adhere to official KSA Rules.” But an amendment added that school clubs must also adhere to “the Constitution, Bylaws, Regulations, Policies, Executive Procedures, and other rules of the Kwantlen Student Association.”
After last week’s legal threat, the KSA’s lawyers had offered to grant Protectores Vitae status as a “recognized group” without official club status. The “recognized group” status is normally reserved for groups associated with external organizations such as political parties or religious entities.
“We are an autonomous group, without affiliation to any other external organization,” Capko said. “We are not religious, nor are we political. Our activities would lead to consideration of bio-ethical issues at Kwantlen, which would surely enrich the extracurricular experience of students. That is why we applied for club status and not for recognized group status.”
John Carpay, the club’s lawyer, said the KSA represents the entire student body and cannot pick and choose between causes.
“Student unions need to recognize and fund all student groups, or none of them. The student union politicians have no legal authority to fund only groups that they like and agree with, while denying funding to groups they disagree with,” he said.
Protectores Vitae plans to file court documents in the week of December 10-14. The documents will be made available on the club’s website after they are filed.
Dr. Alan Davis, President and Vice-Chancellor
12666 72nd Avenue, Surrey, B.C.
KSA Director of Student Services: Cristopher Girodat – firstname.lastname@example.org
KSA Director of Student Life: Amrit Mahil — email@example.com
KSA Director of Finance: Tony Chiao — firstname.lastname@example.org
KSA Director of External Affairs: Arzo Ansary — email@example.com