By John-Henry Westen
CALGARY, February 6, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The announcement that the University of Calgary has charged a number of pro-life students with trespassing on their own campus for displaying graphic pro-life signs has caused a stir even among those who do not consider themselves pro-life. Free speech advocates have condemned the decision, professors at the university have slammed it and, now, alumni have been called to halt their financial support for the institution.
Famed free-speech advocate Ezra Levant, himself a graduate of the University of Calgary, has encouraged his fellow alumni to launch “a boycott on donations” to the University. Levant called the University’s move “an embarrassment to all Calgarians and all alumni of the University of Calgary.” He remarked that “the U of C’s police harassment (sic) of its students is a planned, thoughtful, strategic assault on freedom of speech, academic freedom, and the very nature of universities.”
He called it “appalling” and “un-Canadian,” that the “city’s university sends cops after young women to bully them into ceasing their political discussions.”
The University, he said, “should lose endowments. They should lose grants. They should lose donations from thousands of alumni. Not just from pro-life alumni – though it should lose all of those. But from anyone who believes that a university is a place where different ideas can duke it out, and the best wins.”
The Canadian Constitution Foundation told the National Post that “using the trespass legislation to suppress one viewpoint is a gross misuse of what that legislation is all about.” The Post also reported that several professors at the University have criticized the Administration’s actions. “This shows that senior administration has really lost touch with the purpose of a university, which is precisely to discuss questions that members of the public find difficult to consider,” said University of Calgary political scientist Barry Cooper.
Levant concluded, “This is not a pro-life vs. pro-choice discussion. That’s irrelevant. This heavy-handed bullying by the U of C would be appalling no matter which side of the debate was being squashed. I think that any pro-life alumni should be extra angry that the university is officially gagging one side of that debate. But any pro-choicer who believes in freedom of speech should be disgusted with their alma mater, too.”
Leah Hallman, the president of Campus Pro-Life, said she was thankful for the support and had this message for pro-life Canadians: “I would like to encourage all Canadians to be a voice for the unborn and to stand up in the face of persecution.”
Campus Pro-Life also said they would appreciate any donations to help with legal fees. Hallman told LifeSiteNews.com, “I suggest that alumni who are currently donating to the University of Calgary withdraw their support, and use this money to donate to Campus Pro-Life [cheques can be made payable to ‘Campus Pro-Life’ and mailed to the address below] or another pro-life organization.”
PO Box 84065
See Levant’s blog online here: