Newfoundland University Denies Club Status to Pro-Life Group

By John-Henry Westen

  ST. JOHN’S, September 28, 2007 ( - On Wednesday, September 26, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union Board of Directors (MUNSU) voted to deny official club status to Memorial University of Newfoundland Students for Life (MUN for LIFE).

  MUN for LIFE President Patrick Hanlon informed that when the proposal to grant club status to the pro-life group came up, the chair asked for a motion to approve and none present volunteered.  A motion to deny status was proposed and quickly made, seconded and passed nearly with only two abstentions.

  Hanlon indicated that the main arguments used to deny club status were that MUNSU is a member of the officially "pro-choice" Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). Further since most of the MUNSU officers had identified themselves at the meeting as "pro-choice" they felt they could not approve a group in opposition to their beliefs.

  Hanlon commented on the ruling saying that it "signaled the death of free speech on a university campus." He pointed out in comments to that the MUNSU supports other groups with opposing viewpoints such as pagan, Christian groups as well as opposing political groups.  The University also recognizes as an official club the pro-abortion "Women’s Resource Centre".

  Hanlon also pointed out that affiliation with the ‘pro-choice’ CFS has not stopped other Canadian university student unions from granting club status to pro-life groups.

  Hanlon is encouraging his fellow union members and all concerned individuals, regardless of their position on life issues, to demand MUNSU immediately reverse the decision made at the September 26 meeting. "If this decision is not reversed, a dangerous precedent is set in place for MUNSU, and other Student Unions in Canada, which would allow the silencing of any other group that a union wishes not to have democratic and university rights," warned Hanlon.

  University spokesman Ivan Muzychka told that it was an issue between the Student Union and pro-life students. "This is an issue between the student union and the students," he said.  Asked if the administration was concerned about the fact that the decision has produced an atmosphere where those who believe in the right to life are unwelcome, Mazychka said he’d respond later if possible.

  To respectfully contact the MUNSU executive:
  James Farrell, External Director,
  Bradley Russell, Student Life Director,
  Stella Magalios, Campaigns Director,
  Stephanie Power, Advocacy Director,
  Nick Eisnor, Finance Director,
  Phone: 709-737-7633
  Fax: 709-737-4743
  Mail: MUNSU, Suite 2000 - University Centre, MUN, St. John’s, NL A1C 5S7

  To respectfully express contact the university administration:
  Dr. Axel Meisen, President and Vice Chancellor of MUN,
  Dr. Lilly Walker, Dean of Student Affairs and Services,  

  To carbon copy or contact Patrick Hanlon:
  Patrick Hanlon, MUN for LIFE President,

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