Thaddeus Baklinski


Pro-life student group rejected at B.C. university: threatens to sue

Thaddeus Baklinski

LANGLEY, British Columbia, November 27, 2012 ( - A pro-life student group at Kwantlen Polytechnic University says it is prepared to sue the school after the university’s student union rejected their application to form a pro-life club on campus.

The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA), which represents the students from the university’s four Vancouver Metro area campuses, said that the creation of Protectores Vitae “is clearly against our own standing policy on Abortion and a Woman’s Right to Choose.”

The pro-life students claim, however, that the KSA made amendments on October 26 to Article 2 of its Club Procedures Policy, specifically in order to be able to reject the Protectores Vitae application.

The unamended version of Article 2 stated that school clubs are “autonomous in their activities, as long as they adhere to official KSA Rules.”

The October 26 amendment added that school clubs must also adhere to “the Constitution, Bylaws, Regulations, Policies, Executive Procedures, and other rules of the Kwantlen Student Association.”

“We’re very disappointed,” said Oliver Capko, president of the pro-life group, in a press release. “Our student association is supposed to represent us and not censor us for having a different position.”

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In a letter to the KSA Director of Student Services, John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, who is representing Protectores Vitae, wrote, “We sincerely hope that it will not be necessary for Mr. Capko and other students to sue the KSA in order to secure their right to freely associate on the Kwantlen campus, free from discrimination by the student association that they are required by law to join.”

“The student union has no legal authority to impose its own views about a moral or political issue on all students by denying club status to students who disagree with the student union,” said Carpay.

The lawyer demanded that the KSA rescind the October 26 amendment of Article 2.

Anastasia Pearse, the Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network, an organization that supports pro-life students across Canada, argued that the Kwantlen Student Association is violating it own policies in rejecting Protectores Vitae.

“Their own policy states that the association can’t censor or interfere with a club, even if it disagrees with its beliefs,” Pearse said. “Free speech and debate, even on controversial issues, should not be stifled at a university simply because those in positions of authority are pro-choice.”

Mr. Carpay indicated in the letter to the KSA that the student union has until Thursday, November 29 to grant club status to Protectores Vitae or face the commencement of legal proceedings.

The KSA is no stranger to scandal and lawsuits. A MacLeans article outlines financial mismanagement, conflicts of interest, improper procedure, allegations of censorship of the school newspaper The Runner, and executive resignations at the Kwantlen Student Association.

A similar exposé by the University of British Columbia’s student paper, The Ubyssey, states that “when it comes to scandals, no student union in the country holds a candle to the Kwantlen Student Association,” and provides details of “court cases, boycotts, firings and security incidents” that reveal “an almost unfathomable level of dysfunction and deceit.”

Contact info:

Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Dr. Alan Davis, President and Vice-Chancellor
12666 72nd Avenue, Surrey, B.C.
Phone: 604.599.2078
Fax: 604.599.2235
Email: [email protected]

KSA Director of Student Services: Cristopher Girodat – [email protected]

KSA Director of Student Life: Amrit Mahil — [email protected]

KSA Director of Finance: Tony Chiao — [email protected]

KSA Director of External Affairs: Arzo Ansary — [email protected]

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