University of Lethbridge wants to move pro-life display so that ‘people feel safe’
LETHBRIDGE, Alberta, November 6, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The president of the University of Lethbridge has written a letter saying the school will reconsider its policy on free speech after a Genocide Awareness Project display set up last week by the Lethbridge Students for Life club upset campus liberals.
"Last week saw considerable debate and controversy on our campus. From Wednesday, Oct. 30 through Friday, Nov. 1, a sanctioned student club hosted a series of displays on campus that depicted very graphic and, considered by many, disturbing images," wrote Dr. Mike Mahon, president and vice-chancellor of Lethbridge University.
He hoped in the future pro-life displays "do not expose individuals to images they do not wish to see" and "do not pose safety and security concerns."
"Last week’s activities exposed a number of gaps in our space booking activities. It illustrated that we must make changes for the future and better anticipate that these types of controversies will occur at our university," Mahon stated.
Without saying exactly what these changes will entail, Mahon stated that Lethbridge will "ensure that such activities are conducted in an appropriate space on campus, that people are given a choice as to whether they wish to see the displays and engage in the debate, and that such activities are not unsafe and do not disrupt the normal operations of the University of Lethbridge."
The GAP display drew a protest from abortion advocates who blocked some of the pro-life display with pro-abortion signs.
However, Colette Aikema, secretary of Lethbridge Students for Life, said this is exactly the purpose of displaying the disturbing images of abortion in high traffic areas.
“Using the Genocide Awareness Project, we are showing the humanity of the pre-born and the inhumanity that is abortion,” Aikema told the Lethbridge Herald. “We hope to show people what abortion is and then have respectful dialogue with students on campus and anybody else who might be walking by so that we can talk about what abortion does.”
Aikema said the GAP display has the approval of the University of Lethbrigde Student Union, and she was glad the protesters showed up.
“We support their right to free speech, and what I think is wonderful is they’re able to talk to people and we’re able to talk with people and we can both give our two sides of the story so we can have the debate on abortion,” Aikema said.
Lethbrigde Student Union president Shuna Talbot said Lethbridge Students for Life has the same status as all other clubs on campus, and supports the pro-life club's freedom of speech.
“We support all of our clubs in their demonstrations as long as they follow the appropriate processes which include getting approval from Risk and Safety Services and Security Services,” she said.