Peter Baklinski

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University of the Fraser Valley shuts down pro-life event, censors materials

Peter Baklinski
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ABBOTSFORD, B.C., April 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Administration at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) cancelled a pro-life event scheduled for tomorrow.

The Life Link event, which had been approved by the university on March 20, was to feature Mike Schouten from the group “We Need a Law”. It was to raise awareness about protecting the pre-born through legislation, with a focus on protecting those targeted for abortion because of being female. 

But on Friday, Jill Harrison, Manager of UFV’s Student Life, informed Life Link that the event would be cancelled due to “security issues” and the “lack of a risk management plan.”

“With our knowledge of potential protesters and the advertising of your event on the weneedaLaw website, we feel the potential for conflict is high,” Harrison wrote in an email to the group.

Harrison requested that Life Link remove posters advertising the event.

Harrison also proposed that Life Link plan for a future event, but with the university’s “institutional partners” so as to “create an event that provides a balanced view of the issue at hand”.

Instead, however, Life Link, has secured legal council, and yesterday demanded that UFV reverse the decision to cancel the event. 

“Our club has distributed resources, held a debate and organized other presentations on abortion,” stated Ashley Bulthuis, Life Link’s president, in a press release. 

“A documentary on gendercide has even been screened on campus this year. Why has the university suddenly disregarded its commitment to free speech in regards to the gendercide and abortion issues?” 

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The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), Life Link’s legal council, submitted a letter to UFV yesterday, saying that if the university did not “reverse its decision” to cancel the April 10 event, then Life Link would sue for “breach of contract”. 

JCCF called UFV’s “sudden cancellation of Life Link’s approved event” an “illegal breach of the student-university contract.” 

To promote the event, Life Link used anti-gendercide resources created by the National Campus Life Network (NCLN). One poster has a picture of a mother holding her blossoming belly with a pink ribbon tied in a bow around it. The poster reads: “‘It’s a Girl’ should not be a death sentence.” The material has been distributed to pro-life groups on campuses across Canada. UFV is the first university to censor a group over the resources. 

LifeSiteNews contacted UFV for comment, but did not hear back by press time.

Mike Schouten, who was to speak at the event tomorrow, slammed the university for having “capitulated to a mentality of mob rule”. 

Schouten accused UFV of “resorting to illegal procedures to ensure the pro-life students aren't able to express their viewpoints in a similar manner as other groups,” calling such a course of action “hypocritical”.

“The University of the Fraser Valley’s cancellation of the contract with Life Link and their defensive attitude of their so-called 'intellectual turf' is nothing short of unfair discrimination and it is my hope they heed the threat of court action by reversing their decision immediately,” he said. 

UFV’s Board Policy on Academic Freedom states that the university is “committed to the belief that the exchange of knowledge and ideas in an environment of intellectual freedom is an indispensable foundation of quality education.” 

UFV’s Statement of Institutional Ethics also states that UFV members have “academic and artistic freedom” which includes the freedom to “investigate controversial views, to hold unpopular positions on controversial issues, and to present in class and in the wider community one’s controversial views.”

JCCF wrote that the university’s policies impose a “legal obligation on UFV to uphold the free speech rights of all students and all viewpoints, without discrimination” and that the policies “ring hollow” if the university “refuses Life Link students the right to hold events in which controversial viewpoints are expressed, merely due to a possibility of protest.”

 

Contact info for University of the Fraser Valley:

Dr. Mark Evered, President and Vice-Chancellor
Jillian Smith, Executive Assistant to the President & Vice-Chancellor
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 604-864-4608
Fax: 604-853-7341 

Jill Harrison, Manager of UFV’s Student Life
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 604-557-4062



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