VICTORIA, British Columbia, February 7, 2012 ( – The University of Victoria Student’s Society (UVSS) yesterday evening passed two motions that effectively censor the activities of Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), the campus’ official pro-life club.

“This is a disappointing development,” said Cameron Côté, YPY Vice-President.

The UVic Student’s Society charged the pro-life club with violating the UVSS Harassment Policy after they received complaints last November regarding the content of YPY’s “Choice” Chain demonstration.

UVSS defines harassment as “the abusive, unfair, or demeaning treatment of a person or group of persons that has the effect or purpose of unreasonably creating a hostile, intimidating, threatening, or humiliating environment.”


“Choice” Chain, a demonstration developed by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), consists of people holding large signs in public places that testify to the injustice of abortion by means of graphic depictions of first-trimester abortions.

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“People may have felt offended by the images,” said Côté, “but that in no way constitutes harassment.”

Côté believes that freedom of speech ceases to exist once people equate “hurt feelings” with “harassment”.

“While we recognize that some people do not like our message, that doesn’t mean we should be censored,” he said.

The second motion passed against YPY was in response to posters the group had displayed on campus in October that compared the treatment of Canada’s pre-born, who are currently deemed non-persons, with the similar treatment of other minority groups in the past, including African Americans, Natives, Women, and Jews.

UVSS has stripped the pro-life club of their right to book public space on campus for their events and has also forbidden the club to hold “Choice” Chain demonstrations or events similar to it. They have also banned the club from displaying posters until a new policy is crafted that governs the content of posters.

UVSS’ board of directors lastly ordered the pro-life club to apologize to those who were offended by their posters.

“I thought the UVSS had moved past this type of discrimination and censorship since the settlement of YPY’s lawsuit in July 2010,” said Anastasia Pearse, former YPY president who now works as the Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network.

“Censorship of the abortion debate at a university is shameful and unacceptable,” she said.

Côté said the pro-life club will not tolerate this kind of ideological discrimination.

“We must all demand that our society be free of discrimination and censorship of minority or unpopular viewpoints. […] The legal killing of so many innocent human beings is a disturbing topic, but it is far too serious to suppress or ignore,” he said.

Contacts for University of Victoria Student’s Society:

Tara Paterson, Board of Directors, Chairperson
Phone: (250) 721-8370
E-mail: [email protected]

Jaraad Marani, Board of Directors, Director of External Relations
Phone: (250) 721-8366
E-mail: [email protected]