I like the fact that Carleton Lifeline is looking to make positive and permanent changes to the environment students face on campus. They are asking for a judicial review of the student association’s policies. The press release below explains it all. By the way, clarifying the student union’s contradictory actions will help all students, not just pro-life students. Other student groups, for example, those who support Israel, are often the target of student union discrimination, as well.
For Immediate Release: Pro life clubs asks Court to Judicially Review student union’s decisions and policies
Ottawa—After their club status was denied November 15, 2010, Carleton Lifeline has filed a Notice of Application for Judicial Review of the Carleton University Students Association’s (CUSA) decisions and policies.
The clubs status was revoked after CUSA acted on sections 5 and 6 of their Discrimination on Campus Policy. Section 6 reads, “CUSA further affirms that actions such as any campaign, distribution, solicitation, lobbying effort, display, event etc. that seeks to limit or remove a woman’s right to choose her options in the case of pregnancy will not be supported. As such, no CUSA resources, space, recognition or funding will be allocated for the purpose of promoting these actions”.
This section is in direct contravention of CUSA’s Constitution, which declares that CUSA will “promote and assist in maintaining an academic environment free from prejudice, exploitation, abuse or violence on the basis of… political affiliation or belief” (Article 2.1.d).
Carleton Lifeline exhausted the internal appeal mechanisms, culminating in a challenge of the decision and policy in a hearing before the CUSA Constitutional Board. In a meeting that did not follow CUSA’s own protocol, and violated policies, the Constitutional Board unanimously ruled against Carleton Lifeline’s challenge. On December 16, 2010, the Constitutional Board ruled in favour of the policies and upheld the ban on pro-life groups on campus.
Ruth Lobo, Carleton Lifeline president, stated, “Lifeline deserves to be treated the same way as other clubs. For this reason, we are asking a panel of judges to review CUSA’s decisions and policies. We hoped that we could not have had to proceed this way, but we feel very strongly that we have been treated unjustly”.
Carleton Lifeline sought to have the appeal reheard due to the Constitutional Board’s violation of board rules. However, CUSA refused. John Mcleod said, “This is overt discrimination. After our club was banned on the basis of our political beliefs were then banned from a fair hearing. The fact that CUSA cannot respect their own policies shows its inability to function as a voice for the student body”. As a result, the club has filed a Notice of Application for Judicial Review.