Student threatens legal action after anti-abortion club banned by pro-choice student union


UBC student Oliver Capko to sue his student union after refusing to let him start an anti-abortion club on campus

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A college student in British Columbia is preparing to sue his student union after refusing to let him start an anti-abortion club on campus because it goes against his pro-choice stance.

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Agriculture student Oliver Capko filed a notice of intent with the Kwantlen Student Association late last week, which warned the student union that he has until Thursday to give his group, Protectores Vitae, official club status or he will seek a court order that the student government “cease its unlawful discrimination” on the basis of creed.

Canada’s pro-life community is rallying around the 18-year-old – who sought to start the club after arriving on the Kwantlen Polytechnic University campus in Langley, B.C., only to find that he didn’t there was no group agreeing with his point of view – claiming that this was another case. of a university trying to censor pro-life activities.

“Here we have almost a classic example of the kind of attitude that is so prevalent in the mindset of student politicians elected to student unions,” said Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms President John Carpay. , which represents Mr. Capko pro bono. “It’s a good opportunity to try and stop that arrogance and censorship in its tracks while it’s happening, and that makes it quite different from other cases.” [we’re aware of]. “

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Mr Carpay, whose organization recently gave Canadian student unions a failing rating on free speech, said many universities across Canada unfairly target pro-life groups as their student governments take pro-choice positions.

The National Campus Life Network has also helped strengthen Mr. Capko’s cause, as it has done with pro-life student legal battles at other schools, including the University of Calgary.

Mr Capko first applied for club status with the Kwantlen Students’ Association on October 12 and learned more than a month later that his application had been rejected.

“I was very disappointed, to say the least,” he said. “[The student union] roughly… demanded that our club adhere to the Kwantlen Students’ Association policy that they support a woman’s right to choose.

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He then asked for clarification on whether the rules for establishing student clubs should align with student union policies and positions on social issues. On October 26, the student union executive committee changed its rules so that its policies and position on social issues apply to clubs (this was not the case before).

This is a good opportunity to try and stop this arrogance and censorship in its tracks while it is happening.

The change had nothing to do with Mr Capko’s candidacy, said KSA executive committee chairman Christopher Girodat.

The student union is a “pro-choice organization” and its group is mandated to spend money in a way that supports this vision – because Protectores Vitae would get funding as a registered club, it did not meet union standards. student, he said.

But Mr Capko’s club could be called a “recognized group” on the Kwantlen campus, he said. They have access to room reservations and advertising through the student union, but receive no funding.

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If Protectores Vitae wanted this status, which other political, religious or otherwise controversial groups hold in Kwantlen, “my instinct is that yes, it would be approved,” said Mr. Girodat. “We recognize the right to come together on campus and express their views to the student body, which is why we have recognized groups as a category of campus groups. “

The student union has asked Mr. Carpay to extend his deadline until December 7, when the executive will have the results of a review of Mr. Capko’s complaint.

“I hope this can avoid legal action, I hope they will give the club their status by Thursday at the latest,” Carpay said. “But we will file a lawsuit Friday morning if that is not done.”

National post

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