I’ve written before on our old blog about the Campus Pro-Life student group at the University of Calgary because the situation is so outrageous and American universities often mimic free speech denials that have occurred at Canadian universities. Lifenews.com reports that even though the Campus Pro-Life students will go on trial in November for criminal trespass, and even though the student union denied them official recognition, they are persevering and continuing to speak on campus:
The members of the Campus Pro-Life group at the University of Calgary aren’t letting a little thing like charges of criminally trespassing on their own campus stop them from speaking out against abortion. They are putting together a new pro-life display despite an expected court appearance in weeks.
Six University of Calgary students pleaded not guilty in March to the bogus trespassing charges.
They were arrested in February and charged after they set up a pro-life display college officials initially allowed but said they didn’t want shown.
When UC officials warned members of Campus Pro-Life that they had to restrict their own pro-life display, the students refused to comply.
Now, the pro-life students are back with their graphic display on campus even though university officials have infringed on their free speech rights and told them to take them down. They have also threatened the students with non-academic misconduct procedures.
“We are innocent until proven guilty, so we have every right to be here,” the pro-life group’s president, biology student Leah Hallman, told the Calgary Herald. “If we didn’t do this, we would be consenting that we are doing something wrong, and then who would be here to speak for the unborn?”
The trial is set for November 4 and, until then, the University of Calgary has said the students can’t set up the abortion display, but officials will not forcibly remove it.
“The university reiterates that it will not seek to physically remove the group or its signs,” a statement it released says. “This action would elevate the risk of confrontation and give the organization the publicity it is seeking. The university is working to have this issue resolved in an appropriate manner.”
The University wants this free speech black eye to go away quietly and is resolving it in an “appropriate manner”–through criminal trespass charges. But no student should be subject to criminal sanction for engaging in free speech on campus, and I applaud the group for continuing to speak despite all they have endured.