Toronto, ON (February 24 2015) – On February 23rd, the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) Board of Directors unanimously voted that a group of pro-life students would not be allowed to form a pro-life club.
This vote marked the last step in an appeal process that began in the fall semester after Students for Life at Ryerson was rejected by the Student Groups Committee on the basis that the RSU, “opposes…groups, meetings, or events that promote misogynist views towards woman [sic] and ideologies that promote gender inequity, challenges women’s right [sic] to bodily autonomy, or justifies [sic] sexual assault”.
“Our club stands for human rights for all human beings, including those at the earliest stages of life. We also want to support pregnant students on campus who want alternatives to abortion,” states Carter Grant, a second year business major and Vice President of Students for Life. “If the student union is going to accuse students of serious things like misogyny, they should be prepared to explain the basis for that. We are still waiting for that explanation.”
The union operates a Centre for Women and Trans People that identifies as pro-choice but the Board of Directors were not willing to allow a student group the opportunity to share another side of the issue.
“Ryerson University talks a good game on the right to freedom of expression, but when it comes down to it, its student union prefers to punish those who do not espouse RSU’s particular viewpoints on social issues,” states Carol Crosson, legal counsel for Students for Life. “Ryerson policies affirm the right to freedom of expression, but it seems that RSU has no desire to adhere to University policies.”
“If the student union can advocate their pro-choice position on campus, why can’t pro-life students present theirs?” asks Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of National Campus Life Network, which supports pro-life students across Canada. “The RSU is marginalizing and bullying students – and not even explaining why.”
Press Release originally published on http://sflryerson.ncln.ca/2015/02/25/press-release-ryerson-student-union-bars-pro-life-club/
Update (June 26 2015): Students for Life at Ryerson (SFLR) is pursuing legal action against Ryerson University in order to challenge this violation of the right to freedom of expression. More information on their site.