University of the Fraser Valley cites “security concerns” and cancels talk from WeNeedaLAW.ca director.
For Immediate Release
Surrey, BC – In a strongly worded letter to University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), lawyer John Carpay from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms demanded that president Dr. Mark Evered and UFV reverse its decision to cancel an event on April 10, 2013.
“We understand from Ms. Bulthuis, president of UFV Life Link (hereinafter “Life Link”), that on March 20, 2013, UFV approved a Life Link event to take place on Wednesday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Room B101 on the Abbotsford Campus. This April 10 event, approved by UFV, features a presentation by Mike Schouten from the group “We Need a Law,” which advocates for the protection of the pre-born through legislation,” Mr. Carpay writes.
The letter goes on to say: Your attempted cancellation of this April 10 event, and your content-based censorship of Life Link’s expression, is contrary to UFV’s Board Policy on Academic Freedom, which states:
The university is committed to the belief that the exchange of knowledge and ideas in an environment of intellectual freedom is an indispensable foundation of quality education. Academic freedom is one means to ensure that an environment of intellectual freedom is sustained. Academic freedom includes the right of all members of the university community to inquire, discuss, speak and express themselves, study, conduct research, teach, publish, associate, create and exhibit their work without hindrance or restriction by the university or any of its representatives.
Carpay continues, “If a university implements a policy of cancelling events the moment it learns that protesters might be present at an event, the university is no longer a safe space for the peaceful expression of a broad range of diverse opinions.”
Mike Schouten, campaign director for WeNeedaLAW.ca, was informed by Life Link president, Ashley Bulthuis of the cancellation on Friday.
The following is a statement from Mr. Schouten:
It is disappointing that the University of the Fraser Valley, an institution that prides itself on its stimulation of intellectual debate, has capitulated to a mentality of mob rule. I appreciate that there are a wide variety of opinions on pre-born human rights, but it is my experience that, when a scientific and philosophical argument is presented for the humanity of the pre-born child, many Canadians are no longer comfortable with this country’s status quo allowing abortion throughout all 40 weeks of pregnancy.
History has shown that post-secondary institutions were a welcoming venue for young Canadians seeking to find their place in the moral fabric of society. This action on the part of the University of the Fraser Valley is an indication that they are now among the most intellectually sterile environments.
Rather than pose impediments to open dialogue, I encourage the University of the Fraser Valley to remove barriers and restore openness by promoting intellectual liberty on their campus.
The University is resorting to illegal procedures to ensure the pro-life students aren’t able to express their viewpoints in a similar manner as other groups. It is hypocritical for the University to take this course of action.
The University of the Fraser Valley’s cancellation of the contract with Life Link and their defensive attitude of their so-called ‘intellectual turf’ is nothing short of unfair discrimination and it is my hope they heed the threat of court action by reversing their decision immediately.
For more comment please contact:
Mike Schouten – 778-321-2457