SU withdraws Pro-Life Club complaint

By Brent Constantin

The University of Calgary Students’ Union has formally withdrawn its complaint against the Campus Pro-Life student group in the latest of a series of successes for the club over the past several months.

“It was the previous Students’ Union executive who gave the go-ahead to the review board to withdraw the complaint,” explained SU president Lauren Webber. “We stand by their request.”

In November 2008 the U of C asked the club to turn in their displays of graphic images that some found offensive. After the group failed to obey, the U of C charged several club members with trespassing the following February.

In response, SU clubs committee ended Campus Pro-Life’s status as a sanctioned SU club. The club violated SU policy by violating university bylaws, but the clubs committee failed to specify the specific bylaws broken.

Legal charges were ultimately stayed by the Alberta Crown Prosecutors’ Office in 2010, followed by academic misconduct hearings which resulted in warnings from the school.

“The complaint was to do with them breaking this university policy that the SU thought was in place, which in fact was not in place,” said Webber, describing the actions of last year’s Students’ Legislative Council.

Campus Pro-Life appealed the decision and was given club status while the issue was re-evaluated.

“Now that they’ve withdrawn the complaint everything is kind of like normal,” said club president Alanna Campbell. “It means that we don’t have to go forward with an appeal and have the review board hear it.”

“Word came down that the complaint was withdrawn and once the party withdraws their complaint there’s nothing really to review,” said Sarah Makson, representative of the SU review board. “It’s like a court, you can’t force the parties to precede if they choose not to.”

Campbell said her group plans to continue with the Genocide Awareness Project displays that have been featured on campus since 2006. CPL is in discussion with the SU in regards to finding an alternate location, possibly within MacHall.

“Our intent moving forward is to treat Campus Pro-Life in a fair and reasonable manner and work with them to mend relations because I know they’re tense right now,” said Webber. “We worked peacefully with them for the first 10 years and I hope we can go back to that again.”

The SU is reviewing club bylaws as part of their governance review.

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