The University of Calgary has given the Campus Pro-life club permission to exhibit a controversial display equating abortion with historical atrocities like the lynching of blacks in the U.S. and the Holocaust.
"The administration at this point has said we can go ahead with [the Genocide Awareness Project]," said CPL representative Drew Brown. "We're very happy we'll have our chance to have people discuss the abortion issue."
Brown said a date still needs to be set, but that the club felt "98 per cent certain" the display will now go ahead.
CPL originally requested to hold the display on the MacEwan Student Centre south lawn in November. The club backed out after receiving a letter from the Students' Union and U of C administration that restricted the club from having their signs face outward, and requiring the display to be surrounded by snow-fencing and warning signs.
The letter was signed by SU vice-president operations and finance Joel Lockwood and U of C VP external relations Roman Cooney. The SU publicly pulled out of the negotiations in mid-February, after inviting the club to negotiate directly with the university.
Cooney said the U of C has never actually been opposed to having the signs oriented outwards.
"The SU has removed itself from the discussion," he said. "It's time to move forward and fix a date."
Lockwood wasn't so sure. He said that although the SU has stepped back and refused to sanction the GAP event, any final decision about holding the display on the south lawn would have to go through the SU Students' Legislative Council.
"[Administration] has to come back to us with proposal dates and stuff like that," said Lockwood. "Ultimately, I think the decision still rests with us."
Brown and Cooney both said their understanding was that the SU had given up decision power to the U of C.
The GAP posters--created by the U.S.-based Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform--have been displayed at campuses across North America resulting in violent confrontations and acts of vandalism.
Brown said the club will display 12 posters in all, including one that equates abortion with higher risks of breast cancer.