FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FORMER PRO-LIFE CLUB PRESIDENT SUES THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA FOR INFRINGING UPON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Victoria, BC (October 3 2013) – On September 26th, 2013, Cam Côté, representative and past president of the pro-life club at the University of Victoria (Youth Protecting Youth (YPY)), filed a constitutional lawsuit against the University of Victoria in the BC Supreme Court.
The lawsuit, which seeks to restore YPY’s freedom of speech and expression on its campus, is in response to a number of discriminatory actions the University of Victoria has taken against the club. This includes the university’s cancellation of a previously approved “Choice” Chain event, the suspension of the club’s outdoor booking privileges for a year, and threats to punish club members who participate in similar events in the future.
This “Choice” Chain event, which involves club members peacefully engaging students in dialogue while holding signs of either aborted fetuses or naturally developing pre-born humans, was approved by the University until the day before it was scheduled to occur. The University then reversed their initial decision and cancelled the event, citing the University of Victoria Student Society’s (UVSS) 2012 assertion that this event constituted harassment under their harassment policy.
“We were very disappointed when our university administration upheld the UVSS’s efforts to censor our message. We hope that this petition will ensure YPY’s right to freedom of speech and expression on campus,” says Côté, now graduated and working as an Activism Coordinator for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.
“A university cannot censor students when they deem their views to be unpopular and the promotion of these views to be potentially disconcerting to others. Freedom of expression is essential to a university, particularly when the issue at hand – abortion – is a matter of life and death for pre-born Canadians.”
The BC Civil Liberties Association has joined Cam Côté as a co-petitioner, and together they are represented by Craig Jones, Q.C., and Emily Unrau of Branch MacMaster LLP.
For further information contact:
Cam Côté (YPY Representative) 778 678 4275
Youth Protecting Youth