By Cana Donovan
I didn’t apply to university because I wanted to hear things I already knew. I applied because I knew I had a lot to learn. I applied because I knew a university campus was a place where my views and opinions would be challenged and examined. And they have been. I am astonished by students on this campus who can’t bear to have their ideas challenged. Shouldn’t new, or different ideas be approached with an open mind, rather than silenced? As a pro-lifer, I am excited to welcome a scholarly debate about abortion on UVic’s campus. All the activism that Youth Protecting Youth does is aimed at creating open dialogue about an issue that often leaves a trail of pain in its wake. Our wish is that students are encouraged to talk about something that is usually hidden from view, despite its relevance. I’m always happy to have a respectful conversation with those whom I disagree with. I don’t worry that someone will have the chance to lay out the pro-choice ideology, and I do not see Dr. Kluge’s generous gift of his time to engage in debate as a threat to my worldview.
There’s been an impressive number of level-headed students who recognize that debate should be welcomed at a university campus, who ultimately wish to learn, with an open mind and heart. Sadly, these students tend to get overrun by those who do see a balanced representation of both sides as a threat. If a person is entirely secure in their personal ideology, then a respectful conversation should pose no problem to them. In fact, allowing the other side time to speak can do nothing but reveal the flaws in their reasoning. When people are so desperate to hinder pro-lifers from speaking at all, it reveals an inner insecurity: that, if allowed to speak, the pro-life position may actually hold water. It’s the equivalent of two children fighting and when one child realizes they’re losing the argument, they slap their hands over their ears and shout “La-la-la, I can’t hear you! Only in this case, the “children” are university students, adults, bearing angry signs, and with words a lot more vicious than “la-la-la.” It took less than one day of advertising for the debate before our club members were threatened with lynching, which was somehow put forth as the action of the progressive and the tolerant.
A university should be a place where a wide range of issues can be debated. The event that will be held November 14th seeks to foster an intelligent, informed, and open campus-wide debate. Children may throw as many tantrums as they like, in the end, there’s no space for them on a university campus.