Students discuss a controversial anti-abortion display at the University of Calgary. ((Erin Collins/CBC))

University of Calgary officials say they won't kick an anti-abortion group behind a controversial poster display off campus, but have asked police to investigate whether the group has broken any laws.

The university also put up signs warning students and staff about the University of Calgary Campus Pro-Life Club's "extremely graphic" poster display, which the group put on display Wednesday morning outside MacEwan Student Centre.

The officials' signs said the group didn't have the university's "permission or endorsement."

The also said, "The university is now taking appropriate legal action."

A statement released Wednesday morning by the university says it "has asked Calgary Police Service, at its discretion, to issue summonses to the individuals ignoring the legal notice of trespass, or take other appropriate steps to enforce the directive."

The university won't be seeking "to remove the group or its signs," according to the statement. 


Esmeralda Nadeau-Jasso was among those protesting a display by a University of Calgary anti-abortion group. ((Erin Collins/CBC))

"This action would elevate the risk of confrontation and give the organization the publicity it is seeking."

Leah Hallman, president of the anti-abortion group, told CBC News she was worried about being arrested or expelled.

"I don't want to be arrested, nobody else in our club wants to be arrested. We want to be here to speak to people about abortion, to change hearts and to change minds."

A handful of pro-choice supporters, dressed as clowns, were also on hand Wednesday with their own signs diverting people away from the display. Among them was Cassidy Freeman who said she objects to the group comparing abortion to genocide.

"Abortion is individually carried out. It is completely legalized and there is no reason it should be considered genocide."

The anti-abortion group's posters show aborted fetuses and compare abortion to the Holocaust, the Ku Klux Klan and the genocide in Rwanda.

Earlier this year, university administrators asked the group, which has about 30 members, to make the posters less visible, citing safety concerns. But when members refused to comply, the school issued a letter last month threatening legal action against group members if they bring the displays on campus.

University of Calgary Campus Pro-Life has put up the Genocide Awareness Project displays five times since 2005, sometimes attracting counter-protests.