U of C may expel anti-abortion protesters

The University of Calgary is threatening to expel a group of students who refused to move a graphic anti-abortion display on campus.
Administrators at the University of Calgary had asked Campus Pro-Life to make their graphic billboards less visible. ((CBC))

The University of Calgary is threatening to expel a group of students who refused to move a graphic anti-abortion display on campus.

The eight students, who took part in a Campus Pro-Life display, received letters from the school earlier this month advising that they had violated the non-academic misconduct policy.

The group made headlines in November 2008 for displaying posters of aborted fetuses. It had refused university administrators' requests to make the posters — which compared abortion to the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda — less visible, and also ignored a letter threatening legal action.

Six students were charged with trespassing on campus, but those charges were later stayed.

The group put up the display again on April 8, and was asked by campus security to turn the graphic images inward, away from passersby. The students snubbed that request and refused to leave campus, according to the university's letter.

Their "failure to comply with the direction of a campus security officer or university official in legitimate pursuit of his/her duties" could result in sanctions ranging from fines or probation to suspension or expulsion.

"I was kind of like, well, this could be the end of university for me," said Cameron Wilson, 19, who is scheduled to appear at a university hearing on Friday, along with the seven other students.

Flanked by his supporters, Wilson was unapologetic about the anti-abortion display as he made a statement in front of media on Monday.

"Punish us however you wish. But our conviction shall not change and we shall not alter our actions based on intimidation," he said.

Added John Carpay, head of the Canadian Constitution Foundation which is representing the group: "It's not frequent in society that we see people who are actually willing to suffer and pay a price for standing up for what they believe. So for me, it's a real honour."