Dec 16th, 2013
The student union at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C. passed a new resolution in October to ban any expression that might get in the way of students feeling “comfortable, safe and able to get involved in all aspects of the organisation[sic] free from intimidation or judgement[sic].”
The JCCF has written a legal warning letter to the student union executive to explain that this provision flies in the face of the right to freedom of expression. It is not legal for the student union to censor student expression on the basis of whether it makes every student feel “comfortable” as defined by the student union. Students have the legal right to hold their own opinions, free from restrictions and/or penalties if their opinions do not conform to those of the student union.
This new policy follows on the student union’s decision, in late 2012, to deny club status to Protectores Vitae (Protectors of Life) because of the club’s non-compliance with the student union’s official pro-choice policy. The student union changed its mind in December 2012, in response to the JCCF’s willingness to commence a court action to secure equal rights to free expression for Protectores Vitae, on par with all other campus clubs. If the Kwantlen Student Association attempts to use the new policy against any campus club, the JCCF will commence a court action to secure free expression rights on campus.