Twelve months ago, the Brandon University Student Union (BUSU) told Catherine Dubois that her pro-life group would not be welcome on campus, because, according to BUSU, the issue of abortion was already being addressed by the women’s collective.
BUSU wanted to prevent “divisions” on campus. But BUSU’s treatment of this pro-life student group divided the student body between those whose views BUSU condoned and those whose views were considered unpopular.
In January of 2013, Catherine Dubois and the other students formally applied for club status. BUSU denied this request. For the next three months, Catherine and the other students got the “run-around” from BUSU, and were subjected to a never-ending list of questions and demands. BUSU insisted that if the proposed club was officially registered, it would need to comply with restrictions not placed on other campus group: no handing out materials such as pamphlets etc; no graphic images; no being present in the common areas of campus; and no recruiting at club day.
By the end of the school term in April, BUSU had still not granted the club its official status. Further, BUSU hinted that it would continue with this discrimination and censorship in the upcoming 2013-14 school year.
The Justice Centre helped Catherine and the Students for Life behind the scenes, providing advice on dealing with BUSU. On April 30, the JCCF sent a strongly-worded, five-page legal warning letter to BUSU, indicating that continued discrimination against Students for Life would result in a Court application against BUSU. The Justice Centre’s letter explained how and why Students for Life are legally entitled to form a campus club on par with all other campus clubs, regardless of the students’ opinions or beliefs.