April 19, 2008
Censorship on campus...
Canadian Federation of Students Censors Students' Voices
Ontario wing of CFS passes a motion to ban student group
The Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association (OPCCA) has expressed disgust at a Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) decision to back student unions that smother the free expression of students. The Ontario wing of the CFS passed a motion supporting the banning of pro-life groups by student unions. OPCCA is calling on the CFS to reverse their motion.
"The Canadian Federation of Students has once again proved that they don't represent the diverse interests of students," said Holly Bacchus, OPCCA President. "Universities should promote a healthy dialogue on any topic, not shut it down. The Canadian Federation of Students should support that basic tenet of higher learning and reverse its decision to support student unions that muzzle their students."
The CFS motion follows a decision by both the student unions at Carleton and Lakehead Universities to ban pro-life groups on their campuses. Since then, the coordinator of the Abortion Rights Coalition issued the shocking statement that pro-life groups are comparable to "Neo-Nazi movements" and York University shut down a campus debate on abortion.
OPCCA believes that freedom of expression and healthy debate is an integral part of a university and college education. By curtailing not only students' freedom of expression, but also their freedom of assembly, the CFS is failing to adequately represent all students. They are also failing one of their Founding Principles, "to articulate the real desire of students to ... be accorded the rights of citizens in our society..."
OPCCA believes it is not the job of the CFS to act as an ideological compass for Ontario students and thinks it becomes extremely troublesome when students can be silenced based solely on the criteria that they do not conform to the beliefs of the CFS.
"When a top-down organization like the CFS stifles student voices, it's time to worry about the future of students' freedom on Ontario's campuses," said Bacchus. "One only has to wonder what student groups the CFS and their student unions will try to shut down next. The CFS must rescind their motion now and show support for the rights and freedoms of the students they claim to represent."