SFU Free Speech

Is it the job of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) to decide which student clubs are endorsed, based on adherence to a specific viewpoint? Or is it their job to represent and support the student body as a whole, including those students who hold different opinions from them? 


The SFSS has just revoked club status and funding from SFU Lifeline, a group of pro-life students whose goal is to engage in respectful, thoughtful, and inclusive conversations on the issue of abortion in Canada today. We invite students of all viewpoints - pro-choice, pro-life, and everything in between - to gather together for discussion groups, where they can express their differing views and hash out ideas together in a safe environment of mutual respect and dialogue.

Contact info of club: sfulifeline@gmail.com

We, the undersigned students of Simon Fraser University, draw the attention of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) to the following:

Whereas, in the SFSS Constitution, the stated purpose of the Society is:

(a) To represent and advocate for the interests of undergraduate students at Simon Fraser University.

(b) To coordinate and promote all undergraduate student activities, of, by, and for the undergraduate students of Simon Fraser University.

(c) To promote, among other goals democratically determined by the Society, the principles of public, universally accessible, high quality post-secondary education, and of meaningful undergraduate student participation in all aspects of University governance.

(d) To facilitate collective action by undergraduate students at Simon Fraser University, within the Province of British Columbia, and elsewhere in support of these principles.

(e) To acquire or hold any lands, buildings, facilities or other assets for the use or benefit of the Society or the undergraduate students of Simon Fraser University;

Whereas,  the stated core values of the SFSS are:

(a) Inclusivity 

(b) Integrity 

(c) Empowerment

(d) Advocacy

(e) Community;

Whereas, the new SFSS Issues Policy revokes club status and funding from student club SFU Lifeline, on the basis of their pro-life views;

Whereas, by (3) the SFSS contravenes against:

(a) By refusing to represent and advocate for students whose views and convictions differ from their own

(b) By refusing to represent SFU Lifeline’s activities, which are organized by and for SFU undergraduate students

(c) By failing to support “the frank discussion of controversial ideas”, stated in (2.2) of SFU’s Human Rights policy to be integral to Academic Freedom and students’ intellectual growth

(d) By failing to support the collective action of students whose views and convictions differ from their own

(e) By refusing to give equal access to SFSS spaces, resources, and funding to SFU Lifeline

(f) By directly excluding students whose views and convictions differ from their own, and fostering a campus-wide mentality of hostility towards such students 

(g) By failing to show integrity in upholding  their own constitution and core values

(h) By failing to empower students whose views and convictions differ from their own, in withholding the funds and resources these students require to carry out work they believe in and are passionate about 

(i) By failing to represent students who advocate for causes they are passionate about, if such causes do not directly coincide with the SFSS’ own views. By hindering any such advocacy, through the withdrawal of funds and resources 

(j) By fostering an atmosphere of divisiveness and hostility in the SFU community, through modeling lack of tolerance towards people with different views;

Therefore, we, the undersigned petitioners, call upon the Simon Fraser Student Society to:

  1. to represent all students on campus, regardless of their opinion on any topic;
  2. to rescind the Issues Policy;
  3. to transparently offer ‘banned clubs’ a clear mechanism of appeal;
  4. to aid in procedural reform to make it possible for students to express opinion on campus if denied status from the SFSS, free of cost and penalty.

 

Should the SFSS refuse to comply by 1–4, we wish the SFSS to be aware that this issue will be taken to the Administration for further action.

 

(Your contact information will be inputted into the SFU Lifeline, National Campus Life Network, and RightNow HQ Canada databases)

 

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