Kwantlen Student Association backs down, approves pro-life club
VANCOUVER – Following threats of litigation and appeals from religious freedom groups, the Kwantlen Student Association has decided to grant a pro-life group club status at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
The move comes days after the pro-life group announced its intentions to sue the KSA for initially denying their group club status.
For Oliver Capko, the student behind the pro-life group, the decision is a victory.
“I’m relieved. I’ve been trying to get this club going for the whole semester and it’s nice to see that this is going to finally be a reality,” he said. “I’m grateful.”
According to Christopher Girodat, director of student services and executive chair for the KSA, the club was initially denied status as it did not align with the views of the KSA, which has taken a pro-choice stance on the abortion issue.
Any clubs recognized as such by the KSA, said Girodat, become subsidiaries of the student organization and thus, should reflect the views of the KSA itself.
When asked what had changed and why the board decided to reverse the decision, Girodat did not flat-out say it was as a result of Capko threatening legal action.
“I wouldn’t say there was pressure,” said Girodat.
As a club, Girodat said the group will have to follow KSA club guidelines, such as allowing any student to join and being run in a democratic fashion.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a very healthy dialogue about a woman’s right to choose on our campus,” said Girodat. “I know we have a couple of campus groups that will very enthusiastically engage with in that conversation.”
As for the KSA’s stance on the issue of abortion, while clubs are considered subsidiaries of the student association, Girodat said the KSA remains a pro-choice organization.
“That position certainly doesn’t change in light of this decision,” he said. “There was no move for that to happen.”
Capko said he intends to get the club up and running starting next semester and is looking forward to engaging students about the issue.
“As far as we’re concerned we got our free speech,” he said. “It’s not like we want to sue them, it was just necessary to get our free speech heard.
“I’m glad that it’s over.”
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