Saint Mary’s University is defending its decision to relocate a pro-life presentation that was disrupted on its Halifax campus last Thursday.
“The university remains committed to academic freedom, diversity of opinion, and supports open debate in a forum that does not put the personal safety and rights of our community at risk,” a news release on the university’s website said Monday.
“There is a balance that must be maintained among all of these.”
Jojo Ruba, who helped found a Calgary non-profit group called the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, visited the university Feb. 5 as part of his speaking tour.
His lecture, Echoes of the Holocaust, drew comparisons between abortion and the genocide of six million Jews during the Second World War.
A new pro-life group at the university invited Mr. Ruba and booked a room through the school’s chaplain. But demonstrators from the Coalition for Choice arrived just as he started speaking, drowning out his speech and blocking his visual presentation.
“Protesters were asked to stop disrupting the event, but after more than an hour and a half, the presentation was relocated to a nearby location,” the university’s news release said.
The university said it was reviewing the matter.
(At least the C-H has finally decided to share the fact that the lecture continued, rather than omitting it from the story as they did yesterday.)
And there you are – no matter how offensive, how wrong-minded or how misogynistic his opinions might be, he does have the right to offer them. Free speech means just that: the freedom to speak about what you want, when you want (I’m not going to launch into a discussion of hate speech right at this moment – that way lies madness). The university’s position, no matter how much we may dislike it, is completely defensible, and would likely have been made in a similar way if the positions were reversed. In fact, by letting him talk, and display just how ignorant and deluded he is, the university has done everyone a favor. Let the petard-hoisting begin!
Addendum: Originally missed this editorial from the same paper, which covers largely the same ground. I disagree somewhat with the assessment of the CCLA lawyer quoted – the basis for my opposition to pro-life groups is their desire to take rights away from women, and not to generously offer them ‘another choice’. I doubt that it’s just me…