Planned anti-abortion display causes controversy on University of Alberta campus

WATCH ABOVE: A pro-life organization put up posters showing images of abortions. Lisa Wolansky takes us to the campus to hear from both sides.

EDMONTON — An anti-abortion event at the University of Alberta is causing controversy on campus.

The university’s pro-life club, ‘Go Life‘, put up “a graphic abortion display” in the main quad Tuesday.

Some students have expressed it shouldn’t be allowed in the main quad, an area frequented by thousands of students on a daily basis.

“We’re really more concerned about the location and the timing of the display,” said Zoe Chaytors, who added the display is visible during Pride Week celebrations.

“We have no problem with the display being up, we’d just like for it to be in a tent or in a classroom so that people can choose whether or not they get to engage with that material.”

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Chaytors and several other students held a demonstration Tuesday to protest the display.

A group supporting pro-choice holds a demonstration at the University of Alberta, Monday, Mar., 3, 2015. Global News
A group supporting pro-choice holds a demonstration at the University of Alberta, Monday, Mar., 3, 2015. Lisa Wolansky, Global News


Those involved in the pro-life club say they welcome the debate.

“Students on the other side of the abortion debate have just as much rights as I do to express their opinion and their views,” said Kianna Owen, secretary of Go Life.

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“We encourage debate, we encourage discourse. We just hope that opposition to our display would be done in a respectful manner.”

University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera released a statement saying Go Life has followed the university policies and procedures in preparation for the display, and will be allowed to continue as planned.

“It is clear that there are passionate viewpoints on either side of the abortion debate. As Canadians, we are fortunate to live in a society that values democracy and protects our freedom of expression,” said Samarasekera. “As a place of higher learning, the university supports freedom of expression, including academic freedom, and we encourage our community to partake in a true exchange of ideas, and to do so in a respectful and civil manner.

Go Life is a registered student group on campus and, as such, has the same rights and privileges as other student groups. That includes access to the same spaces as any other student group.”

The display will appear in the main quad from 9 a.m. to 4 a.m on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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