A pro-life group has won an appeal in Alberta’s highest court, against a University of Alberta security fee that the school had implemented following a controversial protest in 2015.
The decision comes after more than four years of back and forth court issues between the university and the UAlberta Pro-Life group.
The initial 2015 protest from Pro-Life saw a large display that featured images of fetuses put up in the university’s main quad, leading to a large counter-demonstration from other students and faculty.
Then in 2016, when UAlberta Pro-Life applied to hold another anti-abortion protest, the university said that the group would have to pay $17,500 for security fees.
Unable to pay this fee, the group was forced to cancel its planned protest.
Pro-Life then sought a judicial review of that fee, as well what it said was a lack of discipline from the university towards the counter protests, which Pro-Life said went against the University Code of Student Behavior.
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Both the initial court challenges were dismissed in 2017 when Justice Bonnie Bokenfohr ruled that UAlberta Pro-Life was treated fairly and the university was within its right to require the club to pay for security if it wanted to hold another protest.
On Monday Jan. 6, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled in favour of UAlberta Pro-Life in regards to the security costs issues.
In the decision, the court also ruled in favour of the university regarding the complaint around discipline.
A university spokesperson said in a statement Monday that “the University of Alberta will be reviewing the decision in detail and therefore reserves further comment at this time.”