U of T pro-lifers encounter discrimination from student union


Every year, thousands of students begin their university experiences at the University of Toronto with Frosh Week during the first week of September. Each student receives a frosh kit. Campus clubs are given the opportunity to participate in these kits by submitting their materials.

University of Toronto Students for Life is the pro-life club at U of T. It is officially recognized as a campus club and this year  decided to take advantage of being able to insert its materials into the frosh kits.

Members of the club prepared 6,500 brochures and “Did You Know?” cards. They were assured on numerous occasions by various staff members of the Students Administrative Council  that this would be allowed. UTSFL members dropped off the material on August 18 as per the SAC’s request. UTSFL also offered to help assemble the kits; however, when its members showed up on August 21, they received some surprising news: the SAC informed them their materials would not be included.

The initial reason given for the sudden reversal of approval was that the material needed to be approved by a group of SAC executive members. This was new, since UTSFL had at no earlier point been informed of any such policy. There has also yet to be a written policy brought forward to back up its statement.

LifeSite News contacted the SAC for comment and was informed that the reasoning behind the actions originated from the fact that the material was controversial. However, other clubs, such as the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Club, are allowed to have their information in frosh kits.

Regardless of the real reasons for the revocation of its approval, the SAC’s response was always inconsistent when it answered inquiries from UTSFL members, the media and the general community.

UTSFL was able to meet with Rick Telfer, SAC general manager, and Jen Hassum, SAC president, on August 25. At this point, the frosh kits were already distributed to colleges throughout the university. UTSFL was told it could go to each college to ask for approval. The only college that allowed UTSFL to insert its material was St. Michael’s College. All of the other colleges responded with a negative reply.

The actions of the SAC give cause for some questioning, since its mission claims “to serve and represent the full-time undergraduate students at the U of T.” General manager Tefler has been a longtime active member of the Canadian Federation of Students. The CFS is officially pro-abortion and with this mandate, has previously caused club status to be denied to pro-life student groups at other Canadian universities. Hassum was active in the club Students for Choice, a pro-abortion club founded to oppose the activities of Students for Life on the U of T campus for many years.

Although the obstacles presented to UTSFL may appear negative, the club’s members can point to some positive aspects of the recent events. Kathy Matusiak, president of UTSFL, remarked, “The support we have received from everyone has been amazing. It has encouraged and strengthened our commitment as students for life at U of T in our plans for the upcoming year, but also in the future of the pro-life movement at large.”

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