For posterity sakes, and to have this complaint and debate be accessible and transparent, below is my letter to Zack Moline, President of the University of Lethbridge Students Union on the issue of graphic images being displayed on the U of L campus this week.
Thanks Zack. I appreciate your response.
I am not concerned with the club being allowed to have a display, just the reason to why they did it without a partition and in more than one location.
My concern primarily stems not from an ideological perspective (though for the sake of openness I am a pro-choice believer) but because images of this nature can cause episodes of PTSD, as well as trauma to people who have experienced loss of children, miscarriages, and of course the termination of a pregnancy.
From a human perspective it seems negligent but from a legal perspective it seems irresponsible to open an organization to deal with a potential legal battle from someone who has to re-enter therapy because of images that were sanctioned by the ULSU. While the union may not have approved each and every image, by approving the right to set up such a display, the union is sanctioning the use of those images.
Past precedent has set up an expectation that graphic images (such as the ones used in the aforementioned club’s current display this week) are kept behind partitions so campus visitors have the opportunity to view the images or not view the images. That way, small children, students coming from conflict, victims of PTSD and others can easily walk past without fear of being accosted or triggering past issues.
With both the atrium and the bus loop being used for the display, there is virtually little way for students to get around campus without being accosted by said images.
As a current student and an alum, I do not want the ULSU to take a stance on abortion, pro or con. I simply expect an organization funded by students would consider the effect of their actions on all students – not just a small, albeit vocal, group.
Again, thank you for your time and your responses. I understand this is a difficult situation to wade into and past precedent has shown that all too quickly it can turn into a legal nightmare with both sides. I assume you have consulted your colleagues on their experience of this issue, especially the U of C SU.
The response I refer to is this:
Permission was issued from the President’s Office directly. Since the Pro-life club is one of our ratified clubs we allowed them to book the bus loop for their display yesterday.
As I know you understand, they have the right to freedom of expression.
If you’d like to make a complaint you can address it directly to me.
University of Lethbridge Students’ Union
I plan to send a similar letter to the President’s office inquiring about the change to allow the club to display the images in the open and not behind a partition such as done in previous years.