Monday, September 03, 2007

Capilano College Student Clubs and choice

An anti-choice students' group that was rejected for "club status" through the students' union at Capilano College in North Van is taking their beef to the BC Human Rights Tribunal:

"The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to hear the case of a Capilano College anti-abortion student group that accuses its student union of discrimination for denying it club status on campus.

Capilano College Heartbeat Club members say they are are opposed to abortion, primarily for religious reasons. Its president, Minerva Macapagal, accuses the Capilano Students Union of discriminating against it because of deeply-held beliefs."

Regardless of what kind of numbskulled beliefs a group has, everyone has a right to express their opinion. (Just don't expect a debate on this particular subject, because there isn't one -- that ended in 1988 and we won. Deal with it.) Just as the grownup anti-choice nitwits have a right to wheel around the highways and byways in a hopped-up old fetusmobile©, the junior nitwits have a right to form a fetus-fetishist club at school. But is the student union obliged to support them?

Short answer: No. The student union has a "mission statement" that defines it as pro-choice. They're obviously not obliged to support any group whose purpose runs counter to their own. If the student union had no such declaration, they might well be obliged to support the anti-choice dimbulbs; however, their identification as pro-choice covers their ass. As does one of their requirements for club mission statements:

"Nothing in the statement shall discriminate against any member of the Capilano Students' Union in any manner."

The promotion of an anti-choice agenda, if not overtly misogynist (which in my opinion it is), at the very least discriminates against women as it seeks to remove a right we currently enjoy. So even if the CSU didn't define itself as pro-choice, the anti-choice club wouldn't make the cut for club status just based on that requirement.

An interesting aspect of this case is that the junior fetus-fetishists are basing their complaint on "religious discrimination". That's a little out of step with the larger anti-choice crowd, which has been trying to shake off the (well-deserved) public perception that it's steeped and slathered in gooey religiosity. Not only that, but I can't see how they can prove religious discrimination when they aren't being kept from worship. Whether they like it or not, the college is a secular space.