Editor, the Gauntlet,
Last week the Campus Pro-Life club aroused controversy on campus with a large picture of an aborted fetus with "CHOICE" written above it. Obviously people on both sides feel strongly and not surprisingly the Students' Union received complaints about the display (15, we were told, although not all complaints were from students). Based on these complaints, the SU executive chose to censor the display.
Supposedly this was not done because of the actual message of the display. Instead the SU cited the "large size" of the poster which made it "graphically shocking." They insisted that only an 8Â½ x 11 picture would be appropriate for their 20-foot display case. This seems like a very poor rationalization. MacEwan Hall regularly hosts plenty of large graphic displays (for example, giant pictures of lesbians at Imaginus poster sales).
Further to its original decision, after the original offending content was covered up by a poster stating the reason why it was covered up, namely that the SU had so decreed, the SU further censor the censored display (this time an SU VP physically tore CPL's poster down and threw it on the floor). The SU again used its power to censor more bare facts, this time apparently to avoid being held accountable for their original decision. The SU is supposed to function as a democratic body which requires that its decisions can be freely publicized and criticized but the SU chose again to exercise their arbitrary, guideline-free executive power to censor and hide the truth. The SU has no policy on what it will censor.
The complaints the SU received are indicative of a desire to hide the reality of abortion. But it is not the SU's job to take sides on a divisive issue and certainly not by suppressing bare facts and undeniable truths. The values expressed by their initial and subsequent actions are the opposite of what a university should be about: a place where we seek to know the reality of what goes on around us, to face facts, not hide them, and where we become equipped to discuss issues in an intelligent, informed way.
The university is supposed to be a "pro-choice" institution, with the understanding that true choices cannot be made from a position of ignorance. Many people at the university are pro-choice in the traditional sense. They agree with the fundamental right to informed choice being promoted in the CPL display; unfortunately, not so our SU.