Students for Life at Ryerson Needs Your Help: A Personal Appeal
We are Carter Grant and Teresa Mervar, third and fourth year students at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.
We believe that the message of life is so important that we want to bring it to the Ryerson University community by forming a pro-life student group. This would benefit our campus in various ways such as offering support to students who face unplanned pregnancies, to inform the community of the pro-life message in a loving and compassionate way, and to give Ryerson students an opportunity to be a part of the pro-life movement. Having a student group on campus would give us access to various resources that would allow us to spread the pro-life message in a positive way and have an opportunity to bring the pro-life discussion to Ryerson. Having a pro-life student group at Ryerson is extremely important because abortion is something that greatly affects university students, yet only the pro-choice side is presented and promoted at Ryerson. We believe that it is important to have both sides available on such a life altering issue so that people can make truly informed decisions. We also believe in our right to free speech, so that we can stand up for the pre-born children even though this belief is counter cultural, especially on the Ryerson campus.
In the fall semester we came together to form a student group called Students For Life at Ryerson (SFLR) and applied for club status through the Ryerson Student Union (RSU). In order to be approved and gain club status, we needed a majority vote from Ryerson Student Groups Committee. Unfortunately this did not happen. Instead we got an email from a student group’s representative stating that we were denied club status because the union “opposes…groups, meetings, or events that promote misogynist views towards woman [sic] and ideologies that promote gender inequity, challenges women’s right [sic] to bodily autonomy, or justifies [sic] sexual assault”. They provided us no evidence on how our group promoted misogyny or how we justified sexual assault which left us confused and offended. It was never (and never will be) our intention to marginalize, discriminate or judge women and so for our student union to make such allegations against us proves their misunderstanding of our group. After launching an appeal, our group waited a full month before being given the opportunity to appeal the denial of our student club. As a result of our meeting with our student union we were given the opportunity to plead our case for club status one last time in front of our Board of Directors. After an hour long meeting of more scrutinizing questions we were denied club status yet again by a unanimous vote.
The pre-born children have no voice and rely us to protect their right to life. The Ryerson Student Union are attempting to silence our voice and discourage our effort to bring the pro-life message to our Ryerson Campus. But we refuse to be silenced and discouraged. We will use our voice to not only stand up for the voiceless, but to stand up for our right to freedom of speech on our university campus!
Legal action requires finances, and as two university students, there is not much we can do to contribute to the financial side of fighting for our rights. We need to raise $20,000 for various legal fees. Although this poses a great challenge, we refuse to let finances hold us back! We are aiming to reach out to pro-life individuals, groups, and communities, as well as individuals who support free speech, to help support us reach our financial goal.
It is challenging being a pro-life student and advocate, but it is even more challenging when our own student union will not allow us to express our right to free speech because we do not align with the status quo. Please consider donating so that you can help us stand up for our rights but more importantly the rights of the unborn.