It's the Gunfight at the Auckland University quadrangle today as the Auckland University Students Assn (AUSA) attempts to disaffiliate ProLife Auckland.
We've already blogged a couple of times on this, so our thoughts are public. We believe that it is totally inappropriate for the AUSA to be attempting to shut down a group with whom it does not agree.
ProLife Auckland has put out the following statement:
Removal of Student Club at Auckland University Threatens Free Speech
Auckland University club ProLife Auckland is being kicked off campus in a move that threatens freedom of expression at the University.
ProLife Auckland, a club with a pro-life philosophy, will be potentially banned from Auckland University by the Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) at a Special General Meeting this Wednesday, after handing out pamphlets advocating that women should have all the available health facts they deserve in order to make a truly informed decision in a difficult pregnancy situation.
“This meeting is a direct threat to freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas at the University of Auckland,” ProLife Auckland president Amy Blowers says. “University is about discussing diverse opinions in an open and inclusive atmosphere. Banning a club for handing out pamphlets that simply advocate a woman’s right to essential health information is discriminatory and flies in the face of everything we value about university culture.
“This meeting sets an alarming precedent - what club is going to be targeted next for simply expressing their beliefs and opinions? University should be a place where people are free to voice their ideas and opinions without being censored or discriminated against.”
“We urge all University of Auckland students who value their academic freedoms and who support freedom of speech for themselves and for others, to come to the meeting on the 18th of July and vote down this unjust and discriminatory motion.”
The meeting takes place at 1:00pm on Wednesday 18th July, at the AUSA Quad. More information can be found at the campaign website, www.freespeechnz.org.
We hope that a good number of students turns up today to send a message to the AUSA that tolerance of all viewpoints should be the cornerstone of everything that the AUSA does.
To shut down a club simply because the AUSA executive disagrees with the worldview of that club is an affront to the notion of free speech and open debate. Surely, that is what universities ought to be promoting, not stifling.
Disclaimer: We have no affiliation whatsoever with Prolife Auckland. Nor are we current or past members or supporters of any pro-life or anti-abortion group. Our views on abortion are personal; it's a very personal issue.