ALBERTA

U Of A Anti-Abortion Group Following Policy: President

03/02/2015 04:00 EST | Updated 05/02/2015 05:59 EDT
Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images
Pro-life anti-abortion activist protestors, Louisville, KY
EDMONTON - The president of the University of Alberta is aware of concerns over an upcoming anti-abortion display, but says the school supports freedom of expression.

In a statement posted online, Indira Samarasekera says Go-Life is a registered student group on campus that has followed university policies and procedures in preparation for their display.

Posters from Go-Life appeared around the campus in Edmonton last week with the heading, "Trigger Warning," that note it will be showing a graphic abortion display from a group called the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform.

The posters warn that anyone who doesn't want to see the images should avoid that area of campus on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A protest against the display is being organized on Facebook, which calls the Go-Life display "hate speech" that violates the university's Student Code of Conduct.

Samarasekera says any complaints will be investigated.

"It is clear that there are passionate viewpoints on either side of the abortion debate. As Canadians, we are fortunate to live in a society that values democracy and protects our freedom of expression," Samarasekera said in the statement.

"As a place of higher learning, the university supports freedom of expression, including academic freedom, and we encourage our community to partake in a true exchange of ideas, and to do so in a respectful and civil manner."

The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform says on its website that it has a display called "Genocide Awareness Project" which it says consists of billboards that "graphically compare the victims of abortion to victims of other atrocities, such as the Holocaust.

It says the display is typically shown at universities or colleges by campus anti-abortion groups.

Last June, students at the University of Calgary won a four-year court battle after being sanctioned by their school for refusing to turn images from the "Genocide Awareness Project" inward.

Seven students tried to appeal being found guilty of non-academic misconduct in 2010, but the university's board of governors refused to hold a hearing.

A judge ordered the board to hear the appeal, saying the university's original decision was unreasonable and lacking justification, and the board later quashed the charges of non-academic freedom and removed them from the students' files.