University Pro-Life Club Seeks Court Order Against Campus "Security Fee"

Corbett Hall, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Corbett Hall, University of AlbertaEdmonton

In February 2016, UAlberta’s Pro-Life student club filed a court application against the University of Alberta in UAlberta Pro-Life v University of Albertachallenging the $17,500 “security fee” the school demanded the club pay in order to set up a peaceful display on campus grounds. The mandatory payment, the Pro-Life club argues, unjustifiably infringes on their right to religious freedom. University of Alberta claimed that the cost was the amount to cover the wages of security guards and police, barricade the venue, and pay for the potential havoc that may arise due to the display.

Unable to pay the fee, the Pro-Life club was forced to cancel its event. In fact, in the same event held by the Pro-Life club in 2015, a student-led mob blockaded and obstructed the club’s display. University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS) did nothing to stop the blockade despite being notified in advance that a mob was being organized. In March of 2015, the club filed a formal complaint with UAPS against the mob organizers; in November of 2015, the UAPS decided that the University would neither prosecute or charge the students responsible for the blockade. The court application in this case also seeks a declaration that the UAPS’ decision is unreasonable. The hearing for this case is scheduled for June 8 and 9 in Edmonton.