Legal Advice Confirms Uni Group’s Discrimination Claim
Media Release: ProLife New Zealand
Date: 5 October 2017
Legal Advice Confirms University Group’s Claim of Discrimination
Prolife New Zealand welcomes news from Prolife Auckland that the threatened disaffiliation of their club has not proceeded. Legal advice to the AUSA confirmed Prolife New Zealand’s view that the disaffiliation was probably illegal.
The AUSA’s lawyers found the question could be considered biased or leading, making the question procedurally improper and in breach of the spirit of the AUSA constitution.
“The whole process baffled me a little, to be honest” says PLNZ Spokesperson, Mary-Anne Evers. “An unsubstantiated, anonymous question was submitted to be included in the AUSA referendum shortly before voting opened. The club had very little time to respond to it, or to engage students in real discussion on the matter. Then when the results came out they were “provisional” because they weren’t sure about whether they were allowed to do what they were doing. It just didn’t seem like due process.”
By following the legal advice, AUSA has put themselves more in line with Students’ Associations across the country. Students’ Associations at Massey University in Palmerston North, The University of Canterbury and The University of Otago recognize the value of open, robust debate about contentions decisions and support the Prolife Clubs based there.
“They may not agree with the views that our clubs hold, but at least they recognize our right to free speech, and don’t try and suppress views that they disagree with.”
Evers hopes that the continued presence of Prolife Auckland at the Auckland University will “keep the conversation happening”. She notes that “women on both sides of the debate have a lot in common. We both see difficult situations that women face, including unwanted pregnancy, difficult pregnancies, or gender discrimination (often tied to motherhood or potential motherhood). It’s important that we have an open and rational discussion about how to respond to these issues”.
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