Tyranny of Student Authority

Blog, Education, Amanda Achtman

The Carleton University Students’ Union is currently holding its General Referenda 2012. The Writ of Referenda has seven questions, and questions four and seven  are a direct attack on the fundamental freedoms of conscience, religion, thought, belief, opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, and association:

4. Are you in favour of banning groups such as Lifeline, the Genocide Awareness Project, Campaign for Life Coalition and other organizations whose primary purpose is to use inaccurate information and violent images to discourage women from exploring all options in the event of pregnancy from the Carleton University campus?

7. Are you in favour of amending CUSA’s anti-discrimination on campus policy to include banning all groups that promote guns and gun violence?

All Carleton students pay a Student Association Fee of $107.41 for most programs according to the current fee schedule. Students pay this mandatory student union fee and then are prohibited from forming associations that contradict the beliefs of the student union.

It is ironic that the student union’s fourth referendum question aims at banning a host of student groups in order somehow to foster “exploring all options.”

Other clubs on the official Carleton Clubs List that might arguably be considered offensive include: Vaginas Against Violence, Communist Party of Canada, and Students Against Israeli Apartheid. But as far as I know, none of these clubs are under threat of being desanctioned.

Dissent in very specific forms is disallowed. Who will represent those disallowed? Carleton student politicians exhibit the worst inclinations in the large family of tyrannical tendencies: they will oppress their own members who are part of small groups for the sake of being popular with those who come in larger, vocal numbers.

For more information on the case for voluntary student unionism, I invite you to read this recently published study.