{mosimage}TORONTO - Dr. Richard Alway has graced the buildings of the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto for almost half a century — first as a philosophy student and later in various administrative roles. As he prepares to retire June 30 from 18 years as president of the college, Alway has said that he will continue to serve the school in some capacity because it has become such a big part of his life.

“The supportive context provided by the religious identity of the university and the presence of the priests and sisters was just very positive for me,” he said. “It obviously worked because I’ve hardly left since.”

Campus pro-life ban curbs free speech

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A student government decision to ban support for anti-choice clubs on campus at Toronto’s York University has left many Catholic and pro-life groups fearing they will be shut out of campus life.

Regis honours papal spokesperson

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Communication in the Catholic milieu is about bringing people together in friendship, says the newest Doctor of Divinity from Regis College.

York U. student council taken to task for lack of tolerance

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TORONTO - A York University campus group has launched a formal complaint to the school about the York Federation of Students (YFS), which denied the group space to hold a debate on abortion in March.

In its complaint, under the York University Student Code of Ethics, the Students for Bioethical Awareness (SBA) also address its concern with the motion passed by the Canadian Federation of Students that promised support for any member union that would like to deny resources or space to pro-life student groups.

A spokesman for the SBA, which is not explicitly a pro-life group, said the York federation should not have had the right to prevent the debate from happening in the student centre. The SBA oraganizes debates and discussions on a variety of topics related to bioethics.

Although the university later gave the group an alternate space on campus for the debate, the SBA contends that having to go to a higher power was deplorable.

“I hope that the YFS and Gilary Massa will practise what they preach about with regards to tolerance because they don’t seem tolerant,” said the spokesman. “We are just an educational group.”

In June, the federation unanimously voted to to deny resources and funding to student clubs or individuals “whose primary or sole purpose is anti-choice activity.”

Massa, vice president of the YFS, told The Catholic Register at that time the decision would not affect any club’s ability, including the SBA, to apply for and gain club status. She said the debate was cancelled because it was offensive to many women, which followed the school government’s mandate to work on an “anti-oppressive framework” and on serving minority communities.

However, the SBA is angry that students are “forced to support an organization that (we) personally don’t support.” Students are automatically charged $7.20 on top of their tuition each year by the CFS.

Theresa Matters, executive director of National Campus Life Network, said the administration needs to realize how negatively the CFS’s decisions affect campuses.

The great Catholic leadership search

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{mosimage}TORONTO - There’s a job opening at the University of St. Michael’s College. The college’s board of governors has tried to replace retired president Richard Alway before, but this time he’s really gone and the governors don’t have the option of extending Alway one more time.

There’s a similar story brewing at Ottawa’s bilingual Saint Paul University, where attempts to replace rector Fr. Dale Schlitt have foundered, again.

Eucharistic procession a first at SFU

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{mosimage}BURNABY, B.C. - Students, faculty, staff and visitors to Simon Fraser University (SFU) braved the light rain on a chilly Oct. 16 morning to make history for the university and the archdiocese of Vancouver.

Marking the centennial of the archdiocese, Archbishop Raymond Roussin made his first visit to the Burnaby campus to lead the very first eucharistic procession from the interfaith centre to the hub of the campus in the Academic Quadrangle. Singing hymns throughout the procession, the elaborate entourage included a Knights of Columbus colour guard, several altar servers with incense and candles and more than 80 Catholics eager to give witness to the faith.

Theology matters

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Theology students have an important role to play in a society that continues to advocate relativism, Professor Edward J. Monahan told graduating students from the University of St. Michael’s College at its Nov. 8 convocation.

Monahan  and two other professors — William J. Smyth and Janine Langan — were awarded with honorary doctorates, the Doctor of Sacred Letters.

Calgary Pro-life defies university

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{mosimage}CALGARY - Despite being threatened with arrest, suspension and even expulsion by school officials, members of Campus Pro-life at the University of Calgary erected the controversial Genocide Awareness Project display outside the university on Nov. 26 and 27.  

The university’s stance against the controversial display was that the GAP display “would likely trigger acts of violence” and that by refusing to comply with the university, the pro-life group was trespassing on private property, said lawyer Paul Beke in a letter to CPL. The GAP campaign shows graphic images of the results of abortion, as well as pictures of the development of a fetus.

At a Nov. 26 press conference, Leah Hallman, president of CPL, said: “Arrest us, charge us, expel us, do what you want with these bodies of ours, but for every pro-lifer who suffers for the cause, perhaps, just perhaps, another life will be born into this world.”

Campus pro-life battles are about free speech

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Tensions on Canadian university campuses have intensified this year as pro-life clubs continued fighting for status while others were denied funding.

Yet, while only half a dozen of the 40 or more pro-life clubs on campuses across Canada have butted heads with their student unions, many are worried that the silencing of pro-life speech has expanded to a threat against freedom of speech in general.

Confronting evil at St. Jerome's

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{mosimage}Dr. Evil has a secret, and he’s itching to tell.

For eight years, Prof. David Seljak has been teaching one of the most popular courses at St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo . The course is often called Evil 101 . Ever since late in the summer of 2000 when Seljak covered campus lamp posts and bulletin boards with posters advertising “Evil” in 240 point Arial Bold type, the religious studies professor has been able to attract as many as 1,000 students a year to his course. He often has to turn students away because he simply can’t fit any more into the lecture hall.

St. Jerome's faculty sign union cards

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{mosimage}Twenty of 31 full-time faculty at St. Jerome’s University have signed union cards and expect to form a legal bargaining unit with a secret ballot vote before the end of March.

St. Jerome’s president Fr. David Perrin would not comment on whether the formation of a union would be good or bad for the university.

“This is a labour relations issue. I can’t comment,” he said.