A final decision of the lawsuit filed by anti-abortion group UTM Students for Life (UTMSFL) against the University of Toronto Mississauga Student’s Union is pending, following a court hearing held on January 24th.
“With regards to the recent proceedings, all I can say is that we had a good hearing before an excellent judge. He reserved his decision. We are hopeful for a result in our favour,” said Chad Hagel, president UTMSFL, in an email to The Medium.
The decision could take several months to be delivered according to UTMSU’s president Salma Fakhry. The lawsuit, filed in 2016, alleges discrimination by the UTMSU after their refusal to acknowledge UTMSFL as an established club and grant them funding.
UTMSU claimed that their decision was made on grounds that UTMSFL represented restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.
“There is no further update on the allegations, they remain the same as when the Students for Life launched the application,” said Fakhry.
Current UTMSU executives were not required to present themselves in court during current proceedings, with lawyers appearing on behalf of them instead. At the time the lawsuit was filed, the claim named former UTMSU executive Russel Adade as one of the defendants. Adade was the VP Campus Life for the 2015-2016 academic year. It was not specified if any other former executives are required to appear in court.
A similar lawsuit occurred between a pro-life group and the Ryerson Student Union in 2017 with the judge’s verdict in favour of the student union. The union had denied the campus’ pro-life group due to their belief that the group opposes a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and the judge ultimately ruled in favour of the union’s decision.
Despite having a denied club status, the Students for Life group continued to campaign on campus last academic year and engaged in conversations with students regarding their platform points.