Laurier Freethought Alliance to receive full Campus Clubs recognition by week’s end

After a firestorm of freethought blogging, a barrage of angry emails, a stirred up Wilfrid Laurier University Student Union (WLUSU) executive board and university administration, and the clarification of some miscommunications between the Laurier Freethought Alliance (LFA) and the WLUSU, the WLUSU has agreed to grant the LFA campus club status pending the addition of statements to the LFA club description indicating that the club will be tolerant and inclusive of all groups on campus. Recall that late last week the LFA application for club status had been denied (though with invitation for application modification and resubmission). Congratulations to Tyler Handley, Anatoly Venovcev, and the LFA for becoming the first recognized freethought/nontheist student group at WLU!

Last Friday when the big hub-bub started I predicted that by the middle of this week ‘Toly and Ty would be famous (within reason, of course). This indeed has turned out to be the case. Over the past few days a substantial number of hits to this blog have come from people searching “Tyler Handley”, “Anatoly Venovcev”, “Laurier Freethought Alliance”, “Laurier atheist club denied”, and the like. I can only assume that the same is true for most or all of the other blogs that posted on this story. And as presumably most of us figured would happen, the cyber-rumble spread to the WLU campus. Check out the current issue of the university’s online newspaper, CordWeekly, to get a campus perspective of this tangled affair.

7 Responses to “Laurier Freethought Alliance to receive full Campus Clubs recognition by week’s end”
  1. Colin says:

    I suppose the several Pro-life clubs that have been denied status will now be accepted by these newly tolerant University student unions.

  2. ronbrown says:

    I’m not familiar with the university politics of pro-life clubs. Though I am a bit familiar with some of these groups’ attempts to draw ridiculous parallels to the holocaust.

  3. Colin says:

    Several pro-life clubs have been denied status for equally silly reasons as the club at Laurier.

  4. ronbrown says:

    Colin: For the record, my alma mater, the university of toronto, has a pro-life student group (U of T Students for Life), as does Wilfrid Laurier University, as I was just informed by Anatoly of the LFA.

  5. autumnrhythm says:

    I think that what the LFA’s acceptance has said is that unless you’re harming someone else, and you serve an actual purpose, and can include everyone in your events, you should be recognized. This goes for the pro-lifers as well, yes. But I for one don’t know the situation surrounding that, and until proved otherwise I would assume the campus clubs dept. has good reason.

  6. ronbrown says:


    As for pro-lifers. Firstly, I think that there is no automatic reason why they should get to have a club. While I do not agree with their stance, I have no problem with them organizing and arguing for their position.

    I would also assume that they have good reason for not allowing them in the cases where they haven’t. Given the risk of discriminating and that anti-abortionism is not ridiculously uncommon, I seems that there probably would be good reason in such cases of denial. However, to rebut myself, I point out that campuses tend to be more liberal and so anti-abortionism is surely lower on most campuses than in the general population. However, university students, I would imagine, also tend to place a relatively high premium on free speech.

    I’m not saying that anti-abortion groups have never been turned down for inappropriate reasons, they may very well have been, but I figure that in at least most cases there have been good reasons for it. And given that many of these groups have resorted to extreme tactics like comparing abortion to the holocaust, saying that abortionists are fullblown murderers on par with a person who stabs another person on the street, and perhaps even invoking religion to castigate abortionists (e.g., saying their evil sinners, that the ultimate moral authority hates them and will burn them for all eternity, etc.), it’s not hard to figure that there might have been good reason.
    Of course this is all open for discussion.

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