Friday, January 04, 2019

Ontario: Campus free speech policy a necessity

Premier Doug Ford’s new policy to ensure free speech on university and college campuses — which he ran on in last year’s election — may have unintended consequences.

Any decision to revoke public funding from such institutions, or student groups, if they do not practice the free speech they claim to value will be controversial.

But the policy is necessary because we are passed the point where there’s any reasonable expectation taxpayer-funded universities and colleges will counter, on their own, the most intolerant aspects of so-called “progressive” ideology, promoted by activist professors and student groups, that are increasingly undermining students’ right to free expression.

This new policy came into effect across Ontario Jan. 1, based on the University of Chicago Statement on Principles of Free Expression, including:

(1) Universities and colleges should be places for open discussion and free inquiry.

(2) They should not attempt to shield students from ideas they disagree with or find offensive.

(3) While members of the university/college are free to criticize views expressed on campus, they cannot interfere with the freedom of others to express their views.

(4) Speech violating the law is not allowed.

As the outrageous Lindsay Shepherd case at Wilfrid Laurier University illustrated, students now face censure by professors and university bureaucrats, even for encouraging a balanced debate about controversial issues like the use of gender-neutral pronouns, which is what universities are supposed to do.

Students across Ontario have reported they self-censor class assignments to conform to the political perspectives of their professors, out of fear of getting low marks and being ostracized for holding views deemed questionable.

Universities and colleges, intended to teach students how to be critical thinkers, have done little to discourage the radicalization of their campuses, and have even been complicit by charging student groups excessive security fees to discourage controversial speakers from appearing.

At the same time, many have permitted hate to take root on campus by giving free rein to the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement — condemned by the Ontario legislature and the Parliament of Canada for demonizing and delegitimizing the world’s only Jewish state, Israel.

Enough is enough. The Ford government has taken a necessary step to protect free speech on campus.



Anonymous said...

The Ford government has taken a necessary step to protect free speech on campus.

Long overdue !

Anonymous said...

The basic problem though is that they've already passed laws to make lots of speech illegal so the last line of this "new" policy undermines it to an extreme degree.

Dean said...

A good step forward. Let's hope it works.

Bird of Paradise said...

Make the whole campus Free Speech Zone and if the spoiled little pampered snowflakes dont like it then they can just go and Soak Their Heads