UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Sidebar: Free speech flashpoints

By Justin Dallaire


Universities across North America are seeing an upswing in confrontations between ideologically opposed groups over the question of who should be permitted to speak on campus. A recent sampling:


August 2017: Several hundred torch-bearing white supremacists marched on the University of Virginia’s campus shouting racist and anti-immigration slogans. Clashes with counterprotesters resulted in multiple injuries, including the death of a 32-year-old woman, who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd. An Ohio man, who espoused Nazi ideology, was charged with second-degree murder.

July 2017: In defence of free speech, North Carolina enacts a bill that imposes penalties on students who disrupt speakers. Similar legislation is being considered in Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia and California.

April 2017: A speech by conservative commentator Ann Coulter is cancelled at the University of California, Berkeley, amid security concerns. The next day, free speech and anti-hate speech demonstrators gather amid heavy police presence.

March 2017: At the Brantford, Ont., campus of Wilfrid Laurier University, an address by lawyer Danielle Robitaille is cancelled due to safety concerns. Robitaille was part of the legal team that successfully defended CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi against sexual assault charges.

March 2017: An event featuring controversial University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson is interrupted at McMaster University in Hamilton by protesters carrying air horns and cowbells. Peterson is forced to move outside to lecture amid protests.

February 2017:
Protests erupt at UC Berkeley ahead of a planned appearance by right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, causing $100,000 in damage to the campus.



Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

Outrage is the new normal

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Profiles

October 2017

Fall from grace

by Justin Dallaire

Don Hume was a United Church minister nearing retirement. Then he tried crack cocaine.

Faith

September 2017

Yearning

by Jane Dawson

Restless longing is at the core of the human condition, urging us onward through life. What happens when it veers off course?

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Promotional Image