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!

Faith

Chris Pratt's church, while claiming to accept everyone, states in its doctrine of faith that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. (Photo: Chris Pratt/Instagram)

Celebrity megachurches need to clarify LGBTQ acceptance: pastor

by Emma Prestwich

Zoe Church, where actor Chris Pratt worships, may not truly "open their doors" to everyone, like he claims.

Promotional Image

Editorials

The United Church Observer's editor and publisher, Jocelyn Bell. (Photo: Lindsay Palmer)

'The Observer' will soon relaunch with a new name and design

by Jocelyn Bell

Our magazine will be going through some changes, but we see blue skies ahead

Promotional Image

Video

Meet beloved church cats Mable and Mouse

by Observer Staff

They're a fixture of Kirk United Church Centre in Edmonton.

Promotional Image

Society

February 2019

Marriage problems: Is the ancient tradition worth saving?

by Pieta Woolley

Bitterness and boredom seem to define many mid-life marriages, but we might not have to settle for apathy ever after

Ethics

February 2019

A Yukon artist and a Tlingit trapper create this stunning jewelry

by Amy van den Berg

The fur jewelry in Whitehorse boutique store V. Ægirsdóttir is creating a new possibility for future partnerships with the region's trappers

Columns

February 2019

Why white people need to stop asking, 'where are you from?'

by Mike Sholars

"...For all intents and purposes, Canada is the only home I really recognize or remember. But none of that matters if I look like I don’t belong, and that single question makes that abundantly clear every single time."

Promotional Image