Acadia University professor under fire for controversial tweets

Rick Mehta, a tenured psychology professor at Acadia University, is the subject of recent petition calling for his resignation. The petition follows comments Mehta directed towards Conservative Leader, Andrew Scheer, which defended Senator Lynn Beyak, who had recently been removed from the Conservative caucus for refusing to remove “racist” letters she posted on her website. “@AndrewScheer You claim to support free speech, yet you remove Senator Beyak from your caucus. Where is the evidence of racism? Are you saying that the Aboriginal people should have a protected statues and therefore can’t be criticized? Bad move re: race relations,” read the tweet by Mehta. The letters on Beyak’s website were in support of her position on the residential school system, which […]

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Opinion: Don’t attack critical thought

Last week, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) in Waterloo was lambasted for showing a video clip to her students that resulted in a very public debacle aimed at reprimanding her. The TA in question, Lindsay Shepherd, was screening a televised debate from The Agenda, a current affairs show on TVO, that included Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto professor known for his controversial stance against the use of non-gendered pronouns. In a three-on-one ‘tribunal,’ Shepherd’s supervisor, as well as another professor and university administrator essentially ganged up on Shepherd, claiming that she created a “toxic” and “problematic” environment that violated the school’s Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy. According to various media sources, they also tried to (falsely) […]

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Alt-rights? White supremacy in Canada and on campus

Graham Swaney explores how Canadian universities are balancing the right to freedom-of-speech in a world increasingly motivated by hate. Far-right nationalism and white supremacy have seen a massive global resurgence in recent years. While Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is perhaps the most notable manifestation of this trend, white supremacist activity and right-wing nationalism has also established footholds in many other Western nations. Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party won over a third of the votes cast in the 2017 French presidential elections, and just a few weeks ago, Germany’s far-right party Alternative for Germany took 13 per cent of the national vote which enabled them to enter the country’s parliament for the first time. […]

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Letter: Stifling free speech ends productive discussion

September means the start of the school year. It also means a host of kickoff events at universities across the country. Ryerson University was set to hold an academic event about free speech with contentious professor Jordan Peterson on Aug. 22, but cancelled it. According to the National Post, it was due to activists on Facebook threatening violent disruption and Ryerson claiming to lack the security personnel to deal with the protestors. The cancellation of this event does not come as a surprise. Peterson has been taking heat for his criticism of political correctness—in particular, his refusal to address students by their preferred pronouns. This has been happening since September 2016 when he released the first installment of a three-part […]

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Free speech on campus: an in-depth look

The topic of free speech on university campuses continues to provoke debate and criticism in the wake of recent on-campus incidents.  One incident saw Carleton University President Roseann Runte coming under scrutiny in January, after an email titled “A Reflection for 2017” was sent out to students to promote the principle of free speech. The email was sent following various protests on campus in the fall semester. The email appeared to call campus protesters “noisy persons” who “fail to recognize [that] by preventing their duly-elected representatives to carry out their mandate, they themselves are contravening the basic principle of a civil society.” Samiha Rayeda, the volunteer, outreach, and programming coordinator for Carleton’s Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), said the term […]

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