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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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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Protesters against Peterson gathered outside NGC

When organizers at the National Gallery of Canada invited Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor from the University of Toronto, to speak about creativity on March 9, they were met with backlash. Petitions and protests quickly popped up in response to the event on social media, and during his appearance at the gallery around 100 protesters expressed their disagreement outside with signs and a megaphone. Kate Forman, a Carleton University student who identifies as gender-non-conforming, helped organize the protest against Peterson’s talk. “Peterson’s said a lot of negative, discriminatory things about trans people,” Forman said. “I think having the National Gallery, which is a federally-funded institution, use funds to have him present on their grounds is . . .  I think […]

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National Gallery to host controversial prof

The National Gallery of Canada’s event “Exploring the Psychology of Creativity” has sparked controversy on social media over the appearance of Dr. Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto professor who has been in the headlines for his refusal to use students’ preferred pronouns. Petitions have been created, both opposing and in support, of Peterson’s appearance, on change.org. So far, 1,048 people have signed the opposing petition while 1,542 have signed the petition supporting the professor. The petition opposing his appearance stated Peterson “seeks to invalidate the experience of trans people” and that he “chooses to expressly contradict his students about their existence and being in the world.” The petition added that by hosting the professor, the National Gallery endorses “his […]

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