Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The fight over free speech at universities comes down to the question of the purpose of higher-ed - CBC

by Angela Wright
Originally published: December 11, 2017
Publisher: CBC.ca

Free speech and censorship at universities seem to always be in the news. The most recent high-profile examples involve Dalhousie University, which backed away from a plan to bring student union vice-president Masuma Khan in front of a disciplinary committee for comments she made about "white fragility," and Wilfrid Laurier University, which issued an apology to graduate teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd over her treatment for airing a TVO clip in class.

In response, many lamented the apparent erosion of the "free exchange of ideas," which is supposed to be central to universities' mandates. But while it's tempting to see these incidents as the latest manifestations in the struggle between free speech and respecting the rights of marginalized communities, they are indicative of another serious crisis: a fight over the fundamental purpose of universities.