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Will Ford’s free speech policy make Ryerson flinch?
Rye has no plans to change its free speech policy despite Ford announcement

By Emerald Bensadoun You get free expression because the students to ensure students’ voices
and Maggie Macintosh community’s committed to it,” he are heard.
said. Sofo attended a late summer
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s recent The Higher Education Qual- barbecue hosted by the premier
campus free speech announcement ity Council of Ontario (HEQCO) where Ford spoke about the impor-
won’t make much of a difference at is a government research agency tance of allowing PC youth a space
Ryerson University, experts say. that currently works to improve to speak and congregate openly on
During a press conference two accountability on college and campuses across Ontario—some-
weeks ago, the provincial govern- university campuses. Starting next thing the student politician said
ment demanded Ryerson, along fall, universities will have to report conservative students already do at
with every other publicly-funded to HEQCO with an annual report Ryerson without issue.
university and college in Ontario, about the status of free speech on However, Marshall Dar-
defend controversial speakers and their campus. The province has byshire, director of membership
student groups on campus by creat- the power to respond with reduc- for the Ryerson Campus Conser- Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a new free speech policy on university and
ing free speech policies—or face op- tions to a school’s operating grant vatives, was quick to point out college campuses | ILLUSTRATION: ALANNA RIZZA
erational funding cuts. funding if they don’t comply. the conference with headliner
The policy was announced Aug. Provincial operating grants are is- Peterson was cancelled last
g involve
30, giving Ontario campuses four sued to publicly-assisted universities summer and the student con-
months to develop and publicly post and colleges of applied arts and tech- servative group event hosting
in g e t t in
their own free speech policies that nology by the Ministry of Advanced founder of the alt-right web- Interested tudents' Union?
S nt rights?
with your
meet a minimum standard laid out Education and Skills Develop- site Rebel Media Ezra Levant, was
by the government. ment. Grants for basic operations, disrupted by protestors.
dvocate for stude
The new policies must protect enrollment, bilingual programs,
Want to a

free speech and also ensure hate Aboriginal education, students
“It’s important for
speech and discrimination are with disabilities, first generation
us to give room for

banned on campus. students, health human resource

people to express

Ryerson administration was al- programs and special purpose

ready in the midst of finalizing a grants are among those the province their views, but also
new free speech policy when Ford’s offers post-secondary institutions, that has to be done
surprise announcement was made. according to the Government of
in a very respectful
The university decided to review Ontario website.
the university’s current free speech The announcement isn’t about
A re O p e n
statement, which was published in free speech, but rather party politics
ination s
2010, after Ryerson cancelled an
August 2017 panel discussion. The
and “Ford playing to his base,” Turk
said. “What it’s really about is part
Darbyshire said he didn’t allow
reporters from The Eye to enter the Nom
panel featured controversial Uni- of his right [wing] attack on liberal event with Levant because they were
s Directors
versity of Toronto professor Jordan values and liberal institutions. It’s late. But at the time, he told them it of
Peterson, known for criticizing gen- part of his anti-intellectual, anti- was “because I don’t like you.” e n ta ti v e s - Board
der-neutral pronouns, and neo-Nazi elite strategy.” While the conservative student Faculty R of Arts Director agement
lty n
Faith Goldy. Ryerson cancelled the The Ontario provincial gov- applauded Ford’s new policy, he • 1 Facu gers School of Ma
event amid backlash from staff and ernment did not respond to a re- said he doubts attitudes surround- • 1 Ted R
students, citing safety concerns. quest for comment in time for ing anti-choice protestors on tative
James Turk, the director of publication. campus and groups like the Men’s s t Ye a r Represen
F ir e
Ryerson’s Centre for Free Ex- No stranger to the political Issues Awareness Group, which
e n ta ti v e Committe
Graduate erson
pression who helped rework the arena, Chang School Dean Marie was denied club status by the RSU
p nce
• 1 Chair Chairperson Fina nt Life
university’s statement on free Bountrogianni said a policy that and lost a lawsuit over the case,
speech over the summer, told would defund Ontario universi- will change. ty e
The Eye the updated statement, ties and colleges would be “a very Echoing the university’s current • 1 Depu Chairperson Stud
u ty
which has yet to be approved difficult policy to implement.” free speech statement, which states • 1 Dep
by the Senate, will meet Ford’s “I don’t mind the policy but link- Ryerson “embraces unequivocally
g e s a r e available
requirements as is. ing it to funding is something that the free exchange of ideas and the
on pack a
I can tell you from experience, ideal of intellectual engagement
Nominati S U O N LINE.CA
t R
• online a SCC311)
my political experience, will be within a culture of mutual re-
“You get free difficult to implement and I think spect,” Ryerson President Mohamed
expression because n(
the community’s
it’s an empty threat,” Bountrogianni Lachemi said the university’s top
• in perso p t . 1 3 and are
, S e
said, adding that there are hundreds priority is maintaining a safe envi-
committed to it” of thousands of students and par- ronment on campus.
starting T n F r i d ay, Sept.CC311
ents who would be affected by this “It’s important for us to give room
m o
due by 5pain office, Student Ce0natrme to 6pm
single policy in Ontario. for people to express their views,
Um 1
“If universities welcome, un- The former Liberal party politi- but also that has to be done in a very at the RS to Friday,
en Monday
critically, what the government has cian added that, in her opinion, this respectful way and make sure that c e is o
The offi

o n Yo u r V
r Uni
done, it lends credence to their claim new policy is an overreaction to the we respect also our commitment
that there’s this fundamental prob-
lem at universities when there isn’t,”
longstanding free speech debate.
The Ryerson Students’ Union
to equity, diversity and inclusion,”
said Lachemi. “That balance has to You
Turk said. The free speech activist (RSU) doesn’t plan to alter any of be there.”
said universities across the province their policies at present, said Edmund Regardless of whether the policy
are already committed to free speech Sofo, vice-president student life and makes a tangible difference, Boun-
since the only way knowledge can events. Sofo said Ford’s announce- trogianni said it will be up to staff The Ryerson Students’ Union represents full time undergraduate students and alll graduate students.
be advanced is by questioning the ment is nothing new and the RSU and students to uphold free speech Each year a Board of Directors is elected by the membership to represent and advocate for all RSU
members. You must be a full time undergraduate or full/part-time graduate student to run.
status quo. will continue to represent students on campus.
“Some [universities] have bet- and be a voice for them to speak their “I think we [at Ryerson] know

ter statements than others, but minds in a respectful way. our values and we’re quite willing
you don’t really get free expression Vice-president equity Karolina to step up and represent our values,”
because you have a good statement. Surowiec said the RSU will survey she said.