Sunday, October 17, 2010

Universities Are Not Charter-Free Zones

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Jo'Anne Strekaf confirmed in her ruling that university students too have the right to free speech. University by-laws can't override the Charter.
As Justice Strekaf said,
“I am satisfied that the University is not a Charter free zone. The Charter does apply in respect of the disciplinary proceedings taken by the University against the Applicants [Keith and Steven Pridgen]….While the University is free to construct policies dealing with student behaviour which may ultimately impact access to the post-secondary system, the manner in which those policies are interpreted and applied must not offend the rights provided under the Charter.”
The ruling is good news for the Pridgens. It’s great news, as well, for pro-life students across Canada who have faced, or will face, discrimination from university administrations and student unions because of their pro-life message.

University administrations and student unions should take note of this ruling – especially the University of Calgary and Carleton University, which seem to have a particularly hard time respecting free speech rights of students, at least when it comes to pro-life students. Justice Strekaf’s ruling sets a clear precedent. Students do have free speech rights on campus and they have the law on their side.
Considering that students must also pay a hefty amount of money for the privilege to attend classes, there's definitely no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to criticize their professors. And, considering how political the universities have become, considering that there are so many other groups which engage in political activism on campus (including display of graphic pictures) - there's absolutely no reason why the university should single out pro-life students.

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