Notes From the Free Speech Forum
On March 20th, your President and several members of PSAC 610 met with the University administration to discuss the freedom of expression policy. Here are the highlights from that discussion:
The freedom of expression policy does not allow any new actions or behaviours that have not already been practiced on campus;
TAs and Postdocs should not concern that the policy encourages hate speech or unscientific rhetoric in the workplace. If TAs experience hate speech within the classroom, they are welcome to excuse students for disruptive behaviour. Additionally, any student work that is unscientific or unfactual is to be graded using academic standards (i.e., based on the quality of the paper);
Any member is allowed to rebuttal opinions; however, they may not harass or show aggression towards those with opposing views;
One member raised the concern that some speakers and groups on campus marginalize certain members and prevent them from performing well in the workplace. For instance, if a member has a lived experience with abortion and has to walk onto campus with active pro-life groups, are they walking into a welcoming work environment?
From this discussion, the Vice-Provost of SGPS has agreed to develop a document that will outline the implications of the policy.
Lastly, during the forum, there was some contention on the topic of protests. Members and admin disagreed on members ability to protest and the consequences of protesting. PSAC 610 takes the position that protests, in essence, are meant to be disruptive and are a part of the democratic process. PSAC 610 also will protect members who are disciplined for active protesting and expressing their democratic rights.