This news probably won’t be that big here in the UK but it is a fine example of the backwards step the universities are taking in educating what are supposed to be future generations of free thinking, highly educated people (well, those who aren’t doing media degrees).
In a communications class (no, I don’t know what that is), a graduate teacher played a clip by a renowned lecturer and current lightning rod of the transgender debate, Jordan Peterson, in order to explore and debate the use of pronouns; he, she, they, it, ze, zer and a whole new range of other made up words that look like someone who was particularly poor at Scrabble or Countdown would offer as an answer.
A complaint (confidentially of course) was made against her and she was brought into a disciplinary meeting to discuss what was said and how they could vet her lesson plans in the future.
This seemed to stem from the disciplinary panel having little faith in the ability of their students (all 18+, so adults) to process critically anything that they might disagree with.
Lucky the teacher in question, Lindsay Shepherd, had the forethought to record the meeting on her phone, which has since been “leaked” and it offers not only a glimpse of what a cool, collected and calm person Shepherd is but also the staggering lack of common sense and horrible group think that the panel of other teachers also display.
As with anything these days, when the ultimate stupidity of some is laid bare for the world to view, the aggressors are generally quick to apologise, which the university has since done
FULL TEXT: Apology from Wilfrid Laurier officials over handling of free speech controversy
But they still insert caveats into their climbdowns
Let me be clear by stating that Laurier is committed to the abiding principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Giving life to these principles while respecting fundamentally important human rights and our institutional values of diversity and inclusion, is not a simple matter.
Free speech is a very simple matter, you have it or you don’t.
Universities in the UK are seeing an invasion of the anti-free speech crowd. This is currently manifesting itself as safe spaces.
This has led to some offering “Brave Spaces” which only reinforce the safe space mentality of hurt feelings being more important than free speech and free thought.
Likewise, following the pernicious Rhodes Must Fall debacle, now a student in Liverpool wants former PM Gladstone to have his name removed as the name of a halls of residence because of his apparent lack of opposition to the slave trade.
University has changed a lot since I was there and not for the better.
Thanks for reading.