Re Let Speech Be Free, And Kids Will Learn (editorial, Nov. 14): I think I understand. Freedom of speech is alive and well on Canadian campuses, as long as it doesn’t offend nonwhite individuals, people with strong opinions on the left side of the bell curve, and anyone with an orientation other than heterosexual. Anyone with strong ideas about religions other than their own must selfcensor for fear of social prosecution.
Those campuses with special committees, which have constructed elaborate rules about these matters, must vet students, professors and guests for offensive views. Hate laws enshrined in the Criminal Code of Canada are not enough for universities over-regulating in the name of political correctness. Ideas which are considered abhorrent to some are not to be expressed, as the path to a real education rests in homogeneity. – Marty Cutler, Toronto
As an academic, I have been reading the opinion pieces on free speech in universities with great interest. I agree completely with the need to ensure academic freedom.
For those of us operating within academia, it is also worth remembering that this freedom of inquiry and expression is really a gift from our society, not a basic right. As academics we also carry a responsibility to be careful in how we present and disseminate our ideas, particularly when dealing with issues with the potential to be harmful to some. This side of the issue can and should be added to the discussion, though not as opposition to free speech. – Chris Roney, King’s University College, London, Ont.
I fully support letter writer Charles Sager’s suggestion that controversial speakers on campus should be asked to defend their views in a formal debate format against qualified adversaries (Contortion-Free Freedoms, Nov. 11). Such a structure might eliminate some of the obnoxious name-calling and obstructionist antics that normally accompany these events, if they are allowed to happen at all.
Unfortunately, this would likely be opposed by both students and academics, whose “progressivist” ethos has morphed into a smug, intolerant theology that is unable to countenance divergent thoughts or ideas. Sadly, the very institutions that should be defending free expression have become insular fortresses of conformity and groupthink. – Herb Schultz, Edmonton