The latest episode features one of Canada’s leading feminists, Meghan Murphy, driven off campus because WLU demanded $8,055 (plus taxes) as a security fee.
Based in Vancouver, Ms. Murphy hosts the Feminist Current blog and podcast. She rejects the idea that men should have access to female-only places simply by “identifying” as women.
This opinion triggers the risk of loud, disruptive and potentially violent protests by trans activists, militant progressives and other social justice warriors.
Rather than debating questions like “Does trans activism negatively impact women’s rights?” some “protesters” prefer to shut down the displays, conferences and speaking engagements of those with whom they disagree.
Unable to raise enough money to pay WLU’s $8,055 ransom, Lindsay Shepherd and her Laurier Society for Open Inquiry (LSOI) have booked the Kitchener Auditorium to host Ms. Murphy on October 24.
Meanwhile, WLU’s Rainbow Centre faces no security fees to hold its “Trans Allyship Workshop” on October 25, on the WLU campus.
This double standard dates back to March of 2018, when WLU allowed the Rainbow Centre’s allies and other “protesters” to shut down a campus event featuring Faith Goldy.
Hosted by Shepherd’s LSOI, Goldy’s talk was cancelled because a student opposed to the event pulled the fire alarm, in the context of a showy parade by Antifa, the oft-times violent anti-fascist group.
The Rainbow Centre inaccurately described Faith Goldy as a neo-nazi, and promoted this so-called “solidarity rally.”
The pulling of the fire alarm prevented people from hearing Faith Goldy and making up their own minds about her opinions.
WLU has failed to identify or sanction the individual who pulled the fire alarm. WLU has made no public statement condemning the act or its perpetrator.
In April, WLU demanded payment of $5,473 from LSOI to host Dr. Frances Widdowson as a speaker.
Many of Dr. Widdowson’s views are left-wing, but she rejects political correctness when it comes to aboriginal policy.
By demanding $5,473 from penniless students just to listen to a speaker, WLU rewarded those who broke the university’s rules and who effectively shut down the Faith Goldy event in March.
Security fees charged by WLU and other universities are grossly unfair.
Students wanting to proclaim an idea on campus, whether popular or not, are participating in the very purpose of the university: to pursue truth through frank expression and honest debate.
In contrast, blockaders, obstructionists and “protesters” who shut down events are hostile to the university’s purpose.
Freedom of expression, which is about the right to hear and listen as well as the right to speak, is fragile. It only takes one person to disrupt and effectively shut down a presentation, conference, debate, church service, classroom teaching or other event featuring a speaker.
Hence the need for appropriate rules to prohibit disruption, obstruction and other interference with peaceful educational events.
Most Canadian universities have such rules. They just refuse to enforce them.
Security costs would be minimal or non-existent if universities simply enforced their own, existing rules against the disruption of campus activities and events.
By rewarding those who break the rules, security fees reflect a “blame-the-victim” mentality. Invoices for security costs should be rendered to those who break university rules against disruption.
Instead, WLU and other universities impose security fees on legitimate student groups like LSOI.
Imposing security fees on people like Lindsay Shepherd motivates violence and threats of violence from opponents.
The approach taken by WLU and other universities effectively empowers those who heckle and disrupt.
An opponent of an event can thwart the event simply by threatening “protest”, thereby causing security fees to be charged to groups like LSOI.
When Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel, her male cabinet colleagues suggested placing a curfew on women, to help end a series of rapes.
Meir replied: “But it is the men who are attacking the women. If there is to be a curfew, let the men stay at home.”
Golda Meir’s clear logic is lost on WLU and other universities across Canada, who use security fees to blame the victims of mob censorship.
John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca).