BELOW IS A COPY OF MY SUBMISSION TO THE PUBLIC CALL FOR FEEDBACK ON THE UBC FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION STATEMENT.
SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED, BUT DRAFTING CONTINUES...
To Whom It May Concern:
I have been deeply involved at UBC, pushing for freer speech on campus, and I have done a lot of reading, thinking, and talking with others about this during the past year. I don`t think it is an exaggeration to say that I have been one of the most prominent free speech student activists at UBC. This article ran in the Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, and the Province:
I was also recently interviewed by the CBC, and have been mentioned in the Globe & Mail in relation to the free speech situation at UBC. There is only one statement I would add to this draft. I think that a statement on freedom of expression needs to speak about the ultimate purpose of a university, because that is the real matter at stake in the campus culture wars. Discussing this explicitly is a way to help resolve the conflicts. I would add:
'The highest purpose of a University is to seek truth, in all its forms, and UBC believes that when we do this together, respectfully, it benefits us all.'
This gives a good balance between truth seeking and social justice seeking: I am a strong believer that social justice is most effectively pursued when it is based on truth and evidence-based methods. It acknowledges that there are many kinds of truth, and the job here at the University is to pursue them all and see how they fit together into a coherent, increasingly clear vision of reality.
The reason to name a 'highest purpose' is because we need a way to resolve conflicts, when truth seeking and social justice aims come into conflict. These ideas are clarified in the document by Dr. Jonathan Haidt (NYU): 'Why Universities Must Choose One Telos: Truth or Social Justice'. I believe this document is essential to read while drafting this statement. I cannot recommend strongly enough that committee members read this document:
My personal preference would be for UBC to adopt the Chicago Principles, though I don`t think this is achievable at this time. Regardless, if the statement does not speak about the purpose of a University, and define truth-seeking as the highest purpose (or equivalent words), I will question its ability to effectively resolve the issues we are facing at UBC, because it will not address the real issue.
UBC Philosophy, 4th year
NEWS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION DRAFTING:
At the Freedom of Expression Town Hall, Senior Advisor to the Provosts, Academic Freedom, Prof. Neil Guppy, acknowledged that my activism "sparked a lot of the discussion" leading to the Freedom of Expression statement process at UBC.
Twitter Screenshot, April 7, 2018, Ubyssey Coordinating Editor Jack Hauen)
Neil Guppy Quote:
Lindsay Shepherd (Wilfrid Laurier) discusses UBC Freedom of Expression Statement (according to poster, this was at Saint Mary's University, January 25, 2018, Panel Discussion on Academic Freedom)
Quote of Shepherd:
OTHER NEWS RELATED TO MY ACTIVISM:
(The emphasis in this Globe article is a bit off; it doesn't really give the right idea of what the protest letters were, as shown by the Vancouver Sun article).
Interview with comedian Mark Hughes: