Academia

F*ck Canada! Ir*ny is a Four-Letter Word at Colleges Up There!

|

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a particularly humorless suppression of speech as the University of Western Ontario, where a student newspaper got in trouble for publishing an obviously tongue-in-cheek piece titled, "So you want to date a teaching assistant?"

The damage by that particular #microaggression has barely had time to heal before the latest controversy flares up:

Carleton University in Ottawa says an investigation is underway after photos of students wearing shirts with "inappropriate wording" surfaced online on Sunday.

Images of students wearing the shirts were making the rounds over social media after an Ottawa lawyer tweeted a photo reportedly taken near the university's campus.

Note that "near the university's campus."

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), it's not even clear what "Safe Space" refers to:

The safe space policy at Carleton says students should feel safe from homophobia and "heterosexism" on campus.

Julie Lalonde, a Carleton graduate who helped create the sexual assault centre at Carleton, said the message sent is appalling.

"Safe space is a policy at Carleton that says all spaces and all events that are Carleton sanctioned should be anti-oppressive, which means they have to be free of hate speech, racism, misogyny, homophobia, all of those things," she said.

But some Carleton frosh leaders took to Twitter on Sunday to say the shirts weren't meant to be offensive, but the intention was to protest a university policy that prohibited student leaders from swearing during frosh week activities.

More here.

Is it really that difficult to stand against physical and verbal intimidation (at a college, no less) without flipping out over t-shirts?

The person responsible for taking the photo above and tweeting it doesn't think so. Even though Leslie Robertson, an attorney in Ottawa, tweeted that "there were many people, including women, wearing these shirts," she also says:

For sure #carleton students should be free to fucking swear but the claim that his shirt is only about a swearing policy is bogus

— Leslie Robertson (@GalldinRoberts) September 8, 2014

There are at least two questions here: First is the "meaning" of the shirt. Is it intended as a broader statement against anything more than a policy prohibting cursing (and if so, is that in itself a problem)? And second, should universities really be policing what students say or wear "off-campus"?

Two years ago, Reason interviewed the University of Pennsylvania's Alan Charles Kors, one of the co-founders of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and co-author of The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses. Take a look and see if you don't agree with Kors that suppressing speech is no way to increase freedom of expression at colleges.

NEXT: 'The Kronies' Expand Their Winning Ways into Health Care 'Reform'

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I like Kors. He did some good courses with the Teaching Company, too.

  2. Fuck Canada, our home and native land;
    True patriot sex, in all thy sons command.

  3. Your shirt reads “Fuck safe space” but I see “I am coming to rape you.”

    1. Where? Behind the gay guys?

      1. I believe that to be what is called a Freudian Slip on the Fist’s part.
        I had to look at the photo twice to make it past the impressive thigh gap on the blue dress.
        Also love the hash tag #microagression. That’s some funny fecal matter right there.

  4. I wonder how many college admistrators would shit their pants if the tanks tops read, “Sun’s out, guns out”.

  5. Are they sure it wasn’t a picture of that woman’s rack and the T-shirt people just happened to be in the background?

    1. It looks like whoever was taking the picture wanted to make sure they got both the rack and the shirts.

  6. I think all Americans should be ashamed that (some*) Canadians have bigger Freedom Balls than we do.

    *ANY!

  7. Canadian universities are rather pathetic about free speech. A couple of years ago I went to Ann Coulter’s speech at the University of Ottawa, mostly to bug the crap out of her during the Q&A. Protesters were extremely violent, blockading doors and pushing people back.

    1. I remember that. That was insane. Coulter is an annoying cunt, but it’s not like she has personally done much evil beyond being unpleasant and writing questionably sourced and argued polemics. What were those people trying to accomplish with their violence? How many people were even at the event for any reason other than to hassle her in the Q&A?

      1. What were those people trying to accomplish with their violence?

        Suppress dissenting views?

        1. I guess I shouldn’t assume any rationality. Everyone knows what Coulter thinks (or says in public anyway), so I don’t know how they expected to suppress anything.

  8. Do Canucks have an equivalent to a 1st Amendment? Eh?

    1. Not really. Parliament can just waive rights on a whim. Well, so long as that involves a reasonable and justified waiving.

      1. Turdeau Sr. picked that one up from the Commies.

        Also no property rights (cuz Ed Broadbent didn’t like it) or gun rights.

    2. Well it says this:

      The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

      1. So, no First Amendemnt then.

      2. Fuck. That paragraph means they have no rights. They realize that, right?

        1. No, to Canadians that means ‘our Constitution is great because more third world countries are influenced by ours than the Americans’.’ Seriously. That was a propaganda line the Liberal Party kept saying.

          1. How’s that working out for those 3rd World countries?

          2. According to nationalists, the world copies all our shit – including our health care! We’re the envy of the world I tell ya! Envy!

            I’ve come to realize it’s all nonsense because in the end, the world looks to America.

        2. You have to remember, this is the country that had martial law declared over a kidnapping case. And rather than being seen as the embarrassing cowardice of a tyrant, it’s framed as an example of a politician ‘willing to get the job done’.

        3. That’s the state of things in most of the world. That’s part of what people mean when they talk about “American Exceptionalism”.

      3. If I recall correctly, that’s just a legislative act and is as subject to government whim as any other statute.

        In the U.S., in theory, anyway, the government can’t violate the First Amendment at all without amending the Constitution to allow it to avoid doing so. While the courts have helped to do any number of end runs, the fundamental nature of the written Constitution, which trumps mere laws, has helped to protect at least that right significantly better than other countries.

        1. If I recall correctly, that’s just a legislative act and is as subject to government whim as any other statute.

          The Charter of Rights is part of the Canadian Constitution. You are thinking of the Canadian Bill of Rights which is a statute and can be changed.

          1. It’s just like the English constitution, isn’t it? Just all of their laws and traditions taken as a whole, not some written document that sets it all out.

            1. No, Canada has a written constitution that gets amended.

              The Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament in 1960 and when the BNA act was repatriated in 1982 the Charter of Rights was included due to criticisms of the Bill of Rights being a mere statute that Parliament can change.

              1. And of course, Quebec never signed the repatriated Constitution of 1982.

                More added useless problems.

                1. Wasn’t one of the purposes of repatriation to appease Quebec nationalists?

                  1. Not that I recall but it ended up being a real fiasco.

    3. This is what Mark Steyn went through:

      http://www.macleans.ca/news/ca…..i-love-it/

      1. Canadian universities are pussies when it comes to standing up to militant student bodies and the perpetually aggrieved. Mostly because they can get violent and are a bunch of maniacs.

        I stopped giving to my university Concordia because they cancelled an Israeli speaker a few years back for giving into the violent Palestinian Student Body. That pissed me off for good.

        It’s Canada. A country that didn’t find Jean-March Jacob (a member of the Bloc Quebecois who earns a FEDERAL pension) in contempt of Parliament let alone of treason for soliciting high ranking Generals in the Army during the 1995 referendum requesting they switch sides for fear of how Quebecers would react.

        The thinking, obviously, was to quell any rebellion among the Natives and possibly everyone else.

        And then they want me to take my country seriously.

        Fucking bloody hosers won’t even support their own CFL teams for cripes sake.

        1. You have teams for light bulbs up there?

          1. Canadian Football League.

            Our balls are bigger.

    4. Not really. We ‘have’ one but it’s wink, wink. Canadians would sell their soul and tuques to the government if it meant ‘because we’re not American.’

      Freedom is just a quaint notion up here but buddy boy, make damn sure you understand the government has final say.

      Also we have something called the ‘notwithstanding clause.’ Look it up. In Canada, this is a marvel of democratic freedom.

      /pats self on back.

      1. I just looked it up.

        WTF, I mean why bother with charter thingies at all.

      2. Except, of course, when the Tories are in power. Then the government is a soft dictatorship, unlike all those other times it’s a soft dictatorship.

        1. Canada under Chretien was every bit the
          ‘soft dictatorship’ claimed under Harper.

          The truth is the Canadian PM has more power than the U.S. president. This little bit they conveniently overlook.

          Someone mentioned Trudeau. He’s seen as Thomas Jefferson north up here. DO NOT engage Trudeaubots on his progressive, left-wing and tyrannical tendencies.

  9. Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to share a safe space with.

  10. They dont.

    You’re basically at the mercy of the perpetually inclined to be outraged.

    As far as I’m aware the US is unique with respect to the First Amendment.

    1. As far as I’m aware the US is unique with respect to the First Amendment.

      Yes, “Congress shall make no law” is pretty absolutist and doesn’t leave a lot of room for weasel wording.

      Also the Second amendment is pretty unique to the US as well.

      1. You’re right about the Second Amendment.

        The First and Second Amendments are the sin qua non of any nation that wants to call itself civilized.

        1. Isn’t it sine qua non? Or did you make a play on words and it should be read as SIN qua non?

      2. You say “Congress shall make no law” doesn’t leave a lot of room for weasel owrding, then you mention the Second Amendment, which is even more absolutist but is crapped all over.

  11. nice choice of Brew Thru-style tank top. adds a touch of class.

  12. Fuck Canada?

    Hey, hey. No need for profanities. Show some class you damn Yankees.

  13. There is a new season of Trailer Park Boys, so I’m feeling benevolent about Canada this week.

    But still, fuck that shit.

    1. New season?

      1. Yeah. It’s a Netflix production, but still very much what you would expect (minus a few actors who have died or moved on to something better).

  14. What? Absurd! This is clearly a protest of a space program that won’t take any risks! FUCK SAFE SPACE!

  15. I don’t know why these kids need to swear. I mean, Will Smith don’t gotta cuss in his raps to sell records.

    1. Well, I do, so fuck him and fuck you too.

  16. But some Carleton frosh leaders took to Twitter on Sunday to say the shirts weren’t meant to be offensive, but the intention was to protest a university policy that prohibited student leaders from swearing during frosh week activities.

    *sigh*

    So these millennials were trying to win the 100 yard dash to miss the point.

    Job well done.

  17. I suppose that all potential Canadian employers have “safe spaces” for these wimps to work in after college?

  18. Maybe, a few years later the best dissertation writers will write monumental works, using those tweets. It was said that you can use Twitter, as you can quote tweets in your dissertation. Well, I don’t think that it’s so difficult to stand against physical and verbal intimidation (at a college, no less) without flipping out over t-shirts..

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.