Apr 1st, 2013
In 2013, JCCF launched a new campaign to build free speech walls at Canadian universities.
Within 24 hours of the JCCF’s first free speech wall going up at Carleton University, a student vandalized the display and removed it from its location in the main atrium. The Carleton Students for Liberty, which co-hosted the wall event with JCCF, was not long deterred and quickly rebuilt the Carleton free speech wall. This prompted national attention, Canada-wide media coverage including the National Post and Sun TV, and a campus-wide discussion about the importance of campus free speech.
Students at York University demonstrated the power of free speech in encouraging discussion and tolerance during their free speech wall event held on March 18 and 19.
Queen’s Students for Liberty hosted a free speech wall event on campus on April 2. That evening, the free speech wall was shut down by the university’s Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Arig Girgrah, citing unspecified concerns about offensive content. A second wall was shut down again and confiscated by Queen’s University officials, who refused to provide any examples of speech they considered “offensive” and were unable to explain which university policies (if any) were violated by the free speech wall.
Queen’s Students for Liberty successfully held another free speech wall event on November 4, and were relieved that the university did not try to shut down their display once more.
On October 24, the student group Canadian Advocates for Freedom and Liberty (CAFL) raised a free speech wall at the University of Calgary, co-sponsored by JCCF. The wall was full of text within hours of being set up, and served to educate students and faculty about the importance of free expression to our democracy and the pursuit of truth.