Justice Centre v. University of Waterloo

The Justice Centre publicly challenged the president of the University of Waterloo, Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur, to uphold free speech on campus when an invited speaker (MP Stephen Woodworth) had his March 2013 speaking engagement shut down by disruptive “protesters”, while campus security stood by and watched.  This was the second time in three years that the University of Waterloo failed to uphold the expression rights of an invited speaker, the other being columnist and author Christie Blatchford in 2010.

It appeared that Dr. Hamdullahpur had learned nothing from the 2010 incident, when Ms. Blatchford’s presentation was shut down by the physical disruption and obstruction of noisy, aggressive “protesters”, while campus security stood by and watched. The Justice Centre sent a letter to Dr. Hamdullahpur on March 13, urging him to uphold campus free speech rights for this speaker and to apologize for the failure of campus security to defend his rights. On March 15, 2013, the University issued a statement regretting the incident and pledging to work with students willing to re-invite Woodworth.

Stephen Woodworth returned to Waterloo campus on November 14, 2013, and his lecture was able to proceed without disruption, thanks in part to the large presence of campus security, and the requirement that attendees to the event be pre-listed for entry.

This matter was resolved without court action becoming necessary.