Queen’s Students for Liberty v. Queen’s University

Queen’s University approved the setting up of a free speech wall on campus from Tuesday April 2 through to Friday, April 5, 2013.  However, on the evening of Tuesday April 2, the free speech wall which had been erected by the student group Queen’s Students For Liberty (Queen’s SFL) was shut down by the University’s Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Arig Girgrah.

Campus security officers acted on the instructions of Ms. Girgrah, who told Queen’s SFL that the paper canvas on the wall was being removed due to “offensive content.”  Ms. Girgrah refused to provide any examples of what she considered “offensive”, and did not refer to any Queen’s University rules or policies that had been violated by Students For Liberty.

The free speech wall was set up again on Wednesday morning, but on Thursday April 4th, Queen’s University seized the free speech wall for a second time.  Campus security confiscated the entire wall (paper, as well as the wood structure) on orders from Queen’s Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Dr. Alan Harrison, the Queen’s Alma Mater Society (AMS) and the Society of Graduate & Professional Students.  Further, Queen’s University cancelled the remainder of the space booking for Queen’s SFL.

JCCF drew public attention to the actions of Queen’s University officials, resulting in several news articles and opinion pieces in campus, local and national media.  When Queen’s SFL raised a free speech wall again in October of 2013, the University did not interfere with the event.

This matter was resolved without court action becoming necessary.