Apr 30th, 2015
JCCF continues to work on improving the state of free speech at Canadian universities. The JCCF sent letters to the presidents of each of the 52 universities and 52 student unions measured in the 2014 Campus Freedom Index, urging them to show leadership in upholding free expression rights on campus. The Index reports that dozens of campuses across the country are failing to uphold free expression rights for students, faculty and invited guests, creating a dim atmosphere for intellectual discovery, debate and the free exchange of ideas. Included with the letter was JCCF’s template Resolution for Free Expression <Link> for student unions which, if passed, makes clear the student union’s obligation to uphold free speech rights and the rule of law on campus.
The Campus Freedom Index has inspired a number of universities and student unions to amend their speech codes and better protect free expression rights on campus. The Carleton University Students Association, which had earned double “F” grades in the 2012 Campus Freedom Index, cleaned up its policies and practices to make it one of the best student unions in the country, earning a “B” grade for its policies and an “A” grade for its practices in the 2014 Index.
This year, CUSA has once again improved its game. At their final council meeting of the year, CUSA councillors voted to pass the JCCF’s Resolution in Support of Free Expression. The policy, which was proposed by incoming CUSA president Folarin Odunayo, provides students with a strong defence against any attempts to silence their expression on campus.
Kudos to CUSA, for setting a standard that all student unions should follow.