Today the student group Queen’s Students for Liberty erected a free speech wall inside the John Deutsch University Centre, Queen’s University. The wall will stand from 11:00AM Tuesday until 5:00PM on Friday, April 5. The Queen’s Free Speech Wall is part of a campaign to raise awareness about free expression rights in Canada and is sponsored by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
Over the course of the day members of Queen’s Students for Liberty will invite students, faculty and community members to express their thoughts and opinions on the wall, as an exercise of their free expression rights. They will hand out information about the state of free speech at Canadian public universities, measured in the JCCF’s 2012 Campus Freedom Index. The Index is the first report in Canada to measure and rank the state of free speech at Canadian public universities. Assigning letter grades based on the degree to which universities and student unions uphold students’ free speech rights, only three out of 35 universities studied earned ‘A’s while 28 earned ‘F’s.
The 2012 Index reports that free speech at Queen’s University is under threat. The University earns a ‘C’ for its written policies and a ‘D’ for its actions with respect to campus speech. The Alma Mater Society (AMS) receives a ‘D’ for its policies and a ‘B’ for its actions.
The Queen’s Free Speech Wall is part of a national campaign sponsored by the Justice Centre to build free speech walls at campuses across the country. The Justice Centre launched the campaign at Carleton University where the Carleton Students for Liberty built a free speech wall in January. Within 24 hours of the wall being built at a public location on campus, a seventh-year Carleton student vandalized and removed the wall because he did not agree with some of the viewpoints being expressed.
Once free speech walls have been built at campuses across the country, the Justice Centre will bring the walls together to create the Great Canadian Free Speech Wall—a monument testifying the importance of free speech at Canadian universities. Concerned citizens and supporters can make a donation to support the build at the crowd-funding site Bluecrowd.ca.
To learn more about the campaign or to make a donation, click here.
The Justice Centre hopes that the free speech wall will remind students, administrators and faculty at Queen’s that free speech is a fundamental value in higher education.