2019 Essay Contest

Should Universities Police Student Behaviour at Private Events?

First Prize

“Institutional Vigilantism in the Academy: The Policing of Private Activities by Universities”
Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Faculty of Law

Judge’s Comments:

“This essay passionately and eloquently makes the case that the expansion of university policy enforcement to off-campus situations is a further creep of cancel culture — and therefore must be fought.” – Andrew Lawton

“When I first read this essay, I knew I was reading the winner. The writing and the argument had a natural flow.” – Sam Goldstein

“An incisive attack on cancel culture that draws a clear and appropriate line between criminal wrongdoing and nonconformism.” – John Robson

Read the essay here


Second Prize

“Should Universities Police Student Behaviour at Private Events? An Unregulated, Unconstitutional and Ineffective Approach”
McMaster University, Faculty of Medicine

Judge’s Comments:

“A thoughtful, balanced and well-written analysis of universities’ behaviour enforcement policies that explores the legal and cultural ramifications of the trend.” – Andrew Lawton

“Well-researched with a lot of examples to bring home the points.” – Sam Goldstein

“A strong analysis of contemporary misapplication of the legitimate principle that universities have reputations to protect.” – John Robson

Read the essay here


Third Prize

“If we’re being honest, universities need to police culture off-campus”
University of Alberta, Faculty of Law

“The author of this essay invoked a unique approach to illustrate the problems facing the academy. It ultimately drew attention to off-campus policy enforcement being a symptom of a broader problem, and the logical end of post-secondary institutions’ current directions.” – Andrew Lawton

“This essay had a novel approach to the topic.” – Sam Goldstein

“A pointed call for modern universities either to live up to their misguided modern self-image as activist organizations or get back to their roots as places of free inquiry.” – John Robson

Read the essay here