Students roll Free Speech Balls onto McGill campus

Posted on Aug 28, 2014 in Latest Updates, News Releases

Students roll Free Speech Balls onto McGill campus

JCCF and Students for Liberty educating students across Canada about importance of free expression

 

August 28, 2014

MONTREAL: Today the student group Liberty @ McGill and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) are rolling “Free Speech Balls” onto McGill’s Lower Field.

Calgary_freespeechwall

Free speech wall at the University of Calgary 2013

Since January of 2013, JCCF has been partnering with students across Canada to build campus “free speech walls,” whiteboard displays which allow students to share their thoughts and questions as an exercise of their free expression rights. The wall events provide an open forum to educate students about the importance of free speech at Canadian universities. JCCF has sponsored free speech walls in cities including Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Kingston.

This school year, students at McGill have put a new twist on that idea, by instead rolling giant beach balls onto the lower field during orientation week. Students will be asked to write something on the 8-foot balls (if they can catch them!) to celebrate their free expression rights.

Wall3

Carleton’s Free Speech Wall was vandalized and stolen by a student who believes “not all opinions are valid” –the wall was rebuilt and generated a positive discussion about free expression nationwide.

The Justice Centre is a Calgary-based non-profit which aims to defend the constitutional freedoms of all Canadians through education and litigation. It annually publishes the Campus Freedom Index, a report which measures the state of free speech at Canadian public universities. The 2013 report found that more than half of Canadian universities are failing to uphold free expression on campus, by either enforcing ‘speech codes’ or by shutting down students whose views are considered unpopular. JCCF will release the 2014 Campus Freedom Index in September.

McGill University receives a ‘D’ average when it comes to upholding free speech on campus, while its student association, the Students’ Society of McGill University, earns an ‘F’ for having discriminated against students and student groups because of the content of their message.

McGill’s Free Speech Balls campaign is just the first of a series of events being held across the country this fall in partnership with JCCF and Canadian Students for Liberty, a student movement dedicated to promoting a free campus and free society.

By holding these free speech wall events on campuses across Canada, JCCF is preparing the next generation of Canada’s leaders to understand and defend our freedoms. For more information:

• Michael Kennedy, Communications and Development Coordinator, JCCF
(902) 322-4828 or mkennedy@jccf.ca
• Leo Plumer, Liberty @ McGill
(709) 764-3373 or lplumer@studentsforliberty.org