Thursday, February 12, 2009

Free speech, my butt.

I'm not going to shed a tear over these batshit crazy yahoos, for reasons I might get into in a subsequent post, but there's something in commenter "Michelle"s offering that truly makes one go ... hmmmmmmmmm:

Each year, CPL has whined, whinged and complained about any attempts to constrain a display that many on campus will find deeply offensive. (among other things, linking abortion to the Holocaust is a very sensitive topic for the local Jewish community)

From what I’ve been able to gather, every year, University administration has had to deal with significant complaints from across the campus population (students, staff and faculty) resulting from this display.

I suspect strongly that this year, the University administration simply decided that it was time to make it painfully clear that it has control over what is being displayed on University property - especially when they find themselves dealing with the complaints, and having to foot the bill for additional security presence etc. to ensure that things don’t get out of hand.

Now, regardless of what you might think of free speech, when a campus club wants to put on a public presentation of some kind, there are typically two steps involved:

  • Asking for permission, and

  • Bring granted that permission.

Normally, if there's nothing particularly controversial about the application, all of the above is simply a formality but it still has to be done. Which makes one wonder if the revocation of that club's status is based on their simply refusing to abide by the rules.

I can imagine two possible violations:

  • The club did not even put in an application for the presentation, or

  • They put in an application, which was rejected, but went ahead with the presentation anyway, without the necessary permission.

Either of those violations would, quite simply, be grounds for immediate revocation, and would have absolutely nothing to do with free speech whatsoever. If either of the above were true, there is no debate here.

"Now hang on," you might say, "what if they put in an application and it was denied, and that's unfair because it's a violation of their right to free speech?" That is, of course, a possibility, for which there is almost certainly recourse, such as making an official appeal to the appropriate campus authorities. But again (and this should go without saying but I have to say it, anyway), if the application was denied and the club disagreed, then the club had an obligation to follow the proper channels with their grievance and not simply take matters into their own hands.

Admittedly, all of the above is pure speculation, so if anyone knows what actually happened, well, that's why I have a comments section. But if it turns out that the club really did violate campus policy, then it's going to be howlingly funny for Canada's wankers to be pleading their case, given that said wankers love to present themselves as the "law-and-order" citizens who follow the rules ... unless they don't particularly like the rules.

In any event, details? Anyone fill them in?

CASE. CLOSED. From what appears to be the most recent of commenter Niles' links (emphasis law-and-orderly added):

Due to complaints and the fear of violence-- the university cited a request from CPL last spring to provide "assistance to prevent an escalation of physical conflict"-- university administration called for the group to turn the display inwards.

After a lengthy discussion, six members of the group decided to go ahead with the display as intended, said club president Leah Hallman.

End of discussion. The group were told by the administration to turn the posters inward, and they refused. There is no further debate here.

P.S. Make sure you appreciate the ingratitude from the CPL:

... the university cited a request from CPL last spring to provide "assistance to prevent an escalation of physical conflict" ...

Soak that in -- the CPL itself asked for protection help from the university, then promptly turned around and broke the university's rules. Fuck 'em. I hope they go to jail.


Niles said...

Well, here are some articles leading up to the expulsion. 'The Gauntlet' is the UofC campus paper, so it's closest to the action. I've got adhoc testimonials from campus insiders who are completely fed up with the martyrs and their off-campus backers, but this is more 'journalistic'.

(Coverage from 2005…)

(ok, not a Gauntlet piece but a local christian's response to the present situation…)

(and other religious groups that haven't gotten club status on campus under the topic of harassment...)

Hopefully, this serves.

Niles said...

I would also point to a pertinent part of the UofC press release on the situation

"One non-student member of the group complied with Campus Security’s request. Six others, including five U of C students and one non-student, declined to leave U of C property and remove the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display."

Non-students are involved as well.

KEvron said...

sounds to me like they were inciting a riot.

public hanging and a pauper's grave.


MgS said...

There's an old saying about making a bed and then lying in it.

CPL made their bed from thorns.

jj said...

Interesting how different things look when the ugly little details start emerging.

CPL is free to put up anti-abortion displays (and have done in the past with no issues) -- it's just this particular display that's getting the thumbs down. So it's obviously not an "ideologically-motivated" clamp-down on their freedom of expression.

Non-students are involved (from CBR no doubt) and they asked for help to "prevent an escalation of physical conflict"? You have to wonder exactly what they were hoping to achieve with this display.

Case closed indeed.