Volume 93, Issue 53

Friday, December 3, 1999


OPINIONS

Interpret the Charter correctly

Not allowed to make up own mind

Police force out of line

Study leaves should go

Right is independent of content

Looking at USC democracy

Simply stating his own beliefs

Poppies just aren't for everyone

Attack was personal

Toon lacked accuracy

Police force out of line



Re: "Police pull preacher" Nov. 18

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the way the University Police Department handled the incident with the "campus preach." The issue here is NOT whether what the "preacher" was saying was right or wrong, intelligent or stupid.

Personally, I did not agree with what he was saying, but that is not the issue. The issue here is whether one is allowed to talk or "preach" in front of the University Community Centre without being apprehended by the police and removed from campus.

The UPD has a mandate to promote safety but does NOT have the mandate to regulate speech on campus. It is not a "speech police," although this event has shown us that perhaps it is slowly assuming this dangerous role. Perhaps the UPD should check out its mandate as I am sure it does not have this authority – to "regulate" speech on campus. A university is an academic institution where free speech MUST be protected.

The police officer mentioned in The Gazette article said, "As far as I know he doesn't have permission to be here." This presumably means that one needs permission to talk in front of the UCC.

Why does the preacher, or any person for that matter, need permission to talk or preach there? What is going to happen next? The police entering classes and escorting professors or teaching assistants off-campus because they may be presenting "right," "wrong," "intelligent" or "stupid" material?

Campus police – let this man say what he wanted to say! If it was bothering someone, the campus is large enough to avoid him and there are other entrances to the UCC. We are all adults and can ignore what he was saying. I believe the police had NO reason to step in and their conduct in this incident was an embarrassment to the university community.

In a country proud of its fundamental rights, a small police force infringed on this individual's right. Nothing less then a formal apology is required of the police department.

Pascal Klatt
Political Science/French III



To Contact The Opinions Department:
gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1999