York's love/hate relationship with free speech

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Regina, SK â€" The University of Regina recently kicked a homeless former student off campus, prompting a myriad of opinions from students and university administration.

Campus security banned Mike Wilkinson from the university grounds on Jan. 31. Wilkinson was not enrolled in classes, but reportedly attended the university last semester and chose not to return in the new year due to housing problems.

Now with no fixed address, Wilkinson can’t crash on campusâ€"something forbidden by the university, except in emergency situations.

University officials suggested inappropriate conduct â€" not Wilkinson’s lack of living arrangements â€" was the cause of his removal. Yet some students have come to his defence and attested the homeless former student was not a troublemaker.

Whatever the case, Regina administration has been clear about its stance on homeless students sleeping on campus. It is yet to be seen whether it will investigate the more prevalent problem of students sleeping in class.

Toronto, ON â€" It seems York University’s student union has a split personality disorder when it comes to freedom of speech.

Recently, the York Federation of Students cancelled an on-campus abortion debate just five hours before its scheduled start time. Gilary Massa, vice-president equity for YFS, told Maclean’s the debate would be discussing taking away women’s rights. She also compared an abortion debate to one about whether or not beating women should be allowed.

But don’t go thinking the YFS is pro-censorship. The day after the debate’s cancellation, Massa led York delegates to McMaster University to protest that institution’s infringement on free speech.

The YFS and several other student unions rallied to condemn McMaster for censoring a controversial poster containing the phrase “Israel Apartheid” and a violent graphic. The various student unions called for McMaster to allow absolute free speech on its campus.

Kingston, ON â€"Queen’s University students are pansies. This isn’t breaking news, but new evidence proves what we’ve all known for years.

Yesterday after a relatively light snowfall, Queen’s closed its doors, while Western students pulled on their Uggs and sucked it up.

A weather alert on the Queen’s website read: “Due to extreme weather conditions, classes are cancelled and the university has reduced operations.”


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