By Liane McLarty
While reading the “Statement on Freedom of Speech, Draft January 7, 2010” discussed by the Ryerson Senate, several phrases spring to mind: “Always read the last paragraph,” “The devil is in the details,” “OMG FML, Rye, WTF?” and “You can’t shine shit.” Back in the ’70s I had a teacher who taught us, “Countries that have ‘People’s’ and ‘Republic’ in the name are usually neither.” With that in mind, the phrase “committed to freedom of thought… it also recognizes there are limits to free speech,” which appears in Ryerson’s statement, clangs harshly.
Section 2(b) of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms isn’t your peep, Ryerson? You don’t believe that “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: … freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press…”?
I love 2(b). In fact, most days I feel like it has my back and I’m damn glad for it. There’s also Section 13, Canada’s “Human rights hate speech law,” and it protects against speaking, inciting or promulgating hate.
So what is the problem with Ryerson’s Freedom of Speech statement? Frankly, the whole draft smells of 1984 and Big Brother.
It doesn’t just smell of Big Brother, it absolutely reeks of Utopian paternalism. By neutering what you can say, hear and discuss without acknowledging that society already has adequate laws in place, Ryerson denies you freedom of thought — and freedom of speech, assembly and press. I say: fuck that.
Then Rye gets its own sweet shit shined, hidden in the last paragraph: “When speech on Campus is used in a way that … interferes with University business…”I can haz straight up shitz, now, puhleez? WTF is “interferes with University business”? Complaining about food in the caf? Calling admin to task on the treatment of custodial workers? Unionizing work study students? Student actions against policies they don’t like? Disagreeing with a prof, a chair, a dean, admin, VPs, or the Prez? And who gets to say what interfering is? Do you not see the precedent you’re setting, Rye High? Life fail, noobs, absolute and utter facepalm!