Freedom of speech in action: It seems that someone didn’t like last week’s issue, which looked at female students that sell their company to pay tuition and rent. PHOTO: LEE RICHARDSON

Speak free, make it count

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By Lee Richardson

Universities are supposed to be incubators of free speech, but they probably do more to harm free speech than promote it. For instance, it’s unnervingly common for professors to express their political and moral beliefs to their students as fact.

In this week’s issue we take a look at the idea of free speech, with a loose theme running through the issue that we didn’t plan in advance, but will take credit for.

In the Features section, Olivia McLeod captures the sad state of affairs that is freedom of speech in Canadian universities.

Her piece sees how free speech at Ryerson measures up compared to other universities, according to the annual The State of Campus Free Speech report, which basically rewards universities that do their best to promote free speech.

Whether free speech is up to par on campus or not, it’s up to the students to realize that they should make the most of their opportunities around free speech while they’re studying.

After graduation, it seems fair to say that the chance to freely bring up controversial and even taboo topics drops off a cliff.

Employers are keen to see if interview candidates fit in line with their – or the company’s – views, to the point of checking the social media accounts of job candidates.

This week’s Biz and Tech section hits on that topic with a run-down of a web app that can clean up your Facebook profile.

Called SimpleWash, it filters through your account allowing you to delete anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see. And let’s face it, most students have stuff on their Facebook accounts that they wouldn’t want anyone outside of their circle of friends seeing. To see whether the app worked, we ran our editor’s accounts through it to see who swore the most.

(No-one was really surprised at the results.) See you next week.

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