OCUFA is concerned that the Conservative Party and Andrew Scheer are trying to score cheap political points by taking a page from Doug Ford’s playbook and attempting to manufacture a campus free speech crisis. The Conservative Party’s materials, distributed on a number of campuses over the past week, misrepresent the nature of speech at Canadian universities and insult the work of faculty.
The pursuit of knowledge is at the core of the university mission. It requires celebrating diversity on campus, including protecting the right of all community members to speak their minds and respectfully challenge each other intellectually.
Faculty are professionals with diverse political views who strongly support a culture of free, vibrant, and diverse speech on campus. University campuses are home to a range of perspectives drawn from across the political spectrum, and it is by blending these views that we foster the vibrant fabric of campus life. Ironically, it is Andrew Scheer and Doug Ford through his Student Choice Initiative who are trying to politicize university campuses and stifle dissenting voices.
Instead of trying to score cheap political points, party leaders, including Mr. Scheer and Premier Ford, should address the most pressing challenges to postsecondary education in Ontario. These include a worrisome erosion of public funding, alarming increase in precarious academic work, the need for increased faculty renewal, and making postsecondary education more accessible for students.