|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
GRADE EXPLANATION: The University earns an A for its policies. There is a clearly stated commitment to free speech. The university has an anti-disruption policy which prohibits students (and other people) from blocking, obstructing, disrupting or interrupting speech (e.g. events, displays) on campus. The University does not have any speech code. The university does not provide funding and other resources to groups, departments, committees, commissions or other bodies that engage in ideological advocacy. The University earns an B for its practices. The University has not recently had to defend free speech on campus, but its strong policy framework prevents censorship.
The Senate of Laurentian University passed a Statement of Students Rights and Responsibilities in 1998 which states:
Laurentian University’s Code of Student Conduct (non-academic) (Code) states, in its Preamble:
Laurentian is a vibrant university which enjoys a great sense of community. It is dedicated to establishing and maintaining an environment conducive to effective teaching and learning. Laurentian also encourages social activities and recognizes the freedom of expression and the rights of individuals.
The aims of the Code are listed:
Under the Code, it is an offense for a student to “[d]isrupt the legitimate academic, non-academic or administrative activities and functions of the University,” or “[i]mpair the rights of members of the University community or its visitors where such conduct is not covered under the provisions of the University’s Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures and other University policies”. The Code also provides the following as an example of misconduct: “Engaging in disruptive behaviour which a person knows or reasonably ought to know unduly interferes with or obstructs any legitimate University activity, including studying, learning and teaching, and/or the rights of others to conduct, to benefit from or to participate in such activities.”
The university does not provide funding or other resources to departments, committees, commissions or other bodies that engage in ideological advocacy.
There are no recent incidents of the University censoring free expression on campus.
In September of 2007, Laurentian University’s Senate voted to condemn the suggested boycott of Israeli universities by Britain’s University and College Union. The University released a statement which read “Laurentian upholds the fundamental principle of freedom of speech and enquiry, and defends the open exchange of ideas among academics.” It further stated:
President Dr. Judith Woodsworth joins her voice to other university presidents and chancellors world-wide in expressing disapproval of the boycott: “I believe that the freedom to debate ideas, to listen and to learn from the views of others, is fundamental to the very existence of universities, and is more likely, in a pluralistic world, to resolve conflicts and lead to mutual understanding, than simply closing down dialogue,” she stated. “Laurentian is committed, on its campus, to maintaining the freedom of individuals to study, teach and do research in a climate free of harassment, intimidation or discrimination, and regardless of anyone’s political opinions about the policies and practices of particular national governments.”
GRADE EXPLANATION: The student union earns a D for its policies. The student union does not have an express commitment to free speech on campus; the student union has at least one speech code; the student union’s policies in regard to club certification enable unequal treatment of clubs based on beliefs and opinions; the student union’s rules and regulations for elections and referenda impose unfair restrictions on campaign speech and literature; the student union does not take political positions on issues outside its mandate. The student union earns a C for its practices for having not recently censored free speech on campus.
By-Law C-3 of the Laurentian University Students’ General Association (SGA) states:
By-Law C-4 of the SGA states, “[clubs] may be disciplined for…Practices which are determined by the Board to be neglectful or dangerous in nature.”
SGA’s Bylaw D-3, governing Campaigning during Elections, requires “All materials suggesting a preference for, or against a candidate must be approved by the CRO.”
SGA’s By-Law F-2, governing Referenda, states that “All materials must be approved by the CRO.
All students of Laurentian University are eligible for Club membership. A Club will be permitted to restrict its membership only in a limited number of cases where such limitation is necessary to avoid a complete undermining of the Club’s mandate. All restrictions must be approved by the SGA Executive.
The authors are not aware of the SGA discriminating against students or student groups because of their views.