|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
The University of King’s College (UKC) Code of Conduct (Code) references free expression in Section 8 of its definitions:
Nothing in this Code shall be construed to prohibit peaceful assemblies and demonstrations, or lawful picketing, or to inhibit freedom of speech.
In addition, Section 2 of the Code’s Commentary recognizes the following limitations on UKC’s jurisdiction:
In theexercise of its disciplinary authority and responsibility, the University treats students and employees free to organize their own personal lives, behaviour and associations, subject only to the law and to University regulations that are necessary to protect the integrity of University activities, the peaceful and safe enjoyment of University facilities by other members of the University and public, the freedom of members of the University to participate reasonably in the programmes of the University and in activities in or on the University's premises, or the property of the University or its members. Strict regulation of such activities by the University of King’s College is otherwise neither necessary nor appropriate.
UKC’s Code in Section 6 of its Commentary also protects academic freedom, to the extent of “normal and accepted academic practice”:
The University of King’s College is a place of academic work. As such, none of the definitions in this Code shall be construed in such a way as to limit or hinder normal and accepted academic practice.
UKC supports free expression in section 2 of its Policy and Procedures on Sexual Harrassment (Harassment Policy), subject to the limitation that it be “conducted in a mutually respectful and non-coercive manner”:
The University of King's College promotes teaching, scholarship, research and the free and critical discussion of ideas. This policy is not to be applied in such a way as to detract from the right of faculty, staff and students to engage in the frank discussion of potentially controversial matters. This policy is not intended to limit or prohibit debate, instructional techniques, or the assignment of readings that advocate controversial positions, provided that discussion and instruction are conducted in a mutually respectful and non-coercive manner.
Under its Racial Equity Policy, UKC has created a Collegial Code of Conduct and Procedures (Collegial Code). Under the Collegial Code, harassment is defined as follows:
[A] verbal or physical expression of Aboriginal, Racial or Ethnic bias which exhibits a negative attitude, or hatred towards a person or group, based on their colour, ethnocultural, Aboriginal origin or heritage. Such expressions include, but are not limited to slurs, jokes, graffiti or other materials, stereotyping, threats, abuse, intimidation, inciting others to use racial slurs, displaying negative behaviour of a racial nature or engaging in negative racial name calling. Such actions may be direct or indirect and can result in a demeaning, insulting or harassing atmosphere. (s. 2.1)
UKC’s Racial Equity Policy creates a Committee on Racial Discrimination and Harassment to hear complaints of racial discrimination and harassment and an Equity Liaison Officer to receive and facilitate such complaints and act as an impartial mediator.
The use of UKC facilities is not restricted on the basis of the subject matter of the event. Room bookings and access to other campus facilities (dishes from meal hall for serving coffee at an event, for example) are free –with a conditional $100 damage deposit for rooms and a damage deposit of $20 for dishes– for all students with regardless of the subject of the event. Booking facilities is done through the administration’s front desk or Sodexo, depending on the space in question.
In 2008, UKC made news when the School of Journalism lobbied publicly to defend freedom of speech and save the life of Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh, a 23-year-old journalism student and reporter who received a death threat for bringing an article about a Muslim woman's right to multiple marriages into a class discussion. Since then, UKC has had a very active chapter of Journalists for Human Rights, a group which frequently brings free speech to the forefront of the campus consciousness, with educational events and actions.
In the same year, the UKC’s School of Journalism and Calgary’s Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership hosted the sixth Joseph Howe Symposium, entitled The Media’s Right to Offend: Exploring Legal and Ethical Limits on Free Speech. The conference featured high profile and controversial guests including Ezra Levant, Michael deAdder and Peggy Wente. On his blog, Levant spoke of the conference:
For 125 people to show up on a gorgeous Saturday morning for such a conference was a very encouraging sign that freedom of speech is deeply cherished in the great city of Halifax.
Within the Bylaws of King’s Student Union (KSU), the following rights (among others) are affirmed as fundamental to the democratic body of the student union:
IV. the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion
V. the right to freedom of expression, precluding reasonable restrictions on incitement towards violence and advocacy of hatred
VI. the right to form a society or political organization on campus and apply for funding and ratification for said body as per the criteria set out by the Union
X. the right to not to be discriminated against in the delivery of University or Union services based on the following grounds: race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth
The Bylaws leave University administrators to define ‘hatred’.
The KSU Operations Policy lists an Equity Affairs Committee, mandated to sit three times per term, although the Committee has not sat in recent years. According to the Operations Policy Section 2.21, the Equity Affairs Committee “shall have a mandate to formulate and draft Union policy on issues of equity relating to race, gender, religion, physical and mental disability and sexual orientation.”
The Operations Policy in “Appendix A – Elections Procedure” places restrictions on election campaigns, including limiting the number of campaing posters to 75 per candidate and total campaign expenditures to $25 per candidate.
The authors found no cases of the student union discriminating against students or student groups on the basis of their speech, nor of the union denying access to space and resources to student groups because of their views.