|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
The University of New Brunswick (UNB) Values statement says that:
We seek truth through academic excellence in our teaching, learning and research.
We respect individuals and their freedom of thought and expression.
Section 4(b) of the UNB’s Student Disciplinary Code sanctions students who “act or speak in a disorderly, disruptive, indecent or offensive manner”. The term “offensive” is not defined, allowing university administrators to interpret what constitutes “offensive” conduct. Sanctions include expulsion.
The Code also prohibits the “disruption or obstruction of any authorized activity, event, class or service of the University, or interference with any person’s rights to carry out legitimate activities, speak or associate with others;
UNB has a Human Rights officer tasked with enforcing the Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities, which prohibits any “comment or conduct that ought reasonably to be known to have the effect of creating an intimidating, humiliating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.” These prohibitions on “offensive” speech are subjective, and could be abused. However, section 7.01 the Declaration states that “[e]very member of the University community enjoys freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly.”
The Declaration also states that “[e]very member of the University community has a responsibility to treat all other members of the University community with respect and tolerance, and to contribute to a respectful learning and work environment.”
UNB’s Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy defines harassment as “comment or conduct that ought reasonably to be known to have the effect of creating an intimidating, humiliating, hostile or offensive working and learning environment.”
UNB’s policies do not clarify whether security fees can be charged to students holding events on controversial subject matter.
Ricardo Duchesne is a sociology professor at the University of New Brunswick. In June of 2014, Duchesne was reprimanded by the University after at least one complaint was filed against him for comments made at eurocanadian.ca, a website he runs for his organization, the Council of European Canadians. In a May 26 post titled “Chinese Head Tax, White Apologies, and ‘Inclusive Redress”, Duchesne asserted that Chinese Canadians are manipulating “white guilt”.
Vancouver councilor Kerry Jang filed a complaint against Duchesne with UNB in early June. UNB prohibited Duchesne from using UNB’s name or his UNB affiliation when voicing his political views via his blog and email. In January of 2015, UNB’s Vice President for its Saint John campus, Robert MacKinnon, publicly defended Duchesne’s academic freedom against Jang’s complaint.
The UNB Student Union’s (UNBSU) Clubs and Societies Policy denies “Ratified Status” along with the funding and promotional support made available with such status, to religious clubs and to clubs affiliated with a political party. It also states that clubs “must be open to all members of the Union.”
UNBSU has discretion to withhold “Ratified Status” from any club or society if it deems the group “ineligible”, which leaves the door open to censorship and discrimination against clubs on the basis of the content of their expression.
By-law No. 2 governs elections for UNBSU positions. The By-Law establishes the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) who is empowered to enact special rules that could impose censorship on candidates and students:
The CRO may, from time to time, create temporary regulations to govern the conduct of an Election, provided that such regulations are created prior to the beginning of the campaign, published in such manner as deemed appropriate by the CRO which shall include at least the posting of a notice in the Student Union Building, and circulated to all candidates and all members of the Appeals Board, such regulations to expire at the end of that Election or upon a resolution of the Council effecting the same.
There are several clauses contained in By-law No. 2 that restrict candidates’ speech during elections, and that discriminate between candidates in imposing speech restrictions:
(c) no campaign for any Campus Wide Candidate shall use more than two hundred (200) Posters and five hundred (500) Mass Publicity Items during the campaign period;
(d) no campaign for any Faculty Representative Candidate shall use more than one hundred (100) Posters and two hundred (200) Mass Publicity Items during the campaign period;
UNBSU does not take political positions on issues unrelated to its mandate.
The authors are not aware of any cases of the Student Union having restricted or censored speech on campus, or having discriminated against particular students or clubs on the basis of the content of their expression.