|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
In November 2018, to meet its obligations to the Ontario government, Saint Paul University passed a new Free Expression Policy which states:
Freedom of expression is one of the values that define Saint Paul University. Indeed, the University encourages open dialogue enabling critical thought, supported by intellectual integrity and ethical judgment.
On the basis of this statement of principle, no one is to suffer reprisal for expressing their opinions. This freedom of expression is, however, governed by various University regulations and policies, as well as by municipal, provincial and federal regulations and laws. In particular, the University expects everyone to:
The Saint Paul University Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace and Learning Environment policy defines “discriminatory harassment” and “psychological harassment”:
5.3 Discriminatory harassment: Vexatious comments or actions when the author of these comments or actions knows or should reasonably know to be unwelcome. These include comments or actions based on any of the prohibited grounds specified in article 5.2, and when the author of these words or gestures knows or should reasonably know that they are offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, degrading or unwelcome.
Examples of discriminatory harassment include but are not limited to the following:
5.4 Psychological harassment: Psychological harassment occurs either through repeated hostile or unwanted behaviours, words, actions or gestures which undermine the dignity or psychological or physical integrity of a member of the University community and which create, for that person, a harmful work or study environment.
Among behaviours that could be considered psychological harassment are:
The authors are not aware of Saint Paul University providing funding or resources to groups, departments, committees, or other bodies that engage in ideological advocacy.
In November of 2017, Saint Paul University (SPU) cancelled a contracted screening of an award-winning documentary film. The film, Vessel, tells the story of Rebecca Gomperts, a doctor who began providing abortions at sea after witnessing the dangers women seeking abortions face in countries where the procedure is illegal.
Since 2011, organizers behind the festival Choice have booked the amphitheater at Saint Paul University to host panels and film screenings with the goal of sparking discussion and better awareness of the options available in birth and child-rearing. Past films have included documentaries about breastfeeding, maternal mental health, myths about childbirth and different methods of giving birth.
A spokesperson for Saint Paul University reported to media that “the decision was made to ask the organizers to find a different venue because the university has a policy of not holding events on campus that could be polarizing or that have the potential to bring protesters.”
In March of 2011, Saint Paul’s University invited then-secretary general of Amnesty International, Alex Neve, to give the keynote address at an event to mark the opening of the University’s new Centre for Conflict Studies.
The talk, Resolving and Preventing Conflict: The ‘Rights’ Way, was opposed by some alumni and faculty of Saint Paul’s, due to statements Mr. Neve had made in support of abortion. The University did not officially respond to the complaints, but the event went on as scheduled and without interruption.
The Saint Paul University Students’ Association (SPUSA) does not list upholding free expression as one of its objectives.
SPUSA defers management of non-academic student life to the University and its policies.
SPUSA does not take political stances on issues outside of its mandate.
The authors are not aware of cases of the Saint Paul’s University Students’ Association limiting or restricting campus free speech rights, or discriminating against students or clubs on the basis of their opinion. However, the Students' Association failed to defend free expression against the University's decision to cancel a film screening on campus.
In the 2018–19 financial year,* Saint Paul University received $7,861,613 in taxpayer dollars in the form of government grants. These taxpayer funds accounted for 36.1% of their annual revenue.
*Saint Paul University did not make their 2019–20 financial statements available by the time of publication of the 2020 Campus Freedom Index.