University of Calgary vs. Free Speech

Back in November of 2007, a group of students at the University of Calgary offered their comments on a Facebook page set up to complain about the competence of a professor. That incident has evolved into an ongoing court fight over freedom of speech and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. At issue ... Should the university be forced to comply with the Charter? The University says No. The implications are far-reaching.



Part Three of The Current

University of Calgary vs. Free Speech - Keith Pridgen / Tim Boyle

You may be a little vague on the Magna Carta, but chances are you know it was not an agreement by the British government to respect the rights of the native people of Canada. However, students at the university of Calgary say that's what they were taught by one of their professors. This particular professor so annoyed so many students, they posted their complaints on a Facebook page.

When the university found out, it demanded the students apologize. Those who didn't, were disciplined. But a court later sided with the students and ruled their thoughts were protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms . The University believes they aren't and has appealed.

So now, the Alberta Court of Appeal is hearing if the students are covered by rights trace back to -- well, the Magna Carta. Keith Pridgen and his twin brother Steven were two of the students involved in the case. Keith Pridgen now lives and works in Denver, Colorado, which is where we reached him. His lawyer, Tim Boyle, was in Calgary.

University of Calgary vs. Free Speech - Charlene Anderson

That particular class is long over. The University of Calgary says the issue is now about its autonomy and what happens to learning if courts join students in the classroom.

Charlene Anderson is the University of Calgary's General Counsel. She was in Calgary.

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Last Word - Izzeldin Abuelaish

As part of our project game changer we've asked our listeners to tell us about a moment in their lives that really made a difference. At the end of our last half-hour we heard from Mark Kielberger, we'll hear some more of those stories tomorrow.

Sometimes, a moment in life can be so tragic that it takes a while for it to completely emerge as a game changer. But when it does, it can completely alter the arc of a life. Today's last word goes to another game changer.


Other segments from today's show:

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