Kitchener-Waterloo

13 people named to Wilfrid Laurier freedom of expression task force

Wilfrid Laurier University has announced the names of 13 people who will work to develop a statement on freedom of expression that aligns with the school's mission, vision and values.

Task force will begin meeting in January, produce final report by March 2018

Wilfrid Laurier University has established a 13-person task force on freedom of expression, which will begin meeting in January. (GatorEG/Wikipedia)

Wilfrid Laurier University has announced the names of 13 people who will work to develop a statement on freedom of expression that aligns with the school's mission, vision and values.

The task force on freedom of expression was announced in November by university President Deborah MacLatchy in response to an incident involving teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd.

Shepherd was sanctioned by the university in the fall after showing her students an episode of the TVOntario current affairs program The Agenda, which showed a debate between two University of Toronto instructors — controversial psychology professor Jordan Peterson and Nicholas Matte, a lecturer in the sexual diversity studies program. 

Lindsay Shepherd was sanctioned for showing an episode of TVOntario's The Agenda. (Twitter)
Shepherd's supervising professor told her that one or more students complained about the video, and said showing the video without denouncing Peterson's views was like "neutrally playing a speech by Hitler."

In fact, a third party investigation of the situation has revealed that no formal written or oral complaints were made regarding Shepherd's screening of the TVOntario debate.

Although the creation of the task force comes on the heels of the Shepherd debacle, the university said in a press release that "it is separate and distinct from the independent fact-finding initiative that reviewed recent events involving a meeting held with a Laurier teaching assistant."

The 13-member group will be chaired by university vice president Robert Gordon, and includes members from the university's faculty and administration. 

  • Anne-Marie Allison, instructor, Faculty of Science, Waterloo campus
  • Kanwar Brar, president, Wilfrid Laurier University Students' Union
  • Douglas Deutschman, dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Natalie Gleba, president, Graduate Student Association
  • David Haskell, associate professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts
  • Josh Hortaleza, undergraduate student and senator
  • David McMurray, vice-president, Student Affairs 
  • Kristiina Montero, senator, member of the Board of Governors and associate professor, Faculty of Education
  • Marcia Oliver, associate professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts
  • Manuel Riemer, associate professor, Faculty of Science
  • Anne Wilson, senator and professor, Faculty of Science
  • Ali Zaidi, associate professor, Faculty of Arts

They will begin meeting in January and are expected to produce a final report in March 2018.

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