Government “Free Speech” announcement threatens colleges and universities

Toronto, ON, Aug. 30, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Below is Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario's statement regarding Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities' announcement.

Today’s announcement from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities that requires every publicly-assisted college and university to develop and post its own free speech policy by January 1, 2019 represents an unprecedented overstep of the government into the operations of postsecondary institutions.

“The Ford government has a clear agenda in attacking academic institutions and student groups with this directive.” Said Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “By threatening to remove funding for our public institutions should they not comply with this highly unusual policy, and by directing institutions to withhold students’ unions money should they not do the same, the government is forcing these organizations to pick a side in what is a deeply important public debate. What this government is doing isn’t right.”

The directive would compel colleges and universities to implement freedom of speech policies as of September 1, 2019, and directs the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario to begin monitoring and evaluating system-level progress of free speech. Should institutions fail to comply with the government requirements, they would see their funding withheld. Individual students who fail to comply with the directive would also be open to serious consequences.

Please contact Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario for comment.


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