The University of Calgary is a disgrace
It’s an embarrassment to the University of Calgary.
Frankly, it’s an embarrassment to the whole city.
More to the point, it’s an embarrassment to anyone supports the University of Calgary – especially alumni donors.
For it is in their name that this letter was sent.
It was sent last fall. And it’s being acted on now.
A political group of students on campus – they happen to be the pro-life group, but does it really matter? – wanted to have a peaceful demonstration. Demonstrations, displays, banners, posters – these things are a daily occurrence at U of C and other universities. But only this one is being banned by the university administration.
As I noted the other day, the U of C isn’t just using its own student rules to silence these kids; and it isn’t just threatening them with civil lawsuits. It has dispatched the Calgary Police Service to hand-deliver criminal summonses to them, at their homes.
I’m all for private property and the law of trespass. But to try to shoehorn registered students at the U of C into the category of “trespasser”, simply because they have a strong political point of view, is a transparent sham.
It’s an abuse of process.
It’s an abuse of the police.
And that’s why the university did it.
That letter isn’t a real legal letter. It’s written very carefully, very skillfully, with one goal in mind: to intimidate the young students (see picture, above) who wanted to have their pro-life display.
Imagine being a teenaged girl, and receiving a knock on your door. You probably still live at home; your parents are shocked when it’s the police asking for you. It’s a summons.
You’ve probably not dealt with the police ever before – except for maybe a speeding ticket. And now they’ve come to your home, to charge you with trespass.
It’s shock treatment – designed to cause the girls to give up, in fear and shame.
It’s not a real lawsuit. It’s a bogus charge. Shame on the police and prosecutors for going along with it. Shame on the university for scheming up such a plan.
The University of Calgary should pay massively for this abomination of everything liberal.
They should lose endowments. They should lose grants. They should lose donations from thousands of alumni.
Not just from pro-life alumni – though it should lose all of those. But from anyone who believes that a university is a place where different ideas can duke it out, and the best wins.
If it’s a pro-life club today, it’s a pro-choice club tomorrow. It’s anyone tomorrow; everyone should be offended.
What’s so fascinating about this letter is that it is so brazen, so unabashed. At other schools, like Queen’s University, their politically correct speech codes are given euphemisms. The censors there were called "facilitators". When I was a student at the University of Alberta Law School, they had something called the Committee for Equality and Respect. That’s because they had a sense of shame, and they knew that what they were doing was un-Canadian and anathema to the spirit of inquiry and debate that ought to colour a university. So they did what Orwell wrote about: they bent the language to hide their true intentions.
The U of C? They have no such compunction. They’re bullies, they’re censors, they’re abusers of process, and they don’t give a damn who knows about it. Look at that line from the letter:
Individual protesters should ponder whether they intend to commit illegal trespass on private property and whether they wish to expose themselves to the financial costs of legal actions and fines, and the personal cost of arrest, especially when there is another way to protest.
They’re not even subtle about it: the design of their approach is to inflict maximum stress and damage on these students. They call them protesters – as if having a political display on a campus is a “protest”. They say – before any court has heard the matter – that the students will be committing an illegal act. That’s called prior restraint, and it in fact is what’s illegal.
I am disgusted with the University of Calgary. This is clearly a political vendetta, as other groups are allowed to “protest” in an identical manner. But, again, the political stripe of the students isn’t the point; the point is the university’s heavy-handed assault on diversity of opinion, to the point of invoking police to enforce their political restrictions.
There is one last point in this letter that deserves our special execration. The letter claims that the pro-lifers were worried about violence. If they indeed said that, it is obvious that they were worried that they would be victims of violence – and that it was a request for the university, and perhaps the police, to uphold the law and protect them from violence. Instead, the U of C uses the pro-lifers’ own concern about being victimized as an excuse to kick them off campus. Instead of protecting students who are worried about violence, they’re picking on them. They’re blaming the victim.
Hello, 911, what's your emergency? What's that, ma'am? You're worried your husband is going to beat you? Well, we'll come right down there and evict you from your home. Hey -- you're the one who brought up the potential violence. Look, it's easier to evict you than to stop him from beating you, right? C'mon honey, what are you going to do -- hire a lawyer?
I really can’t believe that such a letter emanated from a place that calls itself an institution of higher learning. And, of course, they surely consider themselves the height of liberal thinking.
There is a sickness of censorship in Canada, and its depressing to see that it has such deep roots in academia. One of censorship's other foul manifestations is the human rights commission industry. But it seems to exist wherever you find politically correct, leftist, unaccountable government institutions. They're the ones bullying peaceful political dissent. This case is even more grotesque than the HRCs, because the police are involved, like they would be in a banana republic.
It’s unCanadian. The University of Calgary is unCanadian. And Canadians should punish it, punish it, punish it in the only way it cares about.
The U of C obviously doesn’t care about its reputation for academic freedom. You don’t issue letters like that if you care about what the newspapers say about you, or other scholars.
So there’s only one thing left: cut off donations from alumni.
Cut millions and millions and millions until they publicly apologize, and until they discipline whichever educrat it was who thought that calling the police on a couple of schoolgirls was an appropriate response to dissenting political speech.