Conestoga and Ontario’s other public colleges have approved a new policy on upholding free speech that will apply to all members of the college community as of January 1, 2019.
The policy was developed by a task force of senior college leaders in collaboration with the College Student Alliance, legal experts and others. It was approved at a recent meeting of Ontario’s college presidents.
Based primarily on the University of Chicago’s Statement on Principles of Free Expression, the policy statement includes five core elements:
- A commitment to allow open discussion and free inquiry
- A statement that it is not the colleges’ role to shield members of the college community from ideas they disagree with
- A statement that while members of the college community are free to contest the views of others, they must also respect the rights of others to express their views
- An affirmation that speech that violates the law is not allowed.
The policy describes the procedures for handling complaints and ensuring there is compliance. The policy also states that it is aligned with other college policies and they shall all be considered together.
Once it takes effect on January 1, 2019, the policy will apply to all college faculty, students, staff, management, guests and others who are present at the college.
The Policy Statement on Upholding Free Speech is available on the Conestoga website.