Are Academic Freedom and Diversity on a Collision Course?on November 22, 2021 at 6:41 pm

Commentary A report issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom at the University of Ottawa has been framed in the media as a win for professors and a loss for students. Indeed, the committee states that “there is no right not to feel offended since academic freedom protects controversial and hurtful statements.” Its members also oppose “the exclusion of words, works or ideas” in the dissemination of knowledge. That said, it is too early to celebrate any victory. Since the committee acts in an advisory capacity, its recommendations are not legally binding. Jacques Frémont, president of the University of Ottawa, can weigh their importance vis-à-vis multicultural values. As the report cautions, academic freedom cannot come “at the expense of silencing marginalized people and groups.” Mr. Frémont remains confident, however, that academic freedom can coincide with the equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) work on campus. But what happens when black, indigenous, and …

Stuart Chambers

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