It turns out that the Ann Coulter fiasco was not the first time that the University of Ottawa considered censoring a controversial presentation. From yesterday’s National Post:
A Canadian human rights group is accusing the University of Ottawa of “spying” and attempting to stifle free speech after top university administrators considered preventing a well-known Burmese activist from speaking on campus.
Canadian Friends of Burma says it will ask the Ontario government to grant provincial ombudsman André Marin power to investigate the conduct of the University of Ottawa administrators in relation to the event. (Source)
The National Post published excerpts of various emails exchanged among executives at the university in the days prior to the event, as they scrambled to find options to prevent the event from taking place. In one of these emails to his colleagues, the vice-president resources, Victor Simon, had this to say:
“I know that this kind of thinking flies in the face of many principles we hold dear in the University world, but I think we have other interests at stake here.”
Too many people in this country are willing to give up on their principles at the drop of the hat. That’s why our society is in decline. If something is worth calling a “principle”, then it’s worth fighting for. It’s worth enduring some pain for. It’s worth being embarrassed for.