Mohawk College Adopts New Policy Statement on Free Speech
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 and is to be posted at every college by Jan. 1.
The policy statement is primarily based on the University of Chicago’s statement of Principles of Free Expression and has five core elements:
- A definition of freedom of speech.
- 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 Jan. 1, it will apply to the entire college community.
“Freedom of expression is fundamental to the success of higher education. This policy supports this belief and demonstrates our commitment to encouraging the sharing of knowledge and respect for everyone’s right to express their opinions.”
Mohawk College educates and serves more than 29,500 full-time, part-time, apprenticeship and international students at three main campuses in Hamilton, Ontario and learning hubs across Hamilton through City School by Mohawk, and at the College’s Centre for Aviation Technology at the Hamilton International Airport. Mohawk is among the top five colleges for applied research in Canada. It has been named one of Canada’s greenest employers seven years in a row, holds a GOLD STARS rating from AASHE for sustainability achievements and is home to the country’s largest and first institutional building to receive dual certification for Zero Carbon Building Framework design and performance for The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation. More than 135,000 people have graduated from Mohawk since it was founded.