The good news is that Wilfrid Laurier University has finally apologized to teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd; the bad news is, they did it for all the wrong reasons.
Shepherd was vilified and berated by university staff for showing a video to her class of controversial professor Jordan Peterson, who is an outspoken opponent of transgender rights.
But as university staff ganged up on Shepherd, where they even accused her of promoting Peterson’s homophobic views, they were unaware that she taped the inquisition-like meeting.
That tape went viral on social media and national newscasts and the public outrage about the university’s treatment of Shepherd was overwhelming.
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Bowing to that outrage, the university apologized to Shepherd, but the hollow apology is too little too late.
It was English historian Evelyn Beatrice Hall who coined the phrase, “I disagree with your opinion, but I will defend to the death your right to state your opinion.” Sadly, that hallmark of free speech was lost on the faculty at Laurier University.
Universities should provide a platform for an exchange of contrary ideas to create a dialogue and debate on those issues.
Free speech isn’t always comfortable, but it’s necessary in our society.
It took a teaching assistant at Laurier University to teach the faculty at that university that very important lesson.
Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML.