When there is a news report about books being challenged in a school library learning commons, it is often because the item was removed at the direction of the school or district administration following a parent complaint about a specific book and that the proper ‘Request for Reconsideration’ process was not followed.
Just doing their job: why we all need professors to exercise their academic freedom in Premier Kenney’s Alberta
Academic freedom, the “cornerstone” of the academy, is always under threat, often in subtle and invidious ways. But sometimes it is under threat in explicit ways, in the form of full-throated calls from members of the public demanding that academics who have publicly taken positions with which they disagree ought to be either disciplined or fired.
As we have seen in recent elections and in the present pandemic, misinformation can do real harm. But the Canadian government’s plan to consider legislation to criminalize the spreading of misinformation is the wrong response. Criminalization will not stop misinformation. In fact, it often draws more attention to it, as well as undermines civil liberties and human rights essential in a democratic society.
By James L Turk / Posted Wednesday May 6, 2020
I want to first address the fundamental role and value of the public library in Canadian communities – its “value proposition,” grounded in intellectual freedom – and then make a case for intellectual freedom as the institutional soul of the public library. I will review the complexity of intellectual freedom as a boundary and balancing issue and comment on hate speech as a particularly contentious example, concluding with a call for the public library to brand itself as an intellectual freedom champion. (i)
For those of us who have young people in our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic can present a unique opportunity to engage them in exercises that focus on democracy. Whether those young people are stuck in your home with you, or are distanced from you and only reachable using some kind of media (including your basic telephone), you can spend a little of the rather too abundant time we now have asking and considering important questions.
On March 19th, the Executive of the General Faculties Council at the University of Alberta took the unusual step of acting on delegated authority, at a special meeting, to refuse to grant students letter grades for their Winter 2020 courses. The plan, instead, was for students to receive only a CR (credit) or NC (no credit) notation on their transcripts.
The justice system is facing unprecedented challenges. Like almost every other sector of society, the new realities of province-wide “social distancing” have raised fundamental questions about whether — and perhaps even how — courts and tribunals can continue to function in the age of the pandemic.
By Justin Safayeni / Posted Tuesday March 31, 2020
As a parent of a small child, I’ve been to immunization clinics quite a bit over the past two years. During every visit, I’m curious to ask the public health nurses about the giant elephant in the room, at least as someone who researches freedom of expression issues: How do you satisfy your public health mandate at a time when vaccine skepticism or hesitancy seems to be on the rise?
The news on the coronavirus are dominating our newscasts so much that many other stories are being neglected. That’s natural. But some stories, like Waterfront Toronto’s relationship with Google sister company, Sidewalk Labs, planning the Toronto waterfront “smart city” project, were being neglected for many months before the virus struck.
Roman Polanksi’s back in the news again, this time because of the 12 César Academy nominations he received for his latest film, An Officer and a Spy. Outrage ensued, as it always does, whenever the fugitive director receives any recognition for his work. In response to the criticism, the entire César Academy Board resigned last week.
While some may view this as a #metoo victory, I wonder if we have allowed punitive impulses to misplace our priorities.
By Ummni Khan / Posted Wednesday February 19, 2020