Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Concerned Conservative CEGEP Student

It has come to my attention recently that several of the posters and announcements displayed around the campus are not entirely appropriate and may even be offensive to some.
There are a few examples in particular which I would like to bring to your attention as perhaps not being unanimously acceptable. Firstly, I have seen a number of announcements near instructors’ offices which are decidedly pro-Palestinian and that cite an "Israeli Apartheid". While I fully understand that Marianopolis justifiably prides itself on freedom of speech and opinion as any educational institution should, I would also remind the instructors in question that the College has a substantial Jewish population and that words should be chosen carefully. What may seem perfectly acceptable to some can easily be offensive to others.
While the previous example is a concern, it is less so due to the fact that it expresses the opinion or view of an individual and not the College collectively. It is my understanding that any poster or message that is posted around the College needs to first gain some form of approval. For this reason, the following instances are much more concerning. For example, posters promoting a school trip to Cuba which are plastered all over campus bear Che Guevara’s image. While he has undoubtedly become a cult figure of sorts, with many wearing shirts and such depicting him as a hero, the truth is that Guevera orchestrated the deaths of thousands during his "revolution". Given this point, using pictures of him depicted as a sympathetic activist to promote a College-organized trip is, in my opinion, deplorable and offensive. I am not aware of who created these posters or more importantly who approved them, but to me this represents either a grave error in judgement or a fundamental lack of knowledge.
Furthermore, there are posters on campus which call for a halt to the deportation of American war deserters to the United States. To be clear, these are not "draft dodgers", but voluntarily conscripted soldiers who consciously broke the law by deserting their corps. Most recently, I noticed a new poster which was basically a manifesto claiming that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were devised and executed by the American government, in other words asserting that the Bush administration intentionally murdered its own citizens. Once again, these seem to me to be clear oversights which, though they may cater to the agendas of those who felt it necessary to promote them in the first place, are simply insensitive and offensive.
As a student at Marianopolis, I would like to nevertheless declare that I am proud and content to study at what I believe to be a first-rate institution. I am simply attempting to point out a trend which I believe to be worrisome. I am not seeking to bring some kind of censorship to the College, as this would defy my deep belief in the principles of free speech. As I mentioned, I believe faculty and students alike should be able to voice their opinions freely. Hopefully, what can be avoided is the situation becoming extremely one-sided, in which case I believe some could infer that the College itself may have a particular political agenda. What is troublesome to me is the fact that many of the posters and such that I have mentioned are approved by the College and to a certain extent this signifies an endorsement. What I would suggest for the future is that anyone who is involved in creating or approving these messages ensure that they have practiced some form of due diligence. This should include being fully informed about what exactly is being approved as well as ensuring that it is acceptable, if not necessarily agreeable, to everyone on campus.
Thank you for your time. Should you wish to contact me I have provided my address however a message through Omnivox is likely more convenient. I appreciate that you are certainly very busy and realize that a response may not be immediately possible, though any reply would be appreciated.


  1. I wonder what the author means by "some form of due diligence". The term "Israeli Apartheid," outrageous and counterfactual as it is, expresses a point of view that forms part of the continuing debate on Canadian campuses. The question is whether counterparts in the debate are truly free to use the same level of rhetoric in response. Will campuses tolerate posters about "Arab Genocide"? Although most victims of Arab terrorist groups have been fellow Arabs, groups like Hamas make no bones about their intentions to inflict death upon Israeli citizens, and to "drive the Jews into the sea"

    "Israeli Apartheid" and other inflammatory hyperbole shed more heat than light, and so I disdain their use, but it is necessary to defend the right to free expression, especially when it’s obnoxious. The main threat to free debate on campuses is the uneven application of restrictions on political expression, and the fact that the decision rests in the hands of people who are hardly impartial or well-informed. More importantly, they make those decisions in a process that lets them follow their noses.

    Until that changes, I'll continue to hold mine.

  2. The fact of the matter is that, no, such counter-arguments would not be tolerated on campus. An anti-Islamist/Fundamentalist/Terrorist poster would have a snowball's chance in hell of being approved at such institutions. Though groups such as Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups openly cite that they will do everything in their power to murder Jewish/American/Western women and children regularly, any form of public criticism would be immediately shot down as Islamophobia. It is simply easier, and apparently more popular to condemn and slander Israel and America and get away with it. Meanwhile, Islamofascism is the real threat, and it is no longer only Islamists who are practicing it.