- James Kitchen, lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
- David Clement, libertarian and North American Affairs Manager with Consumer Choice Center
- Faith Goldy, former commentator with Rebel Media (note: this event was cancelled by a protestor pulling the fire alarm and never proceeded)
- Dr. Frances Widdowson, Marxist-socialist and associate professor at Mount Royal University, Calgary
- Andrew Lawton, writer and former candidate for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives
LSOI’s next event is set to be Wed. October 24th, 7pm-8:30pm, on the Wilfrid Laurier University campus. The topic is “Does Trans Activism Negatively Impact Women’s Rights?”, and the presenter is the founder and editor of Feminist Current, Meghan E. Murphy. Feminist Current is Canada’s leading feminist website.
However, to host this talk about women’s rights, which will be presented by a left-leaning feminist, Wilfrid Laurier University is charging the Laurier Society for Open Inquiry $8,055 CAD. Yes, that’s right, $8,055 to discuss human rights and feminism on a university campus.
Many try to frame the free speech on campus debate as a left vs. right or liberal vs. conservative issue, but this is simply not the case. Wilfrid Laurier University charged LSOI $5,331 to host leftist professor Frances Widdowson back in May 2018, which LSOI was able to successfully crowdfund through GoFundMe in 24 hours (thank you to all you wonderful and generous people who donated from all across the world!). Now, WLU has upped the ante, and are charging $8,055 for LSOI to host a leftist feminist writer who has an M.A. in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. We won't let them intimidate and stifle us.
The university charges LSOI excessive fees because they want us to have to pay for others’ ability to protest. The university is saying that LSOI, a group genuinely interested in hearing ideas from across the political spectrum, must use our own funds to pay for others to threaten our event! It is simply unjust.
When Wilfrid Laurier University has been previously confronted about their censorious security fees, they often try to diverge from the issue by pointing out that LSOI is not an “official” student group. This is true, but not because LSOI was denied by the student union or anything like that. At WLU, only undergraduate students can be executives and members of official student clubs. Graduate students do not have their own clubs, and they cannot hold positions within undergraduate clubs. Due to this bureaucratic overlook on WLU's part, and seeing as LSOI President Lindsay Shepherd and many other members are graduate students, we could not apply for official club status. However, we are obviously deeply rooted in the Laurier community – that is the school we formed out of.
Charging a student-based group $8,055 to host a talk about women’s rights is morally reprehensible and unprincipled.
We would be so thankful if you can contribute anything to help us pay this $8,055 ransom. LSOI strongly believes we need to keep the spirit of free speech and open inquiry alive in our universities, and radical protestors should NOT be allowed to shut down politically incorrect views through their threats and violence. Unfortunately, universities enable these protestors, and we must do everything we can to succeed despite the obstacles they put us through.
Thank you so much.
Without your support, Wilfrid Laurier University would succeed in stifling open inquiry.
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