By Peter Bowal, Professor of Business Law, University of Calgary[TheChristians.com] The University of Calgary wants its people to march in the September Pride Parade. Last year the invitations were dispatched in mid-April. This year we were beleaguered with six emails throughout the summer exhorting everyone to “show their true colours of courage” and “walk with us” in the Sunday morning pageantry.
VIDEO: [Munk Debates] Clip of self-described ‘leftie’ and Social Justice “Worrier” Stephen Fry arguing alongside Jordan Peterson that actions in the name political correctness simply do not work. Fry: “I believe one of the greatest human failings is to prefer to be right than to be effective and political correctness is always obsessed with how right it is.” [Sep. 19, 2018]
Now the university is taking names. Faculty, staff and students who spend their Sunday morning doing something else are not written in the Book of Courage.
They miss out on group photos, t-shirts and other swag which, in addition to all associated staff time, must be paid from compulsory student tuition fees and taxpayer money designated for post-secondary education. The university should not divert public money to a favourite social cause.
Pressure to march will increase as Pride Parades become battering rams. Today it’s free t-shirts, registration and ally status. Since there’s a Pride register, some day refusal to wave the rainbow flag may be cause for discipline.
The true colour of courage is not, as the university implies, in submitting to what is trending, but acting according to one’s conscience. What moralizing institutions start out to dictate as gestures of simple acceptance eventually become rituals of incessant celebration. Ultimately, everyone may be commanded to bow the knee in worship of all that is LBGTQ.
Criminalizing certain speech is a small step away from legally extracting certain other speech and convictions. When the state prohibits your hate of something, it will mandate your love of something. Last year’s federal summer jobs grant program that decreed strict allegiance to a social belief offers an example.
At the University of Calgary, we are closer to weaponizing pronouns and calling in the speech police. Woe to the university employee who, out of personal conviction, refuses to utter the ‘we are on indigenous land’ mantra at a public event.
Orientation is an annual opportunity for universities to convey what is important for students to best equip them for academic success. What were these freshers told this year? They were counselled that it is fine – actually hot – for men to wear skirts.
Albertans send their children to university for an education, not to transform into social justice warriors. Yet, students will be saturated in LBGTQ, decolonization, passions, globalism, intersectionality, environmentalism, consent, racism, patriarchy, rights, identity politics, mental health, diversity, organics, victimhood, non-binaryness, indigenization and outrage.
Their fears will be nourished with grossly exaggerated tropes about climate apocalypse, active shooters, white privilege, dirty oil, and psychological safe spaces. And narratives that men are presumptively predators and women their victims. The university defines any unwanted sexual attention or word as sexual violence. All accusers – “survivors” in woke language – well, they are just to be believed.
If all this indoctrination is supposed to enhance inclusion, it is not working well. Students confide to me how they loathe the feminist and leftist brainwashing. They see it in their classes too. They fear to speak against it.
In almost three decades on campus, I know their angst. The self-proclaimed university of diversity virtually never speaks for me in its sanctimony. Its diversity does not include me. I know silencing and marginalization. Ultimately, the university’s moral activism is about power, not inclusion and respect.
One’s conscience is as invisible as one’s sexual orientation. Both are equally binding. Governments, laws and institutions are wise to stop short of bending anyone’s conscience by force. I call for a ban on conscience conversion.
In early May, the Alberta government asked post-secondary institutions to develop free speech policies by mid-November. The benchmark is the so-called Chicago Principles, which reduce thus: “it is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” What is complicated about that?
The University of Calgary publicly claims to have “always been committed to fostering an environment of free inquiry, open debate and diversity of opinions.” Well, it has clearly acted otherwise.
With the spear tip of hostility pressing especially hard against conservative and Christian voices, the university does not always abide controversy or dissent. It banned pro-lifers from campus. It disowned and threw a faculty member under the bus when he uttered something that could be construed as controversial or offensive.
The University of Calgary prosecuted its own students for speaking out about an instructor and her course. It spent student tuition money to fight those students, arguing against their freedom of speech on campus. It lost in the courts. The safe spaces students need are protection from the wrath of powerful and sensitive academic administrators.
The University of Calgary struck a committee to study free speech. Three months after the government directive, the university was still “too early in the process to comment on that work.” Still nothing almost five months later. Why the struggle to enact a simple free speech policy?
Universities must not be in the business of inculcating their political ideologies in young adults. As long as they marinate their mission in social activism, their free speech dogmas will remain in books for sale in campus bookstores.