Letter from the presidents: YOUR VOICE AND THE TASK FORCE
Laurier has been the center of a contentious debate pertaining to academic freedom and freedom of expression. Now that the University has publicized the composition of the Task Force on Freedom of Expression, the student body has an opportunity to directly contribute to this important discussion. As Presidents of your Union and Association, and student representatives on the task force, we have a duty to listen to our membership and ensure your perspectives are heard.
We want to acknowledge that the events of last week, and the subsequent discourse associated with this topic, has caused harm for some Laurier students. The dominant narrative surrounding this story has too often discounted the lived experiences of transgender and non-binary students, and as a result, questioned their very existence.
The principles of academic dialogue and freedom of expression are integral components of university learning. While debate is a productive tool of learning, it requires proper contextualization and intentional facilitation by instructors and teaching assistants. In this environment students learn to think critically, understand the nuance of complicated topics, and listen to the perspectives of their classmates. Educational engagement with challenging material should not willfully incite hatred or violence.
Over the coming weeks and going into next semester, our goal is to facilitate sessions for students to ensure all voices are heard. We will then compile the feedback and articulate it to the committee to assist in the process of achieving their mandate.
This is a challenging time for many of us at Laurier but it is through this adversity, we can find our strength and can grow as a community.
Natalie Gleba, MBA., President & CEO,
Kanwar Brar, President & CEO,
Laurier Students’ Union