Education

College Responds To Hosting Panel On Free Speech By Canceling It

Ryerson University canceled a panel Wednesday dedicated to discussing the silencing of free speech on college campuses, citing “campus safety.”

The Canadian school canceled “The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses,” an Aug. 22 panel featuring three doctors and a pro-free speech journalist, citing a prioritization of “campus safety” over free speech “in light of recent events,” according to correspondence obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Social justice activists set up a Facebook page entitled “No Fascists in Our City!” to protest the event. The page’s header image depicted a swastika crossed out.

“Fascists are planning to meet on August 22nd at Ryerson University to discuss how to avoid what they call ‘SJW’ Culture,” the protest description reads. “Tickets are being sold for $20 and frankly it makes us virulently ill … Considering the rise of Nationalism here and abroad we need to show these people and their guests that we will not tolerate their backward nonsense in our city.”

Approximately 500 individuals signed up for the protest, with nearly 2,000 others stating that they were interested. Sarina Singh, a Ryerson graduate who was hosting the free speech event, received a call from Ryerson Wednesday morning informing her of the event’s cancellation.

“The reason cited was security concerns and safety of the community,” Singh told TheDCNF.

Singh noted that people from the U.S. had planned on attending the event, and that some people were taking time off work to attend.

“I made three requests, suggested getting Toronto police involved for safety, [but the university] told me my event was canceled PERMANENTLY,” the event organizer said.

“There is often a tension at universities resulting from our commitment to be a place for free speech and our commitment to be a place that is civil, safe, and welcoming,” Michael Forbes, a communications officer for Ryerson, told TheDCNF. “In light of recent events, Ryerson University is prioritizing campus safety.”

The free speech panelists expressed disappointment with backlash to the event and the university’s decision.

“[Progressive activists] were calling me a Nazi, a fascist, and an anti-Semite,” Dr. Gad Saad, a Concordia University marketing professor and one of the panelists, told TheDCNF. “I’m Jewish. So, they’ve lost the plot. It’s a form of lunacy that’s difficult to diagnose.”

Saad, who had already booked a flight and hotel for the now-canceled event, termed the social justice activists’ behavior “ostrich parasitic syndrome,” stating that they denied reality and behaved as though their brains were turned into mush.

“Apparently supporting freedom of speech makes you a Nazi these days,” Saad told TheDCNF. “I think our existence is now hate speech … that I exist as an independent person who spews his thoughts freely is an affront to those who wish to control me … Orwell couldn’t have come up with the realities that we’re facing today.”

Saad noted that people who express incorrect opinions get beheaded in the Middle East. He said that while the West was not yet at that stage, activists could “do the next best thing” and go after a speaker’s livelihood, reputation, and platform to speak. He suggested that “cowardice is the eighth deadly sin,” and that universities did not possess the “effort, courage, and testicular fortitude” to stand up to those trying to silence speech.

“You never pacify thuggery. You don’t pacify someone who’s trying to rape you. These people are intellectual terrorists. They’re rapists of truth,” Saad added.

“Reason is dead and the accursed university campus is to blame,” Faith Goldy, another panelist and journalist for The Rebel Media, told TheDCNF. “To those who shut us down: Programmed cowards, your victory is counterfeit. To those who stand with us: May your passion for truth be matched by your bravery during these dark days, characterizing a civilization in decline.”

TheDCNF reached out to the remaining two panelists, University of Toronto Professor Jordan B. Peterson and clinical psychologist Oren Amitay, but received no comment in time for press.

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