Canadian student who tore down ‘free speech wall’ defends his actions, views

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The Canadian student who wrecked a “Free Speech Wall” at Carleton University less than a day after it was installed continues to create headlines.

Before Arun Smith destroyed the wall — really a very large board wrapped in white paper — students had written messages on it such as “QUEERS ARE AWESOME,” “Obama Murders with Drones” and “traditional marriage is awesome.”

That last statement seems to be the one that aroused the violent ire of the gay rights activist.

On Wednesday, Smith appeared on Sun News, a Canadian news and opinion cable channel, to defend his previously expressed view that “not every opinion is valid, nor deserving of expression.”

The seventh-year undergrad, who spells his first name with an umlaut and has changed his major “a few times,” explained that he vandalized the wall erected by Carleton Students for Liberty to protect what he viewed as an inclusive, safe space — a building called the Unicentre.

When conservative media personality Ezra Levant asked Smith who gets to define bigotry on Sun News, Smith responded that “it’s a collective responsibility more than anything else.” However, Smith stipulated, mere democratic voting is not sufficient for such a determination.

“We have to operate on affect and harm to marginalized communities,” the human rights and sexuality major added.

Smith went on to describe his anti-free speech views at some length, frequently harping on his concern about “the context of the words.”

“Inclusive, safe spaces are not places where you can have unregulated free speech. Unregulated free speech is something that leads to hate speech every single time,” the human rights and sexuality major said.

“There’s a difference between sort of what we say colloquially — ‘I hate this,’ ‘I hate that’ — and what is fundamental hate speech, which is a form of oppression,” Smith carefully contrasted. “If I were to say ‘I hate bigots,’ that’s not hate speech and, you know, everyone in the world is willing to agree with me on that, and anyone who doesn’t probably should reexamine their personal convictions.”

Smith also assured viewers that there is “a difference between hate and oppression” and called himself a simultaneously powerful and powerless person.

Since Smith destroyed the original free speech wall, Carleton Students for Liberty have reportedly been constructing a new one.

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