UW gets three C's and D in freedom report card (con't) 

Several professors, lawyers and one journalist sit on its advisory council.

The Campus Freedom Index report gives the university administration a C when it comes to policies respecting free speech and assembly, and a D when it comes to actual practices.

It gives the students union (the U of W Students’ Alliance) C's for both policies and practices.

Some 45 universities across the country were evaluated with only six getting A’s between universities and student associations.

In Ontario 73 per cent of universities had at least one F over the four categories.

The Centre broke the analysis down between university and student associations because the latter “act as independent and autonomous organizations” with policies and governance “separate” from university administration.

The Centre refers to the U of Windsor’s freedom of expression policies and Student Code of Conduct and Human Rights Policy.

But, it says, “the terminology used is subjective and open to interpretation (which could) enable content-based censorship of student speech.”

The university does have a Language Equity Policy and accompanying Guide and a Poster Policy.

But, says the report, the criteria for approved posters “is dangerous, and the Poster Policy therefore goes too far by enabling censorship of content of student literature and posters.”

As for university practices the report cites the cancellation of a Muslim Students Association film because it had potential “to incite anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bigotry.”

The report says “It is not clear whether the University’s international students’ advisor said that the event ought to be cancelled, or that the event must be cancelled."

In 2006 the university pub imposed a dress code banning clothing deemed to endorse “gang culture” and the university, after an investigation, called the policy “racist.”

But the student association “argued that the dress code was a ‘safety precaution’ against gang violence.”

As for student union policies, the report says the Students' Alliance's approaches to club funding “bestow blanket censorship powers” because it will only sponsor events “consistent with our mandate” and impose “any conditions on the event it deems prudent.”

The Alliance was also criticized for “imposing financial limits” on student election candidates’ spending, “effectively limiting” that person’s quantity of election materials.

The report adds, however, that it is “not aware” of the Students’ Alliance “censoring students because of their views.”


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