Freedom of Speech group criticizes UBC for charging Jenn Smith backers 'security fees' - 2019-07-13
Universities have an obligation to protect students, especially those from minority groups and are compelled to act in cases of hate speech. But critics say it is now unclear where the line between the uncomfortable and the unacceptable now lies.
In July, the University of British Columbia (UBC), in line with their booking policy, took an outside group's booking for a talk from controversial anti-SOGI critic Jenn Smith. UBC made clear it did not always agree with "speakers controversial views" when accepting a booking but did so in the spirit of freedom of expression. The talk was picketed and then disrupted by protestors. A week later, UBC learned it had been barred by the Vancouver Pride Society from the city's LGBTQ+ celebrations due to the booking going ahead.
In response, they acknowledged the event had upset some of their members, "UBC is deeply committed to the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion. We are aware that community members (particularly trans and non-binary students, faculty and staff) were personally affected by the June event. UBC remains committed to finding more ways to maintain a respectful environment for everyone in our community."