Quebec tables bill on academic freedom, says no words off-limits in lecture halls

Yes, context matters:

Quebec’s higher education minister says legislation tabled today would allow “any word” to be uttered in university classrooms as long as it’s used in an academic context.

Danielle McCann told reporters Bill 32 is great news for Quebec students, including racialized students, because it preserves a high-quality learning environment in the province’s universities.

The bill draws on a committee report last December requested by the government in response to a scandal at University of Ottawa in 2020, when a professor was suspended for using the N-word during a class lecture.

At the time, Quebec Premier François Legault and Liberal Opposition Leader Dominique Anglade — who is Black — both said the university should have defended the professor for using the word in an academic context.

Bill 32 enshrines the right to teach, conduct research and share results, critique society and freely take part in the activities of professional university organizations.

The legislation requires universities to adopt an academic freedom policy and appoint a person responsible for implementing the policy.

The bill’s preamble defines academic freedom as “the right of every person to engage freely and without doctrinal, ideological or moral constraint in an activity through which the person contributes, in their field of activity, to carrying out the mission of such an educational institution.”

Source: Quebec tables bill on academic freedom, says no words off-limits in lecture halls

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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