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Home » University News

Statement on Free Expression

Submitted by on 2019/11/27 – 8:30 am

In response to a letter from Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education to the Board of Governors of MacEwan University, the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic has developed a Free Expression on Campus policy.

All post-secondary institutions were asked to “…demonstrate their commitment to the principles of the Chicago Statement on Free Speech…,” by December 15, 2019. The current climate around matters of open enquiry, particularly in post-secondary institutions, necessitates the creation of formal policies concerning free expression at university campuses. We believe this policy will strengthen and protect the university’s academic community as well as its reputation.

MacEwan’s Free Expression on Campus Policy reflects the eight key principles of the Chicago Statement as required and is supported by MacEwan’s Statement of Free Expression (see below), which was reviewed and approved by the government on November 7, 2019. This statement will stand alone as a communication tool and can be found on the Discover MacEwan University > Our Priorities segment of MacEwan.ca. 

The Free Expression on Campus policy became effective immediately upon approval by the Board of Governors on November 13, 2019.

Statement on Free Expression 

An Undergraduate University in Alberta’s post-secondary system that has established its commitment to academic freedom in the collective agreement negotiated with its Faculty Association, MacEwan University extends to its community a further commitment to open enquiry. The University neither seeks to shield the community from a full range of views nor permits interference with the free expression of ideas, except where such speech violates the law, defames an individual, constitutes harassment or a genuine threat, invades privacy, or breaches confidentiality. 

MacEwan University is a place of free and open enquiry. All members of its community—its faculty, its staff, and its students, acting in an individual capacity or as members of a group—have the right to express themselves freely, as do all visitors to campus. They have the right to speak, to write, to listen, to challenge, and to learn. While some people may find specific opinions unwelcome or even offensive, a university is the appropriate venue for all points of view to be tested through the scrutiny brought by discussion and debate. MacEwan University will not restrict the time, place, or manner of lawful conduct, except where it threatens to disrupt the ordinary activities of the institution. Individual members of the University community, and not MacEwan University itself, must judge the validity of ideas that have been shared and, where warranted, contest those ideas in a spirit of mutual respect, rather than seek to suppress free expression. Through rigorous exchange, some points of view will be validated, and other points of view will be discredited. 

The University recognizes that free expression is essential to the pursuit of knowledge. All members of the MacEwan community and all visitors to campus are expected to uphold the free expression of other people while following the applicable policies of the University and the relevant legal responsibilities by which the institution is bound.

Dr. Craig Monk
Provost & Vice-President, Academic