Some suggest that Canadians recently got an inside look at the cultural Marxism that is dominating many universities across Canada and the US where students and those in authority are trying to stop any views that dissent with the prevailing left-wing agenda.
Lindsay Shepherd is a 22-year-old graduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She also teaches a class at the university but was called before a tribunal because she shared a dissenting opinion in her class.
Fortunately, Lindsay had the presence of mind to tape this interview so Canadians could have a first-hand look on what is becoming common place on university campuses that seem less concerned with teaching students how to think and more interested in telling them what to think.
In her class, Shepherd was talking about the use of non-gendered pronouns that is becoming a controversial topic on university campuses. The discussion is often centered around people who are transitioning from one sex to another.
As an example, some are insisting they should no longer be referred to as he or she, but other terms that do not reflect sex. As part of this discussion, others are even suggesting that the pronoun ‘they’ traditionally used in the plural now be used in the singular because it does not designate sex.
As part of her class, Shepherd played two short videos that talked about both sides of this argument. But it was a short three-minute video by University of Toronto professor Dr Jordan Peterson, who disagrees with the “forced” usage of non sexual pronouns that he believes is coming in through recent government legislation, that got Shepherd into trouble.
Apparently someone complained that playing this video made them feel uncomfortable. Shepherd was immediately hauled in before a three-person tribunal for questioning. This included two professors, Nathan Rambukkana and Herbert Pimlott, and a representative of the Gendered Violence Prevention and Support program.
Lindsay explained that she simply played the video as part of the class discussion and admitted she didn’t even necessarily agree with Petersen’s position but was neutrally trying to show both sides of the issue.
She said it resulted in an interesting discussion in class on pronoun usage trends.
But what concerned the tribunal is that Shepherd didn’t denounce Peterson’s views. They said she needed to first discredit Peterson’s remarks that were actually part of a debate that took place on TVO, a TV station run by the Ontario government.
One professor said by not denouncing Peterson, Shepherd was “neutrally playing a speech by Hitler.” For the record: one is a university professor questioning the use of pronouns and the other is a mass murderer that slaughtered millions in concentration camps, just so we understand the difference.
Incredibly, Shepherd stood her ground and said it was an issue of free speech and no one should have their feelings hurt by a brief discussion on differing opinions of pronoun usage.
Once the full tape of this meeting was released to the press, people were shocked by what took place in that interrogation room at Wilfrid Laurier. Newspaper columns and TV stories across the country and even outside Canada denounced it as a blatant effort to shutdown free speech.
Ironically, in the meeting one of the professors said that universities were being castigated as bastions of ‘cultural Marxism’ and that was wrong. But many looked at this meeting as blatant evidence it actually exists because of the intimidation tactics used to stop this young woman from simply sharing a different opinion.
After hearing the tape, Wilfrid Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy issued an apology to Shepherd, as did Nathan Rambukkana who participated in the meeting with Shepherd.
Since she spoke out about the issue, Shepherd has received hundreds of emails of support from Waterloo alumni and others expressing shock over what they heard. Many are saying they will no longer be making donations to the university and other suggested they will not encourage their kids to attend that university.
Several Laurier professors have since launched a petition calling for full freedom of expression at the university and referred to Shepherd’s interrogation as “oppressive treatment.”
But this problem is not just reserved to Laurier’s hallowed halls I want to close with a quote by Margaret Wente from her column in the Globe and Mail:
Every senior administrator and every governor at every campus in the county should listen to it and ask themselves how far this rot has spread.
- How universities killed free speech: Calgary Sun
- Wilfrid Laurier graduate student delivers a wake-up call: Globe and Mail
- Christie Blatchford: Here’s where Laurier can stick their apology to Lindsay Shepherd: National Post
Below are several videos produced on the incident:
In the first video, University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson reacts to the Wilfrid Laurier incident:
Two media interviews with Lindsay Shepherd:
An interview with a university professor on how the left is trying to shout down dissenting opinions on university campuses:
A statement by Lindsay Shepherd after the incident:
The full leaked audio interview: