A teacher’s assistant in Canada was recently in trouble for showing a debate to her communications students. According to the school, “showing a debate is ‘legitimizing’ a view that threatens trans students.”
Wilfrid Laurier University takes its roll in promoting a safe environment for its trans students seriously. The TA, Lindsay Shepherd, was called into the office for a formal panel meeting with her supervising professor Nathan Rambukkana, administrator Adria Joel, and professor Herbert Pimlott for daring to give her students a little access to different viewpoints.
The TVOntario debate featured the University of Toronto Psychology Prof. Jordan Peterson, whose popularity soared a year ago after he said the new gender identity discrimination law (C-16) “would be used to punish people for ‘misgendering’ others.” Shepherd said the class had been studying the use of pronouns in speech and felt the debate was a useful teaching tool.
Canada’s National Post Columnist Jen Gerson described the video thusly:
During the hour-long debate, first aired in 2016, Peterson’s main antagonist, a gender studies professor at the University of Toronto, argues that Peterson’s refusal to use people’s preferred pronoun was tantamount to abuse, violence and hate speech. Peterson’s response — that it would soon be considered unacceptable to even host a debate, as TVO did — proved prescient.
Rambukkana told Shepherd that by showing the video, she was creating an “unsafe learning environment” and “toxic climate” for very young adults who don’t have the critical toolkit to hear such ideas and debates.
Imagine a college full of impressionable students too inept to be able to view and intelligently debate such a program. Shepherd, who proudly claims to be a leftist, said she didn’t feel it was her responsibility to “comfort [students] and make sure they are insulated from this” debate:
Prof. Pimlott said Peterson was a “public figure” in the same sense as white nationalist Richard Spencer, and neither’s ideas have “academic credibility.”
When a self-proclaimed leftist argues against sheltering transgender people from “threatening” ideas, it’s shocking. Perhaps she doesn’t lean to the left as far as she thinks; this type of restriction is what we on the right have been fighting for ages.
Shepherd argued that the school did not have the right to shut down the opposition. She was right. Debates are healthy and provide listeners, viewers, and participants the opportunity to become more informed on serious topics. Pretty soon, we will no longer be able to have a debate about anything because the left is fast-tracking a way to make sure no other opinion but their own will be tolerated.
It is insulting that a college would claim their students do not have the intelligence (“critical toolkit”) to listen to two views on a topic. What does this say about that school? What does it say about the “educated” individuals we will be sending out into society?