March 27, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Educational freedom: Classrooms are not “safe places”, a report concludes

Educational freedom: Classrooms are not "safe places", a report concludes

Classrooms are not “safe places” and all subjects are discussed there “without exception,” concluded the Commission, which is responsible for protecting educational freedom.

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The commission, which was formed after several episodes of tension between teachers and students, particularly over the use of the “N word” in the classroom, and led by former PQ minister Alexander Cloutier, submitted its report on Tuesday.

Lecture Hall

Archive photo by Pierre-Alexandre Maltais

She made several recommendations to the government to protect university freedom, including passing a law to define this concept. It is dedicated to it as a necessary condition for the achievement of the goal of the University.

Non-taxable “trauma warnings”

The “Independent Scientific and Technical Commission on Academic Freedom Recognition in Universities” also issues five “views” to organizations.

In particular, the use of “trauma warnings” by teachers before displaying specific potentially traumatic content depends on their choice, but is not imposed on them.

And all ideas and topics can be “rationalized and argued” in classes within specific limits.

“In the classroom, you are not there to insult anyone, you are not there to teach your class on topics that are not related to the subject of the lesson. You must clearly respect the minimum rules of good manners,” Commission Chairman Alexander Cloutier explained at a news conference.

In a faculty survey to document the phenomenon of censorship in universities, 60% of respondents said that for the past five years, some words have not been used in activity teaching.

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“It’s worrying and it’s not marginal, it’s harsh,” Alexander Cloutier commented.


According to him, it is imperative to provide a uniform definition of university freedom for all higher education institutions in Quebec. “This is the only way to ensure that there is real protection for university freedom in Quebec,” he said.

The law he proposed would provide for the establishment of “committees” in each university to hear disputes over freedom of education. Therefore, plaintiffs and victims have a place to make their arguments, argues Alexander Cloutier.

“As we speak, a situation arises in a university, heartfelt luck. The problem we have now is that it has variable geometry, ”he explains.

McCann responded

Responding to the submission of the report by Minister of Higher Education Daniel McConnell, he recalled that “academic freedom is an important condition for the health of our university environment.”

“I warmly welcome the Commission’s recommendations. We are going to analyze them and expose our government’s intentions soon, ”she said.

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