I was interviewed by Sierra Bien of Ryerson’s independent student newspaper The Eye Opener concerning free speech on campus in context of the upcoming event sponsored by the Canadian Association for Equality, which will feature men’s advocate and YouTube sensation Karen Straughan (aka GirlWritesWhat).
I have reported extensively on CAFE events thus far, and especially over the last few days. Here are the relevant articles if anyone needs a recap:
- The University of Toronto: cradle of a revolution
- Today and tomorrow: showdown in Toronto town
- Fearing more criminal Feminist protests, Ryerson U fines organization sponsoring men’s speaker Karen Straughan $1,600 “security fee.” My email to administrators.
- Success: in wake of resistance, Ryerson U withdraws discriminatory “security fee” for men’s advocates on campus
- Realizing their ideas can’t compete in a free world, Feminists resort to censorship yet again
- Today: livestream of Karen Straughan speaking on men’s issues at Ryerson University
I was glad to see that the piece was more balanced than I expected. My interviewer decided to interview several people from both sides, rather than just one men’s advocate and many Feminists, as some publications do when they are writing a hit piece.
Some information in the article was incorrect. I commented on the article, but at present it is stuck in moderation. Just in case, I have copied and pasted it below. But first, here is The Eye Opener’s article, titled “The CAFE came back”:
The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) will be sponsoring a speaker to come to Ryerson Feb. 6, but will be charged $1,800 for hosting their event, “Are Men Obsolete?” Ryerson is charging CAFE a security fee after chaotic protests broke out at past events at the University of Toronto.
CAFE focuses on raising awareness to men’s issues on university campuses, trying to show an alternative perspective to gender inequality.
In the past, CAFE has been accused of promoting hate speech towards women. The group has been charged security fees before at the University of Toronto, according to Iain Dwyer, a spokesperson for CAFE and a Ryerson graduate.
“Obviously we’re not happy to pay for security when we’re not the ones causing trouble,” Dwyer said. Dwyer understands Ryerson’s stance but says that there haven’t been protestors at their past two or three events.
This will be CAFE’s first event at Ryerson, but Dwyer says it has a goal to create a group at Ryerson sometime in the future.
The event will feature Karen Straughan (commonly known by her online username Girl WritesWhat), whom was also a regular on an American-based website, A Voice For Men (AVFM). “It seems rather one-sided and unfair,” said Jonathan Taylor, founder of AVFM.
According to Taylor, protestors in the past created human barricades around the building where the event was held and have pulled fire alarms, forcing people to exit the building.
Last year, the RSU changed their policies for campus groups before a similar gender equality group could be formed at Ryerson. There were claims that the group had affiliations with CAFE and AVFM.
“It’s unfortunate that they’ve been given space on campus,” said Melissa Palermo, Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) president. Former RSU president Rodney Diverlus was concerned the organization was a hate group and led the unanimous decision to block its official recognition.
The CAFE event will take place at 7 p.m. at the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education in the Peter Bronfman Room.
And here is my response:
Thanks to The Eye Opener for the interview and for this article. I should let the editors and readers know that I am not the founder of A Voice for Men, however. Paul Elam is. I’m the founder of the website A Voice for Male Students (AVFMS).
If readers would like to observe the string of criminal activity on the part of protesters (most of whom were Feminists), I have prepared a compilation of sorts in both article and video format, linked here:
The Ryerson Student Union also blocked the formation of a men’s issues group led by women on the grounds that – ironically – the group did not “center women’s voices in the struggle for gender equality.” Of course, the voices being censored were indeed the voices of women, so that was not their real offense. No, their true offense was using their voices as women to advocate the well-being of men and boys, something the “champions of tolerance” in the RSU couldn’t find room to tolerate.
The Eye Opener wrote an article about it here: http://theeyeopener.com/2013/03/new-rsu-policy-challenges-new-mens-issues-group/
It is something we find all too common among Feminists and their friends: they claim to advocate for women’s voices, but are often themselves the quickest to silence, negate, and suppress women’s voices when they do not conform to narrow-minded and often extremely biased Feminist politics.
It was once understood by those who call themselves progressive (in the true sense of the word) that in a pluralistic society we are not always going to hear opinions we agree with. If the RSU leadership actually practiced the values they preach, they would not be the reactionary, intolerant, narrow-minded zealots we know them as today.
The RSU leadership attempts to rationalize its actions by claiming that freedom of speech and intellectual diversity should be stamped out of existence when it veers into advocating hatred. They then misguidedly assume they have a monopoly on deciding what hate is, while also assuming they are immune from those negative qualities themselves.
But there is significant room to question whether the narrow-mindedness, intolerance, and hatred is coming from organizations like CAFE – as the RSU falsely assumes – or whether it is coming from the RSU leadership itself.
I send this message to the RSU leadership, and those who think like them: if you are so concerned about what others have to say, then voice your own ideas in opposition. Oppose bad speech with better speech of your own.
If your ideas are so much better than those you disagree with, then yours should win the day. If you simply cannot do that, however, then it begs the question as to whether your ideas and worldview actually have as much credibility as you think, or whether your ideas and worldview are as consistent with the values you claim to advocate.
Remember: the event starts at 5PM central time, 7PM local time for attendees.