Earlier this month, Lindsay Shepherd, a TA at Wilfrid Laurier University was brought into a meeting with her superiors to be corrected. Her “crime” was that she showed a news segment to her class showcasing Professor Jordan B. Peterson. Peterson is a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto who is openly opposed to the idea of compelled speech pertaining to pronoun usage towards transgender people, which is enforced by Bill C16 from the House of Commons in Canada. Shepherd recorded this meeting, posted it online, and the recording has now become the talking point for those involved with the discussion of political correctness on university campuses. This recording and the discussion surrounding this event is pertinent to all Universities, so as to not commit the same wrongs that Wilfrid Laurier has.
There are many things to learn from the recording alone. The biggest red flag is that you have academic superiors posturing, slandering, and equating Professor Jordan Peterson’s values of free speech, to the values held by Adolf Hitler while chastising this TA. The academics that did the correcting clearly had no idea what the ideas of Jordan Peterson are and were intellectually dishonest in their portrayal of his ideas. They claim that Peterson’s views are “problematic” as well as “transphobic.” An audacious claim, considering they don’t even back it up through reasoning or evidence. Nothing about Peterson’s views suggest a fear or hatred toward trans people. Instead, his argument against forced pronoun usage is based on ideas of freedom, enlightened by influential writers like Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who spent years of his life in a gulag, oppressed by the radical left wing politics of the Soviet Union.
The assertion that Jordan Peterson’s ideas are academically dishonest is frankly laughable, considering that the claim itself is rooted in false suppositions about who Peterson really is. Peterson cites many sources and psychological studies to back up the reasoning behind his beliefs. If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to watch some of Peterson’s lectures on his YouTube channel, and see if you can find evidence that refutes my claim to that.
Wilfred Laurier University has since apologized due to the backlash they have received since the release of Shepherd’s recording. Many people online and offline have since condemned the behavior of the involved staff members.
Misrepresentations of Jordan B. Peterson’s views aside, the fact that Ms. Shepherd was brought in for correction after essentially showing both sides of a debate, is absolutely shameful for a University. If there is a public discourse in society, then both sides must be represented equally in the hopes to find the truth, and if the search for truth is not a core tenant of universities, then I don’t know what is.
The raising of a single political view to the rank of unquestionable is the sign of a rising tyranny, and I point to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia as historical examples of why that is the case. This is an important issue that everyone involved in Universities should be aware of. It is in the best interest for everyone that Universities maintain a better standard for free speech and equal representation of substantiated ideas. If any of you at CSU have encountered some of the same Orwellian treatment that Shepherd has, please share your experience with us by contacting us via our email.