Why Queen’s was wrong to tear down the wall

“The first thing to note in response to these considerations is that whatever offensive remarks the poster contained, they were situated in the context of the free-speech wall. Though those who inscribed them might have meant them, the Students for Liberty didn’t, at least not necessarily. The wall was a piece of politics, or art, or theatre. Or it was an experiment, a piece of research.

For that reason, removing it against the will of those who erected it is nothing like erasing offensive graffiti. It is more like closing down a play or a peaceful demonstration or a science project, one that had already received a permit.

The argument that suppressing hate speech is permitted in Canada won’t wash, for no matter how hateful some of the contributions to the wall might have been, the wall itself wasn’t hate speech but the protected expression of the Students for Liberty.

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