A university in Canada has canceled a planned event called “The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses.” Ryerson University cited safety concerns for its decision in the wake planned protests against the panel discussion.
The National Post reports that the Aug. 22 event was to host Professor Jordan Peterson, “who rose to prominence after refusing to use students’ preferred pronouns, and journalist Faith Goldy, who works for the far-right Rebel Media. Behavioural scientist Gad Saad and psychologist Oren Amitay rounded out the roster.”
The main opposition to the event was a counter protest called “No Fascists in Our City!” Their Facebook page states that “considering the rise of Nationalism here and abroad we need to show these people and their guests that we will not tolerate their backward nonsense in our city.”
The protesters also reportedly worked with the university’s student government to pressure administrators.
Christeen Elizabeth, one of the organizers of the protest, told the Post: “Transphobia is violence, Islamophobia is violence. Violence is contextual. … We can’t be complicit in this.”
The “no fascists” Facebook page was updated after the cancellation announcement to add: “Everyone!!! We got this shut down! Let’s CELEBRATE! And then we’re still going to rally because the fight is not over. Stay tuned for further updates as we learn more. The people united will never be defeated!”
In an email to the Post, Ryerson spokesman Michael Forbes said the event was shut down because campus officials could not keep everyone safe.
“After a thorough security review, the University has concluded that Ryerson is not equipped to provide the necessary level of public safety for the event to go forward,” according to the statement. “In light of recent events, Ryerson University is prioritizing campus safety.”
Responding to the news on Twitter, Professor Peterson said that “We will reschedule. Certainly. Make no mistake about it. In a bigger location, with more people. Details later.”