SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: January 10, 2023

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):McGill University

Region & Country:Americas | Canada

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 10, 2023, McGill University cancelled a speaking event held by Robert Wintemute, a lawyer and professor at King’s College London. The event was cancelled due to a protest by trans rights activists.

The Faculty of Law’s Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism hosted the event, titled “The Sex vs. Gender (Identity) Debate In the United Kingdom and the Divorce of LGB from T.”  

Protesters charged Wintemute and the LGB Alliance, an English organization to which he is connected, with being anti-Trans – a charge he disputes. The event was canceled after protesters entered the venue, threw flour at Wintemute, and unplugged a projector he was using for his presentation.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the forcible cancellation of a campus event due to protesters’ disagreements with the speakers’ views. While the right of on-campus protesters to publicly express such disagreement must be protected, that right does not include the freedom to prevent others from speaking, or audiences on campus from receiving their messages. Rather, such expression must be conducted in a manner that is responsible and consistent with academic freedom and related university values. Forcible disruption of campus expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.

Sources:

https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/mcgill-speaker-s-talk-cancelled-after-trans-activists-protest-1.6224317 

https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/protest-by-trans-activists-forces-cancellation-of-mcgill-speech

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/mcgill-backlash-anti-trans-talk-1.6708251 

—————————————————————————————-

El 10 de enero de 2023, la Universidad McGill canceló una conferencia de Robert Wintemute, abogado y profesor del Kings College de Londres. El acto se canceló debido a una protesta de activistas por los derechos de las personas trans. El Centro de Derechos Humanos y Pluralismo Jurídico de la Facultad de Derecho organizó el acto, titulado El debate sexo frente a género (identidad) en el Reino Unido y la separación de LGB de T. Los manifestantes acusaron a Wintemute y a la LGB Alliance, organización inglesa a la que está vinculado, de ser antitrans, acusación que él niega. El acto se canceló después de que los manifestantes entraran en el local, arrojaran harina a Wintemute y desenchufaran un proyector que estaba utilizando para su presentación.

—————————————————————————————-

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is a member of the Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA), and partners with CAFA on Americas-focused monitoring activities. Relevant incidents, with factual details translated into Spanish, appear on both SAR and CAFA websites.

Scholars at Risk (SAR) es una institución que integra la Coalición por la Libertad Académica en las Américas (CLAA). SAR trabaja junto con la CLAA en el monitoreo de situaciones en las Américas. Los incidentes relevantes que reportamos, con descripción de hechos detallados en español, aparecen tanto en los portales de SAR como de la CLAA.