Freedom of Expression: Guidance for Event Organizers


Earlier in the year, the McMaster community was invited to review and provide feedback on the guidelines for event organizers prepared in response to one of the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Protest and Freedom of Expression . The report and guidelines generated a diverse range of helpful and thoughtful feedback and commentary, which was collated by the University Secretariat.

All the feedback has now been carefully reviewed and an updated guidance document for event organizers has been prepared by the University administration. The guidance is intended to help make sure that all voices have the opportunity to be heard and that dissenting or opposing views can be expressed. The document sets out the responsibilities of event organizers when planning events of a potentially controversial nature, and aspires to set a tone that is respectful and inclusive of the entire campus community. Event organizers are encouraged to consider the potential impact of their event on other individuals or groups and to work with the University so that any necessary measures or supports can be put in place.

The updated guidance document has been reorganized and now includes headings to assist with navigation; the responsibilities and roles of various groups have been more clearly outlined; the fundamental commitment section has been revised to include specific acknowledgement of the power imbalance that exists within our community; the language around discrimination and harassment has been tightened to be consistent with Canadian law; and further information regarding the support services available within the University has been added.

The University administration will monitor the ongoing operation of the guidance, with the support of the Associate Vice-President (Equity and Inclusion), and further adjustments will be made as appropriate. Comments or feedback are welcome and can be provided at any time:

A reminder about the existence and purpose of the guidance document will be provided to the campus community closer to the start of the new academic year.





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