Freedom of Expression: Guidance for Event Organizers

Members of the McMaster community are reminded about the guidance document for Event Organizers prepared by the University administration following a process of consultation over the last academic year. Originally launched in June, the Freedom of Expression, Protest and Dissent: Guidance for Event Organizers and Participants document is intended to safeguard free expression by helping to 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 guidance document also sets out McMaster’s fundamental commitment to freedom of expression for all members of our community, and our aspiration to be a place where respectful, meaningful discourse and discussion can occur and where diverse viewpoints can be can be advanced in a spirit of inclusiveness and academic integrity.

As noted previously, the University administration will monitor the ongoing effectiveness 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: The University is also reviewing the guidance document in light of the recent provincial government announcement emphasizing the importance of free speech.