On Mar. 5, a protest erupted outside of Grant Hall at 4:00 p.m. in opposition to a lecture delivered by controversial University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson and Queen’s Professor Bruce Pardy.
Of the roughly 150 people who attended the protest, most exercised peaceful demonstration. However, several individuals engaged in or incited the destruction of property. Several Kingston police officers arrived at the scene of the protest.
Roughly 20 minutes into the lecture, protesters outside hit the stained glass windows and doors outside of Grant Hall. They also chanted “why are you hiding?” and “let us in.”
One protester broke a stained glass window after they repeatedly hit it with their hand – Queen’s Campus Security confirmed the individual wasn’t a Queen’s student. Following the incident, blood could be seen on the shattered window.
Blood seen on shattered Grant Hall stained glass window. Photo by Iain Sherriff Scott
Former Queen’s student Jonathan Shepherd attended the protest and told The Journal he was “really impressed by the turnout.”
“There is a lot of commitment out here for trans rights and for shutting down the conspiratorial hate speech of Jordan Peterson – I’m really happy to see that happening,” Shepherd said. “The protest has been successful in letting people know that even if we didn’t stop him from talking, we’ve let it be known that we are opposed to him speaking.”
Protester bangs on Grant Hall door during protest. Photo by Iain Sherriff Scott
An organizer of the protest told The Journal, “we’re here to protest Jordan Peterson being given a platform at Queen’s University. Jordan Peterson, aside from not knowing what he’s talking about vis-a-vis the law, Peterson tends to incite hatred wherever he goes.”
“It’s not a discussion about the toppings you like on pizza,” they continued. “It’s a discussion of which people should be considered human, which people to respect and that’s not a debate that should happen anywhere.”
One protester was dressed as a lobster in reference to Peterson’s latest book. In 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Peterson writes that people should “embrace their inner lobster.” The protestor told The Journal, “[Peterson] says he’s a free speech warrior, but everything he says has been said before and frankly, in a shorter amount of time. I can’t watch one of his videos, it’s an hour long and he says maybe two things, it’s ridiculous.”
Another individual attending the protest told The Journal, “it seems like we have a lot of very angry people here, because someone is expressing an idea different than their own. Here at a university, I thought that was the point to expose people to new ideas, who wouldn’t otherwise come in contact with them.”
Towards the end of the lecture, protesters blocked the front and back entrances of Grant Hall. While several individuals barricaded the back entrance with garbage containers, one protester yelled “lock ‘em in and burn it down.” The comment was met with applause.
Protesters barricade back exit to Grant Hall. Photo by Iain Sherriff Scott
Because the exits were blocked by protesters, event-goers had to exit the lecture through Kingston Hall. Protestors met the Liberty Lecture attendees in the hallway and yelled “shame” as people exited.
Jordan Peterson tweeted about the protest following the event: “Constant protest at Queen’s U during my discussion with Prof Bruce Pardy. Dozens of people banging on the stained glass windows like barbarians at the gate.”
“The protesters banged in droves on the glass for the entire 90 minutes. The besieged crowd stayed absolutely civil and calm and asked very solid questions,” he tweeted.
Peterson also described being “accosted by a small in your face group of angry screaming individuals” who followed him and others to the parking lot after the event had finished.
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