University, Kingston Police respond to Jordan Peterson protests

Kingston Police confirms individual who broke Grant Hall wasn’t a Queen’s student, has been arrested

Protesters outside Grant Hall on Monday.
Protesters outside Grant Hall on Monday. 

While Jordan Peterson and Bruce Pardy engaged in “The Rising Tide of Compelled Speech in Canada” lecture inside Grant Hall on Monday, around 150 protesters outside the building rallied against the talk with signs, shouts and distractions. The next day, Kingston Police released a statement confirming the arrest of one protester.

Prior to Monday, students and community members scheduled the anti-Peterson protest to denounce the contentious University of Toronto Professor for his views. Peterson has garnered controversy for criticizing Bill C-16 and refusing to use non-binary gender pronouns on the grounds of free speech.

According to the University, the lecture itself saw around 820 people in attendance.

Shortly after the lecture began, those inside the building heard a number of protesters pounding on the windows of Grant Hall, which continued until the end of Peterson and Pardy’s talk. Midway into the event, attendees heard one of the windows break — a result of particularly aggressive banging by one protester.

According to a Kingston Police public statement released on March 6, this protester was a 38-year-old woman. She was identified as not being a Queen’s student, nor a member of the University at large. At around 5:15 p.m., the woman stood on the outside ledge of the Grant Hall window and banged on it until it broke. She suffered a minor cut to her hand as a result.

The woman then left the protest, but Kingston police said they shortly detained her at University Avenue and Stuart Street. The statement details that uniformed officers arrived to assist at the scene, as the accused reportedly resisted arrest and became violent with officers, attempting to kick an officer and kick out a cruiser window after being handcuffed.

According to their statement, the accused was further uncooperative at police headquarters: she bit an officer and was carried to her cell as she continued to resist officers. Officers searched her backpack and discovered a concealed weapon: a metal wire with handles called a ‘garrote.’

According to police, the unidentified woman has been charged with “mischief, assault police, possession of a weapon for dangerous purpose, and carry concealed weapon.” She’s in custody waiting to attend a hearing for bail.

The University has also addressed the events of Monday evening. In a statement emailed to The Journal, Vice-Principal, Finance and Administration, Donna M. Janiec, wrote, “Queen’s remains committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus community that respects the values of free speech and the open, thoughtful debate of ideas.”

“The University also recognizes and respects people’s rights to peaceful, non-violent protest, and for that most part that is what was experienced at the lecture by Dr. Jordan Peterson,” Janiec continued. She described the crowd as “significant but manageable.”

She also addressed the actions of several protesters who placed containers in front of a set of Grant Hall exit doors. Janiec asserted the containers “posed no risk to safety as they were empty and were immediately moved aside by security.”

According to the email sent to The Journal, the school had developed a security plan with Campus Security and Emergency Services, as well as Kingston Police. Events were closely monitored to ensure the safety of all present. Janiec stated the security plan was intended to “both support the event and respond to incidents.”

Janiec commented that the event was “well managed” by Queen’s staff and referred to the event’s audience inside as “respectful and engaged.”

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