Students protest Lindsay Shepherd talk

Students demonstrate in front of Macdonald Hall in opposition to Shepherd's talk

Protesters boasted placards reading "end white supremacy" and "don't sure me."
Protesters boasted placards reading "end white supremacy" and "don't sue me."

On Monday evening, roughly 30 students and supporters gathered outside Macdonald Hall to protest Lindsay Shepherd.

Shepherd was a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University when she was reprimanded for showing Jordan Peterson videos in class. Peterson is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto who gained national attention in 2016 for his positions on gender-neutral pronouns.

The protesters held anti-white supremacy and anti-Doug Ford government placards on Union Street, chanting messages like “Ford can’t silence me against white supremacy.”

Two police officers and several security guards monitored the rally.

“We just want to make sure everyone stays safe,” Craig Macfarlane, one of the two Kingston Police officers on-site, told The Journal.

Sam Conolly, ArtSci ’21 and co-chair of the Education for Queer Issues Project at Queen’s, told The Journal she wanted to show public disapproval of the speaker.  

“I think it’s really important that when Queen’s decides to bring people who have promoted transphobic videos in their classrooms and who promote other transphobic people such as Jordan Peterson, we publicly show that we don’t support that transphobia,” she said.

“I think it’s important the rest of the Queen’s community knows there are students here that support trans students, that support students of colour, and that support all sorts of marginalized students.”

Shepherd hadn’t responded to requests for comment by press time.

Protesters outside Macdonald Hall on Monday. Credit: Tessa Warburton

Protestor Sofie Vlaad led attendees down University Avenue, chanting anti-racist messages.

"I think it's important to protest white supremacy, because white supremacy and racism are bad,” Vlaad told The Journal. “If someone wants to argue with that they have a lot of thinking to do.”

Susan Delisle, a Queen’s alum holding a placard, said the speaker’s event should include dissenting opinions.

“Queen’s and Professor Pardy in particular keeps bringing in white supremacist speakers, and we’re not okay with that,” Delisle told The Journal. “They’re not bringing in counter-voices, so that’s not okay.”

Law Professor Bruce Pardy invited Shepherd to Queen’s to give a talk on free speech and political correctness on campus.  

Last year, Shepherd showed clips of Jordan Peterson to her students, spurring a free speech controversy on Canadian university campuses.

In March, Peterson gave a speech at Queen’s, sparking protests and vandalism.

Shortly after, Principal Daniel Woolf addressed the controversy in an opinion piece in The Globe and Mail.

“I do not intend to address the protest, nor the particular beliefs and views of Dr. Peterson. Rather, I’d like to argue first, that freedom of speech and the goals of diversity and inclusion are entirely compatible and often mutually strengthening; and second, that those who challenge giving opponents the right and a platform on which to speak, are conflating two different issues and setting a dangerous precedent,” Woolf wrote.

“Queen’s fully supports an inclusive and diverse campus and curriculum, and we continue to make important progress in pursuing these ideals.”

This story is in progress and will be updated.

 Protesters march near Macdonald Hall. Credit: Tessa Warburton

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