Students are coddled by a new legal ‘right’ not to feel ‘offended’ by challenges to radical feminism and other prevailing orthodoxies
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is being sued for having once again displayed its intolerance for politically-incorrect opinions on campus.
The Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society (MIAS) has been denied registered club status by RSU. Unlike dozens of other campus clubs, MIAS cannot advertise, book rooms and information tables, or host speakers and debates on the campus. While all Ryerson University students are required to pay dues to RSU, MIAS is severely restricted in its ability to engage fellow students in discussion and dialogue, which are core to the Toronto university’s very purpose.
The social problems that MIAS seeks to address are numerous and serious.
Fathers with children fleeing domestic abuse or family violence have no dedicated shelters or support services. Two-thirds of Canadian kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers are women, so schools have too few positive male role models for boys.
Compared to girls, boys score poorly in literacy and writing, display higher rates of behavioural problems, have higher rates of dropping out of high school, and have lower rates of university attendance.
Men are not socialized to value fatherhood to the same extent that women are encouraged to embrace their identity as mothers.
Despite the pressing need for children to have substantial contact with their fathers, the legal system exacerbates fatherlessness by sometimes condoning divorced and separated mothers who defy court orders, and deny some fathers the legal right to spend time with their children. Making matters worse, popular culture and media often deny, minimize and even ridicule male victimization by physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse and emotional trauma.
Even if the above concerns were unfounded or misplaced, the effective silencing of dissenting views is an affront to the university’s mission.
MIAS says it welcomes women (nearly half of its members are female) and supports gay pride parades. It says it unequivocally denounces violence and misogyny, and supports legal equality for women.
But that is not good enough for RSU, which claims that the discussion of male concerns makes women feel unsafe and “harasses” women.
RSU contends that MIAS could become “a breeding ground for misogyny and anti-feminism” and “spin out of control.”
Ignoring freedom of expression, RSU claims there is simply no need for a men’s issues group, because of men’s “systemic privilege” and because other groups like the women’s group and Trans Collective already address the interests of boys and men.
RSU has likewise denied club status to Students for Life, accusing this campus club of misogyny, gender inequity, and making students feel “unsafe” simply by expressing anti-abortion opinion.
Universities have become giant, taxpayer-funded daycare centres. Students are coddled by a new legal ‘right’ not to feel ‘offended’ by challenges to radical feminism and other prevailing orthodoxies. Rather than using reason and logic to refute ideas they disagree with, these future leaders feel perfectly justified in silencing dissent by banning clubs and shouting down politically-incorrect speakers.
Restoring universities to their original role as robustly preparing future leaders for honest dialogue and free debate is an uphill battle.
It will take years, if not decades, to undo the cultural rot that now sustains young progressives in their self-righteous mission to turn the university into a child’s nursery, where intellectual challenges, when not banned for making people feel “unsafe,” are preceded by “trigger warnings” and followed by apologies for “micro-aggressions.”
A wholesale reform of public education, such that it starts teaching elementary and high school students how to think and reason, would be a good start. In the interim, MIAS and Students for Life have been left with no alternative but to commence court action against RSU.
By John Carpay
Calgary lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents MIAS in its court action against the Ryerson Students’ Union.