Canadian professor sparks free speech debate with 'civility clause'
- Jill Jacobson, a psychology professor at Queen's University in Ontario, included a "civility clause" in her course syllabus to make sure adjuncts and teaching assistants were able to maintain authority over students during her maternity leave next year, saying that her first maternity leave left them with little aid when students became disruptive or aggressive.
- An anonymous complaint filed against Jacobson's civility clause, which gives students a 10% reduction in their final grade for the first offense, has led to a debate in Canada and the U.S. on whether or not it violates free speech, with some saying the clause paints a "kitchen sink" picture of "uncivil" behavior and combines it with annoying behavior.
- According to Jacobson, the student government officers forwarding the case against her are "pro-bullying" and equating freedom of speech and academic freedom with the right to be abusive.
From the article:
A new kind of "civil" rights debate is brewing at Queen's University in Ontario. At issue is the "civility clause" psychology professor Jill Jacobson included in her third-year course syllabus, which some view as encroaching on free speech rights. A formal complaint launched against Jacobson earlier this year has come to light in recent days, inciting a Canadian media firestorm, and the university is now reviewing the policy. Jacobson instituted the clause -- which threatens a 10 percent reduction in a student's final mark for a first offense -- to assure that adjuncts and teaching assistants maintain authority over students during her maternity leave early next year, she said (the course is a yearlong requirement for psychology majors). ...
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