On Wednesday October 30, a demonstration was held at the base of the Schmon tower to support two student protesters who have had Student Code of Conduct breach charges brought against them by the Brock University administration. The two students are to face a disciplinary panel due to their actions at the Brock Life-Line’s speaking event which took place on October 4.
The event hosted CCBR( Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform) speaker Stephanie Gray, who presented “Abortion: human right or human rights violation?”. Throughout the event, a group of student protesters interrupted Gray repeatedly, to the point that she asked them to cease or leave the premises. The students then began to actively shout slogans and heckle Gray, during which a student moved towards the stage and the Isaac’s security who were attempting to quiet the protest. Security then grabbed the student by the arms and removed him from the premises, after which the remaining protestors continued to disrupt the event.
Since the incident, BUSU has released a statement supporting the actions of Isaac’s security, saying, “After gathering information from staff, Campus Security and
from multiple videos, BUSU believes the security staff’s actions were carried out in accordance with the Security Act of Ontario and in an attempt to ensure the safety and order of the students in attendance and was unrelated to the topic being presented on”.
On the other side you have a new Tumblr entitled “Accountability from Brock & Isaacs” [sic] which seeks to have the actions of the staff security reconsidered, claiming it as an assault on the student. Furthermore, they find the fact that Brock and BUSU support a pro-life club (through ratification and use of space) to be a promotion of hate speech, as the CCBR commonly seeks to demonize women who have abortions as well as plainly deny the right to abortion in general.
“We find the existence of BUSU club Brock Life-Line on campus to be disturbing and unacceptable. We also find BUSU and Brock University’s support of this particular event to be unacceptable. Promoting hate speech on campus creates an unsafe environment for students and this is shameful”, said the group on their Tumblr.
Since then, two students from the event (including the one who was forcibly removed from Isaac’s) have been accused of breaching the Student Code of Conduct, and were originally to attend a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, October 30, which has since been pushed to a later date. The students could face expulsion as a consequence of their actions.
The university, while unable to comment on the specifics of this hearing, released this statement:
“The discipline hearing for the two students in question has been postponed, and a meeting has been requested with the students to respond to their questions about the Student of Code of Conduct process, and to reassure them that the University upholds the values of respectful dialogue and freedom of expression, as per the University’s Senate-approved statement”.
Early last week the demonstration was organized so as to take place at the same time as the disciplinary hearing. Despite the time of the hearing being changed, by 1:30 p.m. over 35 students had gathered at the base of the tower to chant things like, “Brock Life Line your name’s a lie, you don’t care if women die” and “If I wanted Brock in my uterus, I’d screw Lightstone”.
While the hearing has not yet taken place, the incident has gained the attention of many different parts of the Brock community, including the Brock University Faculty Association, (BUFA) and other non-students. Many involved in the demonstration see this as a possible breach in academic freedom as well as a possible excess of force used by the Isaac’s security when ejecting the student protester.
Look for a follow-up after the hearing for coverage of the results, as well as a look at Brock’s response to organized protests in the past.
For more information, see the BUSU statement here: www.busu.net/wp-content/uploads/Friday-October-4-2013.pdf, the student Tumblr here: brockuniversityaccountability.tumblr.com/, and past coverage here: brockpress.com/2013/10/protestors-removed-from-brock-life-line-speaking-event/.