Laurier professors join in discussion on Jordan Peterson’s YouTube channel

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On Dec. 26, 2017, Jordan Peterson, psychology professor at the University of Toronto, published a video onto his YouTube account regarding the controversy surrounding Lindsay Shepherd, a Wilfrid Laurier University teaching assistant.

Peterson has frequently publicized his views surrounding Bill C-16, which came into law as of this past June. Peterson critiques the use of gender-neutral pronouns such as ‘they,’ ‘zie’ and ‘zher.’

Peterson’s views on the topic of gender-neutral pronouns are at the core of Shepherd’s case. Shepherd showed a TVO clip of Peterson participating in a debate to her first-year tutorials, after which she was condemned by three individuals from Laurier in a meeting for presenting Peterson’s views from a neutral stance.

For a detailed timeline on the incident, click here.

The discussion, entitled “Deconstruction: The Lindsay Shepherd Affair” was filmed on Dec. 19, 2017.

Peterson is joined by David Haskell, associate professor of digital media and journalism as well as religion and culture at Laurier, along with William McNally, associate professor of finance at the School of Business and Economics at Laurier.

The trio discussed various details and aspects of Shepherd’s situation, including the two sides of a firm debate between free speech and trans rights which have emerged as a result of the situation.

Haskell and McNally have been clear, public advocates for free speech throughout the past months.

In fact, McNally created a petition to fight and defend freedom of expression rights. The petition, which acquired over 1000 signatures, asks that Laurier adopt a freedom of expression policy similar to the one developed by the University of Chicago.

The policy adopted by the University of Chicago was first approved in 2015. The policy places freedom of expression above all other values and stresses a commitment to allowing students to voice their thoughts and ideas regardless of how offensive they might be to others.

Haskell also played a role in organizing a freedom of speech rally which was held on the Waterloo Laurier campus on Nov. 24, 2017.

Throughout the two hour video, the three individuals deconstruct and discuss the the audio recording which Shepherd released of the meeting in which she was reprimanded, Deborah MacLatchy’s apology and the statement she released on Dec. 18, 2017 regarding the independent fact-finding report.

To watch the full video, click here.

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