Some students are not happy with the University of B.C. after a writer of an anti-diversity op-ed was scheduled to speak on campus.
Mark Hecht’s piece in Vancouver Sun and Province, Ethnic Diversity harms a country’s social trust, economic well-being, argues instructor, was met with outrage when it appeared on the newspapers’ websites on Sept. 6, and in the print edition of the Province on Sept. 7.
The op-ed, which argued that “Canada should say goodbye to diversity, tolerance and inclusion to rebuild trust in one another,” was pulled from the website and apologized for by the papers’ editor-in-chief Harold Munro.
Hecht has been invited to campus by the UBC Students for Freedom of Expression to speak about the “Academic Freedom to Discuss the Impact of Immigrant Diversity upon Canada.” Hecht is scheduled to speak at UBC on Oct. 9, along with former University of New Brunswick professor Ricardo Duchesne.
Duchesne has appeared at events with white nationalist political commentator Faith Goldy, and retired from his university position earlier this year after more than 100 faculty members signed a letter condemning Duchesne’s views.
The free expression group notes it does not support or endorse either speaker’s views, but says the talk will be about “immigration and its impact on culture and subsequent effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression.”
“Together, Duchesne and Hecht glorify European racial superiority and conquest of indigenous peoples, while simultaneously complaining about immigration, multiculturalism, and white ‘ethnocide,'” the event page reads.
Another protest day called “Flood #UBC: Phone, email & social media against white supremacy,” calls on students to “call, email, tweet, write Facebook comments and messages, post to Instagram… Reach out to them any way you can and say Hey, UBC! Enough with the hate already” on Oct. 4.
Tickets for the talk are $15, but students can get in free if they submit a 300-word letter on why multicultural immigration is good for Canada, or belong to an organization who opposes Hecht or Duchese’s views.
The free expression group says they “neither endorse nor condemn our speakers’ views, our objective is to give them the freedom to speak they were denied elsewhere.”
In a statement, UBC said it is allowing the speakers on campus in the interest of “academic freedom and freedom of expression,” a move it said does not run counter to its commitments to inclusion and diversity.
The university noted it does not endorse speakers invited by student groups.