President Craig Jones travels to UVic to make the case for free speech on campus

BCCLA president Craig Jones will speak at University of Victoria tomorrow about the university’s Harassment Policy and the blow it has dealt the expression rights of Lorenzo Bouchard, a protester who has been banned from UVic’s campus.

Bouchard, who may be familiar to Victoria residents for his demonstrations around the city, brought his message on the subject of the aboriginal treaty process to campus last year . He passed out a newsletter and walked on campus wearing a sandwich board with the slogan “Original treaties only for 100% blood aboriginals”.

This put him on the wrong side of a university arbitration panel set up to deal with harassment complaints from a group of students. The panel found that he had committed harassment for actions including “aggressive eye contact” with passersby, “body language used to engage the observer” and offering pamphlets to passing students.

In September, the Association wrote to the university criticizing Vice President, Academic and Provost Penelope Codding’s decision to uphold the arbitration panel finding. Codding placed stringent conditions on Bouchard’s presence on campus including right of prior approval of the university before he could distribute any of his opinions. More recently, the university banned Bouchard in entirety for breaking one of the conditions, carrying a metal walking aid.

“We aren’t getting anywhere with UVic’s administration. They’ve banished Bouchard from campus and show little concern for the chilling effect this might have on critical political speech,” BCCLA president Craig Jones said. “I am concerned that many people have not heard about this issue at all. I hope that members of UVic’s campus community will come out to hear why political speech should not be censured as harassment.”

“The Harassment Policy needs to be changed. I want to send a message to UVic’s administration that we haven’t given up,” Jones added.

Jones will speak Friday November 3, 2000 @:

12:30 p.m. Room 158, Faculty of Law

2:30 p.m. Michel Pujol Room, Student Union Building

The talks are free and open to the public.

Anna Hunter of the Native Law Student Association will also speak at the events.

Sponsored by UVic’s Civil Liberties Club and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.