Balancing Inclusion and Diversity with Upholding Free Speech Rights in Canadian Universities: Challenging but Feasible

Sirvan Karimi


The tension emanated from deeply polarized socio-cultural values has found its way into the Canadian university campuses. In their endeavour to strike a balance between promoting diversity, inclusion and respecting free speech, the Canadian higher educational institutions have encountered formidable challenges. Central to the contention revolving around the free speech debate is an assertion that institutional pressures for consolidating a culture of political correctness is believed to have the potential to curtail and stifle freedom of expression which has in turn triggered governmental intervention in certain Canadian provinces. The lack of a proper balance between the quest for promoting inclusion, diversity and free speech can in the long run undermine the socially vital mission of universities, and hence corroding the public trust in the higher educational institutions. Obviously, there is no single solution that can function as panacea to surmount theses pressing demands faced by the Canadian universities. However, it will be argued that the extension of constitutionally protected freedom of expression to the Canadian universities is not only geared to address the shortcomings of academic freedom, but it is also conducive to harmonizing the pursuit of promoting diversity and inclusion with upholding free speech principles.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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