President Roseann O'Reilly Runte's response to SAFS

April 30, 2009

Dear Dr. Seligman,

Thank you for your letter of April 7.  At Carleton University there is a poster policy which requires posters to be approved.  If a poster is not submitted for approval, it will be removed.  In the case in question, posters which were unapproved and for which approval had not been sought, were removed.  The student group in question did not seek approval or use the appeals mechanisms which are available should one not receive approval.

A group then sent out a series of emails across the nation stating that the university had banned the poster and had not permitted students to meet.  There was a demonstration and many media interviews in which the same accusations were repeated.

In the course of events, a staff member opined that the posters possibly contributed to the threats received and the vice president wrote to remind everyone on campus that threats and violence would not be tolerated.  This is hardly an infringement on academic freedom and scholarship.  It is important that we all have the freedom to come to campus without fear and that we all have the privilege to speak.

I appreciate your defense of academic freedom and would ask that the facts be considered before an institution is condemned. 

Sincerely yours,

Roseann O’Reilly Runte
President, Carleton University