March, 20, 2013

 

Dear Mr. Seligman,

 

Thank you for your email regarding the actions of protestors at a recent event held at the University of Waterloo.

 

As the president of a university that treasures the principles of free speech, I am extremely disappointed that a guest invited to speak at a University of Waterloo Federation of Students-sanctioned club event on Wednesday, March 13, was interrupted by vociferous protest by a group of nearly two-dozen Waterloo and non-Waterloo students.

 

I consider the events of March 13 to be an attack on our presence as a place where issues are explored, discussed and debated. The freedom to speak and to learn is fundamental to the values of this institution. The silencing of anyone who proffers an opinion is unacceptable.

 

I want to reassure you that I have spoken to Mr. Woodworth to apologize for the way he was treated by the protestors.

 

We are examining ways in which we can ensure all invited speakers, whatever the topic, are able to speak in a safe and productive environment. We are also exploring ways in which we can partner with student groups to provide appropriate support for their events on campus. A review into this incident is underway.

  

Feridun Hamdullahpur

President & Vice-Chancellor

University of Waterloo