MOFA Statement in Support of Students’ Right to Protest

May 14, 2024 | News, Uncategorized

14 May 2024

Winnipeg, Treaty 1 territory – The Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations (MOFA) affirms the importance of students’ right to free expression, peaceful assembly, and free association including protesting the atrocities in Gaza on the campuses of public universities.

As the Canadian Association of University Teachers notes, universities and colleges serve the common good of society through searching for and disseminating knowledge and fostering independent thinking and expression in academic staff and students. Robust democracies require no less.

The expression and debate of differing and even deeply contested points of view are essential to learning and the advancement of knowledge. This includes the political expression and peaceful protest of students, academic staff, and all members of the campus community. By their very nature, protests cause disturbance and inconvenience and should not on that basis alone be prohibited.

University administrations fail in their duty to uphold the foundational purposes of our institutions when they limit or pre-empt peaceful protests, including the public contemplation of calling the police.

With students at University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg joining a global student solidarity movement in support of Palestine, MOFA urges university administrations in Manitoba and elsewhere to respect and uphold the essential right of students and members of the academic community to engage in peaceful protest.

The Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations (MOFA) is comprised of members of faculty associations from Brandon University, Université de Saint-Boniface, University of Manitoba, and the University of Winnipeg representing over 1,600 individual academic staff. We are based on both Treaty 1 and Treaty 2 territories, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.