Commentary | A response to SSMU GA critics


In his op-ed (“Organizing against free speech,” Commentary, November 3, Page 11) Nadir Khan shows that he is indeed an eloquent writer – but this does not change the fact that his claims are sensationalist, false, and ultimately harmful. It is unfair and wrong to argue as the author does that free speech was “suppressed” at the General Assembly (GA). If we, as members of SSMU, have the right to choose what we wish to talk about at a GA, we also have the right to choose what not to talk about, and when to talk about it. Freedom of speech requires some sort of rules or framework to organize its expression: speakers’ lists, time limitations, and rules of procedure do just that. That Mr. Khan draws a parallel between his unhappiness with Robert’s Rules of Order and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s struggle against unjust segregation laws is absurd. We, democratically and as a simple majority of students in attendance, chose to modify the issues that were to be discussed at this particular meeting. This wasn’t an “assault to democracy” – this was democracy. The author decries the fact that the “no” side was “organized.” Doesn’t the New Democratic Party “organize” to convince people how to vote? Don’t union leaders “organize” to tell workers how to act? There were two sides that “organized” to achieve an outcome they wanted at this general assembly. The fact that Mr. Khan’s side lost grants him no moral high ground.

– Ariel Shapiro, U3 Arts (Political Science)