UCalgary appealing Facebook ruling - Macleans.ca

UCalgary appealing Facebook ruling

Admin wants to clarify ruling that the Charter applies to universities


The University of Calgary is disputing a court decision that it infringed on the charter rights of two students when it punished them for criticizing a professor on Facebook. Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled last month that the university infringed on the rights of twin brothers Keith and Steven Pridgen when it disciplined them two years ago.

The brothers wrote disparaging remarks about a professor on their Facebook page in November 2007 and were charged with non-academic misconduct which included probation. They argued their rights were violated and took it to court, which ruled in their favour.

The university has filed a notice to appeal and is seeking to clarify the extent to which the charter applies to the operations of colleges and universities. Filing the notice also gives the University of Calgary more time to study the decision.

The Canadian Press

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UCalgary appealing Facebook ruling

  1. I congratulate these individuals for standing up for what is right. Unfortunately I am deeply concerned about my academic future and have chosen to remain silent over an University of Calgary instructor who has, in multiple occasions, been verbally abusive to me (Fall 2010 term). The last time that this occurred, other students stood up for me and confronted the instructor and informed the instructor that I had followed the instructor’s directions exactly (the instructor was trying to shift blame of their failure onto me).
    I don’t know the criteria that the University of Calgary employs to decide who are appropriate instructors, but in all of my post secondary education I have never come across someone as ill placed as this instructor.

  2. How does this affect websites like ratemyprofessor.com? That’s where I put all my grievances…

  3. I think there’s a huge difference between “criticizing” a professor online and making hateful and potentially libelous remarks. A comment such as “this professor has no idea what he’s talking about” on an opinion site such as RateMyProfs.com shouldn’t be treated in the same way as an accusation of abuse. I’m really interested to see what these students actually posted on Facebook about this prof that the University took so seriously as to discipline them for an FB wall post.

    “Another UofC student,” I would venture to say that your University should have a process by which you can report verbal abuse of a professor – at McGill, we have an Ombudsperson who deals just with that.