President and CEO Statement: Keyano College and free speech

Posted On Monday August 19, 2019

In principles supported by our Board of Governors, Keyano College has a deep institutional commitment to free speech, the acceptance of difference, and ownership of freedom of expression.

As we develop a Freedom of Speech policy that reflects this commitment and aligns with Alberta Advanced Education’s initiatives, this statement provides proof of our intention and commitment.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental Charter right in Canada. Free speech is essential to our democracy and its formational multicultural principles. It is critical to sustaining our vibrant and innovative Canadian federation, as well as our college and our local communities.

As such, citizens have the guaranteed rights to pronounce their morals, ethics and worldviews. Equally, other citizens have the right to reject, condemn or celebrate them. Assessing another’s views to be repugnant or invalid, based upon one’s academic, ideological, religious or cultural reasoning is not a sufficient measure to silence them. Not at Keyano, and not in Canada.

To protect free speech, Keyano does not tolerate speech that violates the law and will fully support authorities to address any breech of the Canadian Criminal Code or any abrogation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on college premises.

Free speech is alive when we respectfully share and receive others’ opinions, thoughts, suppositions, theories or research findings. It brings with it an obligation to acknowledge others’ views.

The celebration of multiculturalism is critically important to Keyano; in terms of our community, stakeholder, employee and student demographics, we are also a mirror to sophisticated diversity and cultural interdependence. As a multicultural community of stakeholders, learners, teachers and staff, Keyano resonates with and echoes many different and sometimes conflicting worldviews. We make room for others and provide opportunities for exploring our differences.

By teaching the skills required to be tolerant in the presence of intolerance and how to be brave in the presence of ignorance, Keyano enables and empowers students, faculty and staff to be productive, civil-citizens of the world.

Keyano encourages, supports and celebrates freedom of cultural expression, which in itself requires freedom of speech. Free speech is also critical to academic freedom, a foundational principle in our commitment to institutional excellence. Because of its purposefulness and its role in our national and institutional identities, Keyano College believes in free speech, commits to guard it, and to protect it from abuse.

Through this statement, we affirm our commitment to free speech.


Trent Keough - President and CEO, Keyano College