Freedom of expression – draft statement

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

To: Faculty, staff and students in Vancouver and the Okanagan

As follow-up to my September 5th letter to the UBC community, I received a draft statement on freedom of expression from an internal working group convened by Professor Neil Guppy, Senior Advisor to the Provosts on Academic Freedom.

The working group, comprising ten faculty and staff members, worked through several iterations of a statement. Input on an early draft was also received from elected student representatives (Senate and AMS).

I am grateful to the working group for moving this discussion forward, and would like to thank them for their hard work on this complex issue. The intent behind this process is to generate a draft document to serve as the focal point of a community discussion around freedom of expression.

The members of the working group are:

Alan Hu, Faculty of Science
Alan Richardson, Faculty of Arts
Janet Teasdale, VP Students
Judy Illes, Faculty of Medicine
Karl Aquino, Sauder School of Business
Mary Bryson, Faculty of Education
Michael Griffin, Faculty of Arts
Neil Guppy, Faculty of Arts (Working Group Lead)
Sally Thorne, Faculty of Applied Science
Shirley Nakata, Ombudsperson for Students

To continue this discussion, we would now like to hear from a broader set of voices, to facilitate as wide and deep a conversation as possible. To this end, we have provided the latest draft statement which we hope will serve as a catalyst to encourage discussion and debate about how freedom of expression should be understood and contextualized in the modern university community.

We welcome your thoughts and encourage you to view the statement online. We also invite you to be part of the conversation and share your own views from now until November 30, 2017. To view the statement and join the conversation visit

Professor Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor