Members of the UWO branch of College Republicans picketed outside the union, and several made their way to the lecture as well. Shortly after Barrett took the podium, UWO Police were forced to take action when dissenting students stood up and turned their backs to Barrett mid-lecture. The officers received applause as they escorted students out of the room.Hmmm... Were they demonstrating against free speech or exercising free speech? The opinion that Barrett doesn't deserve to be a featured speaker at UWO is a perfectly good one. The only serious free speech question here is whether the students who stood up and turned their backs on the speaker should have been thrown out!
One of the student demonstrators outside was UWO fifth-year senior Erin Kisley, who said that while she believes in academic freedom, Barrett is stepping over a thin red line.
“I don’t want my student activity fees to be funding him to come here,” Kisley said. “I think his teaching is wrong. I believe in freedom of speech, but as an education major, I also believe that you should be teaching facts instead of your own opinions.”
Andrew Sabais, Chair of College Greens and UWO senior said many people view Barrett’s presence at the university as an “embarrassment,” but disagrees with Kisley.
“Tonight there is a big embarrassment for this university, and that is the College Republicans demonstrating outside against free speech,” Sabais said.
The student journalist who wrote the linked article says "UWO Police were forced to take action when dissenting students stood up and turned their backs to Barrett mid-lecture." What "forced" the police to "take action" against the students, who had chosen a peaceful, quiet form of protest?
ADDED: If Barrett had been a little sharper, he would have called on the police to leave the students alone. After all, he presents himself as very skeptical of government authority and concerned about free speech.