...The campus’ Criminology Students Association (CSA) had arranged for Toronto lawyer, Danielle Robitaille, to be the keynote speaker at their annual conference. Robitaille is most well-known for being part of the legal team that successfully defended former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi against charges of sexual assault.
The keynote address was slated for March 8th but on March 7th the CSA informed its 800 student members that the event was cancelled. CSA leadership discovered that another campus group had “organized efforts to disrupt (Robitaille’s) presentation” and they became concerned “for group and personal safety.”
The group planning the disruption call themselves Advocates for a Student Culture of Consent (ASCC). On a Facebook page they created they list their reasons for wanting the speech cancelled. The reasons all centred around the notion that because Robitaille had advocated on behalf of an alleged sex offender, Ghomeshi, anything she said, even her presence, could be traumatizing for those who had experienced sexual violence and anyone else sensitive to the issue.
In their words: “WLU’s choice to amplify (Robitaille’s) voice has caused harm and makes us feel unsafe, invalidated and not believed.”
Also explicit in their demands was the idea that they should be able to choose which topics are appropriate to discuss on campus and which are not. For example, they wrote: “During the (Ghomeshi) trial it was hard enough to find spaces momentarily free from these debates, but to actively choose to bring this debate to campus is very different and actively signals that this is up to debate when it is not.”