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Freedom of Expression Committee

Letter to UofO Pres. GIlles Patry, from Ashly Dyck, 8 Jun 2007
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Ashly Dyck
University of Ottawa Student

Dear President Patry;

My name is Ashly Dyck and I am a third year English Major at the University of Ottawa. I was privileged enough to participate in the SCI 1101 course this past fall, and was very disappointed to hear that the University has cancelled a course in such close resemblance with its own core values.

SCI 1101 and its instructors provided a diverse and enriching learning environment that encouraged its participants to place their own value on their education, rather than letting another dictate it to them. The flexible outline of the course let students investigate the subjects that interested them most, individually, and to share these view points with others. Furthermore, the acceptance of students from different faculties, and of members of the community, in combination with guest speakers with qualifications and knowledge of different issues and subjects vital to the course fostered a passion for the subject material demonstrated in high attendance and in lively debates and discussions. Similar to the directions given to students in preparation for writing research papers and for the development of a proper thesis and argument, students in SCI 1101 were encouraged through these discussions to take all points of view into consideration, to not be afraid to express their own ideas, to listen to the information provided them and to represent it accurately when framing their arguments.

By allowing for the expression of multiple points of view, and the challenging of these view points on occasion, students of SCI 1101 were also taught a singularity of thought, as well as a critical analysis of the thoughts of others. On brief examination one will note that the qualities instilled and upheld by the SCI 1101 course are in direct correlation with the qualities praised and revered in our leaders: for it is not without a unique and new vision, and a capability to analyse and to determine the positive and negative aspects of propositions and of the information presented to them, that the leaders of any body, government, or institution are able to move that body forward and to encourage progress in a society.

Finally, in providing students with a more detailed knowledge of current events and of the issues that affect them as students, citizens and human beings, the SCI 1101 course encouraged them to make informed decisions and to engage actively as members of their communities for the cooperation and betterment of society as a whole.

It is therefore with the utmost respect for this University, and for your position within it, Sir, that I implore you to consider the fundamental principles that this sacred institution would like to instill in its students and project to the educational community, and indeed to the country. If you take into these consideration and find the SCI 1101 course inconsistent or lacking then, by all means, cancel it. But if you place any value on education; on the necessity of in-depth investigation and the consideration of multiple points of view; on diversity; on cooperation; on leadership; on progress; and on the development of students capable of the independent and critical thought process instrumental in the efficient administration of those institutions of society they are being trained to enter into, then I urge you, President Patry, to provide these students, and the University itself, with the opportunity to develop and to demonstrate these principles, not by cancelling SCI 1101, but by providing it, and those who administer it, with the necessary support to perform its important role in the educational community.

Sincerely yours,

Ashly Dyck

back to: Letters to Patry in 2007