Professors of the University Laval denounce hate speech

Photo: Jacques Boissinot Archives The canadian Press
Laval University, in October 2016

Researchers in the social sciences of the Laval University say they have become targets of hate speech and violent when they are doing public interventions.


In an open letter published Thursday on the digital platforms of the Duty, 103 professors of the Faculty of social sciences of the institution of higher education is launching a call for the denunciation of the hate.


“Since a few years […], some of the columnists and their readers and listeners are struggling to cope with issue of hate speech and verbal violence little subtle to the scholars who, taking the word in the public space of quebec, to assume their social responsibility in enlightening scientifically that social issues are sensitive, such as misogyny and homophobia, and tensions linked to immigration and to religion, or even racism, islamophobia and other forms of radicalisations violent or leading to violence, ” wrote the combination.


Their public release was motivated by an incident for a researcher last December, following a conference given in the framework of a conference on the living-together organized by the Faculty of social sciences of the University Laval. In the following days, the hate for the researcher travelled.


“This is not an isolated incident. A lot of colleagues who speak out on sensitive topics like homophobia or islamophobia attract hate-filled and violent, ” says Abdelwahed Mekki-Berrada, a signatory of the letter and a professor in the Department of anthropology.


The group of teachers claims to have challenged the government of Quebec, the Council of social sciences and humanities research of Canada and of the Quebec press Council.


“Our goal is not to point a finger at an individual, a media or a particular journalist, because we believe that we are dealing with a substantive problem. It often assists to a trivialization of hatred, and, in this context, we wonder if it is possible that the living together to survive, ” said Mr. Mekki-Berrada.


The teachers call the Quebec press Council to step up its preventive messages concerning the dissemination of hateful or threatening in the media. They ask the ministers to condemn the threats against the researchers. They have asked the research institutes to be vigilant and to support researchers when they are exposed to these types of discourse.