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Letter to the editor: The Baron Controversy

UNB Libraries supports  and promotes the universal principles of intellectual freedom as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which include the interlocking freedoms to hold opinions and “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”  Un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml.
We also recognize that as citizens and as members of a university community, we must balance this fundamental freedom with the responsibility to distinguish differing but substantiated views from damaging and unsubstantiated claims.
The recent appearance of posters on the UNBF campus followed by unvetted and uncontextualized publications by the organization responsible for them in the UNBSJ student newspaper, The Baron, reflect a serious abuse of the principles of intellectual freedom.  These documents share abhorrent views which are offensive to our community and which put some members of our campus community at risk.
Furthermore, these views are not grounded in thorough research nor were they contextualized as they appeared in  The Baron. The sharing of ideas and academic discourse on campus are responsibilities to be taken seriously.   A commitment to intellectual rigor exists alongside our right to intellectual freedom.

We wish to assure all members of our university community that they are welcome on our campuses and in our libraries, where we will always support intellectual freedom alongside the significant responsibilities it entails.

Lesley  Balcom
Dean of Libraries  
on behalf of UNB Libraries (Fredericton and Saint John), sanctioned by Library Board
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