U of C must obey Charter when disciplining students, rules court, Case relates to students who criticized instructor on Facebook in 2007

U of C must obey Charter when disciplining students, rules court, Case relates to students who criticized instructor on Facebook in 2007 by Daryl Slade, May 9, 2012, Calgary Herald
The province’s top court has dismissed the University of Calgary’s appeal for autonomy in disciplining students for non-academic conduct. Alberta Court of Appeal, in its written decision released on Wednesday, concluded the Charter of Rights and Freedoms should apply in such situations. It upheld a judicial review by a Court of Queen’s Bench ruling that found the school infringed upon the freedom of expression of twin brothers Keith and Steven Pridgen, 22, when it sanctioned them for criticizing their professor on Facebook. “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to the disciplinary proceedings undertaken by the university,” Justice Marina Paperny wrote in the unanimous decision. “The decision of the Review Committee failed to take into account the Pridgens’ right to freedom of expression under the Charter. The decision breached the Pridgens’ freedom of expression and cannot be saved by the Charter. Moreover, the Review Committees’ decision was unreasonable from an administrative law perspective. The decision of the chambers judge to quash the Review Committee’s decision is upheld and the appeal of the university is dismissed.” Justices Bruce McDonald and Brian O’Ferrall agreed. … “Given the prolonged and protracted history of this unfortunate matter, I decline to exercise our jurisdiction to refer these matters back to the Board, which after all had wrongly declined to hear the respondents’ (Pridgens’) appeals in the initial instance,”

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