A psychology professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario has instituted a “civility clause” in her syllabus, warning students that “Discriminatory, rude, threatening, harassing, disruptive, distracting and innappropriate behaviour and language will not be tolerated. The first offence will result in a 10% reduction in your final mark.”

The professor, Jill Jacobson, says that her primary reason for adding this clause was to protect the course’s TAs from being “bullied” by belligerent students. However, the university authorities are not pleased. One official said, “The inclusion of a civility clause, especially when it threatens a student’s academic standing, would actively discourage the exchange of critical inquiry and free speech which are foundational to a quality undergraduate education.”

I leave it to my readers to formulate their own judgments about this contretemps.