News / Ottawa

Protesters shut down U of O professor's men's rights talk

There's been a lot of talk about “rape culture” on university campuses lately, but a group of protesters recently booed and silenced an “anti-feminist” University of Ottawa professor who wanted to talk about the issue.

Janice Fiamengo, who teaches in the English literature department, tried to give a public lecture on men’s issues, equality and rape culture at the university on March 28. But as shown in an hour-long YouTube video, she was repeatedly interrupted by a group of about 30 students shouting and blasting horns.

Representatives from the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), which organized the talk, tried to quell the crowd, but they eventually called security. The talk was moved to another room, but somebody pulled the fire alarm, which effectively shut it down.

Fiamengo, a self-proclaimed radical feminist-turned-anti-feminist, said she advocates for equality.

“Feminism is now seen as a kind of proxy for women, so to question any tenets of feminism is seen as attacking women,” she said. “I think it’s become a totalitarian ideology that isn’t really interested in equality at all.”

She also said “it’s wrong and dangerous” to use the term “rape culture” to describe the explicit Facebook conversation concerning a student government leader that recently made headlines.

According to the university’s campus paper, The Fulcrum, a school group called the Revolutionary Student Movement started the protest.

“We feel that these ideas have no place on our campus and refuse to legitimize them by allowing them space to organize,” the paper quoted a representative from the group as saying. “As was demonstrated, campus security will not protect our community from events that are harmful to men, women, and trans people in the community, so we decided to stand up for what we feel is right.”

It’s not the first time Fiamengo has been heckled at a university. The night before her University of Ottawa talk, she said she spoke to a “not very friendly crowd” at Queen’s University and during a talk at the University of Toronto in March 2013, somebody pulled the fire alarm.

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