- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 17, 2016

A video showing an angry student snatching a Donald Trump hat off another student’s head has sparked controversy at one Canadian university.

The president of Mount Royal University in Calgary has reminded students about the importance of free speech after a now-viral video posted Thursday showed a female student berating a male student wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.

The woman, identified as Zoe Slusar, the former vice president of student life at MRU, proceeded to tell the man, identified as Matt Linder, that he was not allowed to promote “hate language” on campus.

“You gotta take it off,” she told him. “You gotta take the hat off or I’m going to write the president of the university and he’s going to come talk to you because I’ve already talked to him about this.”

A crowd formed as the two continued to argue and the video showed an angry male student walking up to Mr. Linder and grabbing the hat off his head.

“Just leave!” the unidentified student said as Ms. Slusar repeatedly thanked him.

The video has been viewed on YouTube more than 190,000 times since its posting.

Ms. Slusar later admitted in a statement to CBC that Mr. Linder was within his rights.

“He is allowed to wear the hat,” she wrote. “As a student, I disagree with what the hat represents. I have diverse friends (culturally and sexually) who would drop a class if the person wearing the hat was sitting in the room with them, because they would feel unsafe. Given the deeper issues of intolerance and oppression represented by the hat, I disagree with it.”

After initially declining to comment on the issue, MRU President David Docherty issued a revised statement Friday saying the school would not interfere with the students’ rights to express their views.

“I have seen the video and want to emphasize that I believe, both as an individual and as the President of Mount Royal University, freedom of speech is fundamental to post-secondary institutions and to society as a whole,” Mr. Docherty wrote.

“Both of these students are free to express their political opinions on campus, and University administrators will not interfere in their right to do so,” he wrote. “Students can express differing opinions in a respectful way to increase understanding of each other’s views. Universities play a critical role in society as places where students and other groups can share and listen to different perspectives in a respectful and peaceful way. We will continue to protect this freedom of expression.”

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