On Tuesday March 20th the Laurier Student for Open Inquiry, headed by recent alt-right darling Lindsay Shephard (who you may remember from Laurier’s previous row about ‘free speech’), attempted to host a talk by white supremacist Faith Goldy. There have been reports of local alt-right students and activists in attendance, a showing of the Proud Boys (who recently attempted to hold a rally in Brantford), George Hutchinson who was pushing the ‘white students union’ drivel, and perhaps even some members of Operation Werewolf, who are explicit in their refusal of political correctness and equality, and whose slogan “Iron and Blood,” imagery and history scream neo-fascism.
There was a loud and festive counter rally as well as attempts to shut down the event itself, which ultimately culminated in a fire alarm being pulled and Faith Goldy prevented from speaking. While Shephard attempted to lead supporters to nearby park Veteran’s Green (somewhat ironic since many veterans fought explicitly as anti-fascists), Goldy didn’t carry on with her speech and instead opted to mock land acknowledgements and commit to return to WLU. Many others who had sought to attend the event poured out in to the area where the counter rally was occurring making things feel tense and unpredictable. This event shows some of the possibilities, as well as difficulties, in how responses might look going forward. I offer this piece as a set of considerations for building stronger movements to resist white supremacy on campus and beyond. By no means is this a comprehensive report back, or a detailed or finished discussion, but will hopefully present some useful points of consideration.