34th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education (CAPSLE)

Sunday, April 28, 2024toTuesday, April 30, 2024

 Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education

Professor Shaheen Shariff, James McGill Professor and Director of iMPACTS, was invited to be a keynote speaker at the 34th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education (CAPSLE). The conference is held in Toronto, Ontario from April 28 to April 30, 2024. The full schedule is available on the CAPSLE website.

Shariff's keynote is titled "Navigating Contemporary Socio-Legal Controversies: Anti-Wokeism, Social Media Content Moderation, and Institutional Censorship in Educational Landscapes" and is scheduled for Monday, April 29 at 3:00pm. Her keynote is timely and important for educators and policymakers at a time of polarized and divided communities. Here is her abstract:

Professor Shariff’s keynote address will highlight legal and institutional challenges in navigating contemporary socio-legal controversies. Rapid expansion and popular use of social media platforms, uninhibited online discrimination, especially sexual violence and sextortion of children; as well as offensive and hateful online content which are difficult to regulate. The Canadian federal government’s recent efforts to contain such content through Bill 63 have drawn mixed responses. As society diversifies, so do calls for equality, critical examination of accurate histories in schools. This has drawn a backlash with nationalists and populists asserting a “right to offend” under Section 2(b), the freedom of expression section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. At the heart of these debates is the erosion of democracy. Has democracy permanently imploded and how can we reclaim it together?

iMPACTS researchers Selene Coiffard-D'Amico (Research Assistant, McGill Faculty of Law) and Dr. Christopher Dietzel (Research Associate, McGill University) will also present on "Thresholds for Social Media Platforms' Responsibility toward Online Harms: A Comparative Legal Analysis," on Monday, April 29 at 1:15pm. Here is their abstract: 

Sexual violence and discriminatory hate speech are prevalent on social media platforms and affect the health, wellbeing, and educational success of post-secondary students. How do social media companies’ content moderation policies respond to these harms? How do their policies comply with legal thresholds for platform responsibility in various jurisdictions? This presentation critically analyzes the content moderation policies of Facebook, Instagram, X (Twitter), and TikTok to understand their treatment of offensive online content. This presentation also examines platform compliance with legal thresholds and provides recommendations for mitigating online harms and promoting young adults’ safe social media use.

iMPACTS is also launching two books at CAPSLE. Interrupting Sexual Violence: The Power of Law, Education, and Media is the first volume in the series “Confronting Systemic Omissions and Impacts in Educational Policy” by series editor Shariff. This edited collection features contributions about sexual and gender-based violence from iMPACTS co-investigators and graduate students, and it was co-edited by Shariff and Dietzel. Pandemic Injustice: Navigating Legal and Policy Lines During the COVID-19 Pandemic is the second volume in the “Confronting Systemic Omissions and Impacts in Educational Policy” series by series editor hariff. This edited collection sheds light on how vulnerable communities have been disproportionately impacted by governments’ policies and laws since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was co-edited by Dietzel and former McGill law student, Kimia Towfigh.

These two edited collections are the newest publications that have been produced by iMPACTS. Notably, iMPACTS has edited two special issues of the Education & Law Journal. The first, which was published in 2017, is titled “Navigating the minefield: Responding to legal and educational dilemmas in addressing sexual violence in universities” and was edited by Shariff, Dietzel, and former McGill student, Nazampal Jaswal. The second special issue was published in 2020 and is titled “Sexual violence: Impacts on and implications for the intersections of law and education.” The second special issue of the Education & Law Journal was edited by Professor Shariff, Dr. Dietzel, and Kimia Towfigh.


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