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Christian in front of flag

Speaking out for academic freedom in Ensenada, Mexico

#ProtectFreeSpeech

Who:
Christian Cortez Pérez

Where:
Ensenada, Mexico

Advocacy Team:
Tomás Henríquez, Kristina Hjelkrem

Topic | Freedom of Speech

Students should not fear for their careers when they voice their views, especially in an academic setting. University graduate Christian Cortez Pérez could lose his license to practise psychology for what he said in his graduation speech. As the top of his class at his university’s School of Medicine and Psychology, Christian earned the right to deliver the address at his June 2022 graduation ceremony. In his speech, he voiced his deeply held moral convictions regarding the state of the world today on many issues, including the importance of the family and the sanctity of life.

The Autonomous University of Baja California responded to complaints from professors against Christian with formal proceedings to ban him from practising psychology. Christian responded with a counterclaim, and with the support of ADF International, is seeking justice from the University.

Who:
Christian Cortez Pérez

Where:
Ensenada, Mexico

Advocacy Team:
Tomás Henríquez, Kristina Hjelkrem

Christian with others standing behind him

"Public universities must respect the free speech rights of all students, and I am committed to obtaining justice not just for myself, but for all Mexicans interested in preserving the right to freely express themselves”

Case Summary

Christian earned the right to deliver the commencement address at his graduation on 27 June 2022 for the School of Medicine and Psychology at the Autonomous University of Baja California. In his speech, Christian called for the rejection of the redefinition of the family and radical gender ideology, stating the following:  

“Today we are deep into a real anthropological struggle to redefine the human being, the human person, man, through the implementation of ideologies and fashions of thought that always end up undermining dignity and freedom.”

Christian quoted G.K. Chesterton on the destruction of the family: “People do not know what they are doing; because they do not know what they are undoing”. He further noted that, “to attack life and the family is to self-destruct, it is an attack on civilization itself” calling on his peers to live in solidarity with one another— “you have to love, no one seeks the good of the other if he does not love him”.

He was confronted by loud protests and walkouts on the part of some students and faculty but was able to deliver the graduation address in full. Since then, he has been the subject of a silencing and sanctioning campaign initiated by the school’s professors, resulting in severe reputational harm and a potential ban on his ability to practise in the field of psychology.

The professors issued a “manifesto” calling on the university to sanction Christian’s so-called “hate speech” by 1) withholding his professional license, 2) withdrawing his academic merit award, and 3) alerting psychology associations across Mexico regarding his actions.  

The professor’s demands, effectively to ban Christian’s professional practise as a psychologist, were presented to the University Council. Christian was informed on 4 August that the university has initiated proceedings against him and submitted a counterclaim to protect his rightful interests.

“I am filing a counterclaim to protect my rightful interests, but also to take a stand in defence of the free speech rights of every student. To be clear, I recognize that some may not agree with the content of my speech, but that’s what free speech is all about. Everyone should be able to peacefully share their views at university, without fear of punishment or retaliation,” stated Christian.

A judgment from the university is expected on 18 September. With the support of ADF International, he is seeking justice from the university and taking a stand for the freedom of speech for all.

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