In November 2017, Wilfred Laurier University teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd was called to a disciplinary meeting by two professors (Nathan Rambukkana and Herbert Pimlott) and one administrator (Adria Joel) to discuss her screening of a video clip from TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin during a class she was conducting. Shepherd taped the proceedings (http://bit.ly/2mMPvok) and released them, causing a national and international firestorm of outrage over the manner in which she was treated.
The video clip featured me discussing the provisions of Canada’s compelled speech law, Bill C16, with Professor Nicholas Matte of the Mark S Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. During the proceedings, Shepherd was accused of breaking the law, both federal (Bill C16) and provincial, violating Wilfred Laurier’s standards of conduct, and of being actively transphobic. Rambukkana compared me directly to Hitler (and Milo Yiannopoulos, to be fair), failing to recognize that what I predicted would happen in the aftermath of Bill C16 (see http://bit.ly/2AZqj4B) was exactly what was undertaken by the tripartite disciplinary panel he headed.
Twenty of Rambukkana’s colleagues signed a letter of support for his actions (http://bit.ly/2DiedjN), despite the almost universal condemnation. In addition, great efforts were made by the neo-Marxist/postmodernist/critical theory ideologues to cast Shepherd as the perpetrator, as noted in Quillette (http://bit.ly/2l3Np0h), and the Wilfred Laurier Faculty Association president wrote this missive (http://bit.ly/2C9Ulm1) decrying “the violent speech and actions that have, unfortunately, become a daily occurrence on our campuses” despite there being no evidence whatsoever for such violence.
On December 18, Dr. Deborah MacLatchy, President and Vice-Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University, released a statement on the independent fact-finder’s report on the Lindsay Shepherd affair, exonerating her completely, stating that the disciplinary meeting should have never occurred and indicating even that the claim of student complaint was essentially fabricated (although Dr. MacLatchy has released a statement of clarification about that: http://bit.ly/2C8xWWp).
Dr. David Haskell, Associate Professor, Digital Media and Journalism / Religion and Culture and Dr. William McNally, Associate Professor of Finance at the School of Business and Economics (both of Wilfred Laurier) joined me for this discussion (December 19), where we “deconstructed” Dr. MacLatchy’s response. They are not alone at WLU, by the way, in their opposition to the ideological zealotry that has possessed their campus, and most others. Hopefully, in 2018, more professors will come to their senses and join them. Why should you care? Because this is, in truth, the state of the modern university — and what happens there will happen everywhere five years later.