Wilfrid Laurier University’s president is apologizing to a teaching assistant who showed her class a video featuring free speech advocate Jordan Peterson.
Peterson is a psychology professor from the University of Toronto who continues to attract attention around the world for his refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns. (RELATED: Professors Not Happy That Jordan Peterson Wants To Warn Students About Radical Left Classes)
Teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd thought her tutorial class should hear Peterson debate his positions, but she was verbally reprimanded by professors Nathan Rambukkana, Herbert Pilmlott and the school’s manager of “gendered violence prevention,” Adria Joel.
During the confrontation, Rambukkana suggested Shepherd was “spreading transphobia,” creating a “toxic climate” and that listening to Peterson defend his views was akin to “neutrally playing a speech by Hitler.”
The professors did not know that Shepherd was recording the dressing-down.
The professors would not disclose to the teaching assistant how many students had allegedly complained about the video, saying it was “confidential” and only allowing that “one or multiple students” had objected.
Rambukkana matter-of-factly states that Peterson’s “arguments are contrary to the Canadian human rights code” and have no place in a classroom.
After the conversation was played by several media outlets, university president Deborah MacLatchy moved to address the growing outrage on social media that free speech had become a joke at the Waterloo, Ontario university.
“After listening to this recording, an apology is in order,” MacLatchy wrote Tuesday.
“The conversation I heard does not reflect the values and practices to which Laurier aspires. I am sorry it occurred in the way that it did and I regret the impact it had on Lindsay Shepherd.”
Despite the apology, Shepherd doesn’t think anyone at the university would have expressed regret if she hadn’t embarrassed the university with her secret recording of the confrontation.
“Moral of the story: A university must be repeatedly publicly shamed, internationally, in order to apologize (oh, but keep the task force and investigation). Even then, ambiguous about free speech. Also, make sure to secretly record all meetings or they won’t take you seriously,” Shepherd tweeted.