Canadian Professor Batting ‘Gender Neutral’ Language Denied Grant

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
Font Size:

The Canadian professor who refuses to use “gender neutral” language and was reprimanded by his university for his refusal to do so, failed to secure a research grant for the first time in his academic life.

University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson has an “above outstanding” rating in the academic community but the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada turned him down to continue research that it had previously approved.

Peterson spoke to Postmedia about the rejection Monday, saying that he had been refused the research funding and warning the public that the academic research grant process has become “politicized.”

Peterson says there is no question in his mind that he lost the research grant because of his controversial statements about “gender neutral” language.

Peterson had requested a five-year, $399,625 grant for continuing work in three areas: the technical investigation of the structure of personality, particularly improving the mechanisms by which personality is measured; assessing personality and political beliefs; and for online interventions for people to improve performance at school and work.

On Friday, he tweeted: “This was the money that would have funded my research into the personality predictors of political correctness.”

Peterson indicated in his tweet that the reviewers for Social Science and Humanities Research Council grants are anonymous.

The iconoclastic professor had predicted in the fall of 2016 that the academic community would punish him for his disavowal of invented terms like “zie” and “zher” by withdrawing its funding and Peterson told the National Post he’s positive his prescience was confirmed last week.

“I think that it (the controversy) provided someone with a convenient opportunity to make their displeasure with what I’m doing known,” he said in a recent Postmedia interview. “I can’t shake the suspicion.”

The University of Toronto has played the role of political inquisitor, verbally reprimanding Peterson for supposedly sparking “fear” in the transgendered community over his remarks.

Though Peterson says  having the grant application fall though won’t hurt his bottom line, he’s more concerned about the affect it will have on graduate students.

“It’s all the same to me … But it’s cut the legs out from under my graduate students.”

Julia Gualtieri — a spokesman for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada — claimed grants are awarded on a merit-based evaluation.

Peterson has become a champion for free speech advocates in Canada — where conservative critics say hate speech laws and Islamophobia hysteria are increasingly restricting political debate.

The professor ignited a free speech debate when he criticized Bill C-16, legislation that placed “gender identity” and “gender expressions” in the Canadian Human Rights Code and criminal code.

His university quickly told him to cease expressing his opinion on the issue but did not specify the consequences of his refusing to do so.


Follow David on Twitter