Authorities at Acadia University in Nova Scotia have opened a formal investigation into psychology Professor Rick Mehta for articulating politically incorrect views on multiculturalism and gender issues.
The professor has been criticized for saying that multiculturalism is a scam, for questioning the wage gap between men and women, and for saying that Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has created a victim narrative to prompt “endless apologies and compensation.”
“The University has a legal responsibility to provide an environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment and personal harassment,” Vice President Heather Hemming wrote in a February 13 letter to Mehta, who presents himself as a free-speech advocate.
The University told Mehta that it had received numerous complaints from students, faculty members, and “persons outside of the University community” regarding his classroom content and social media comments.
“The nature and frequency of these complaints and the significance of the allegations is concerning for the University, and we have determined the necessity of proceeding to a formal investigation,” Hemming wrote.
The vice president said Acadia had retained the services of Wayne MacKay, professor emeritus of law at nearby Dalhousie University, to conduct the investigation.
An online petition calling for Professor Mehta’s ouster was initiated by Jessica Durling, a Halifax-based “human rights activist, journalist, and radical sex theorist,” who has classified Mehta’s tweets as “hate speech.” Durling, who appears to have no official connection to Acadia, created a Change.org petition that has garnered nearly 1,200 signatures as of March 5.
“We demand the full removal of Rich Mehta from the university” because he has “expressed he is against trans rights, believes residential schools [for indigenous children] did good, and believes that the Indigenous ‘industry’ are exploiting Western values of justice,” it says.
Durling wrote that marginalized communities “cannot feel comfortable” that Mehta continues to teach at “a respected university such as Acadia.”
In response, Jay Andrew launched a counter-petition, also on Change.org, calling to keep Professor Mehta in the classroom. As of March 5, this second petition has received over 2,600 signatures, more than double the number of the original petition.
Rick Mehta “is being attacked by Marxist and Socialist forces that are trying to stifle debate and shut down free speech,” the petition states.
“The University should be proud to have Professor Mehta on staff and students will be better educated and better people for having taken a course of his,” it concludes.
According to the academic ranking website RateMyProfessors.com, 78 percent of Mehta’s students say they would take another course with him.
The February 13 letter from school Vice President Hemming does not explain what constitutes “discrimination, sexual harassment and personal harassment” or what it is about Professor Mehta’s conduct that deserves this description.
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