Wilfrid Laurier University has issued an apology to teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd after secretly recorded audio from the school’s interrogation over her showing a video of Jordan Peterson went viral.
After an audio recording of faculty berating Shepherd for playing a clip of a Canadian television debate featuring University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson was released, Wilfrid Laurier University’s president and a professor featured in the clip apologized for the interrogation.
In the clip, Wilfrid Laurier Professor Nathan Rambukkana accuses Shepherd of violating Canadian law. He also compared her decision to showing the Peterson debate clip to neutrally showing a video of Adolph Hitler.
“Through the media, we have now had the opportunity to hear the full recording of the meeting that took place at Wilfrid Laurier University,” President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy wrote in a statement. “After listening to this recording, an apology is in order. 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.”
Rambukkana published a letter of apology as well. “I wanted to write to apologize to you for how the meeting we had proceeded,” he wrote. “While I was not able to do so earlier due to confidentiality concerns, including your privacy as a grad student, now that the audio of the meeting is public I can say more. While I still cannot discuss the student concerns raised about the tutorial, everything that has happened since the meeting has given me occasion to rethink not only my approach to discussing the concerns that day, but many of the things I said in our meeting as well.”
“Perhaps instead of the route I took I should have added further discussion in lecture, or supplementary readings,” he added. “But instead I tried to make a point about the need to contextualize difficult material, and drew on the example of playing a speech by Hitler to do it. This was, obviously, a poorly chosen example.”
“I meant to use it to drive home a point about context by saying here was material that would definitely need to be contextualized rather than presented neutrally, and instead I implied that Dr. Peterson is like Hitler, which is untrue and was never my intention,” he admitted.
Shepherd reacted to the apology on Twitter, advising those on the receiving end of politically correct witch-hunts to record their interactions with faculty and administrators.
Moral of the story: A university must be repeatedly publicly shamed, internationally, in order to apologize (oh, but keep the task force & investigation). Even then, ambiguous about free speech. Also, make sure to secretly record all meetings or they won't take you seriously.
— Lindsay Shepherd (@NewWorldHominin) November 21, 2017