Wilfrid Laurier University has acknowledged that its investigation into teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd, who came under fire for showing her class a debate clip featuring Dr. Jordan Peterson, should have never taken place.
Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student and teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, faced an investigation last month over her decision to show her class a television debate on a law that would require Canadians to acknowledge the unique gender pronouns of transgender persons. In the clip, Peterson debated two panelists who defend legal punishments for those who refuse to comply with unique gender pronouns.
In a statement released this week, Wilfrid Laurier President Deborah MacLatchy announced that an investigation into the incident revealed that Shepherd had not done anything wrong by showing her class the debate clip. “I have apologized to Ms. Shepherd publicly, as has Dr. Rambukkana, her supervising professor,” she wrote. “The university has conveyed to her today the results of the fact-finding report, to make sure she understands it is clear that she was involved in no wrongdoing. The university is taking concrete steps to make changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
MacLatchy also defended herself against claims that she supported the Orwellian investigation into Shepherd’s alleged thoughtcrimes.
When the issue first broke, I erred on the side of caution. As a person, and as the president of Laurier, I am sensitive to the viewpoints and concerns of our students, staff and faculty. As an employer, I am cognisant that the four people who were in that meeting room are employees and one is also a student. All four are entitled to due process. I did not want to rush to judgement; rather, I wanted to ensure we were able to objectively assess the facts and make sound decisions flowing from that assessment.
MacLatchy revealed that there wasn’t even a valid complaint lodged against Ms. Shepherd for her decision to show the debate clip. “There were numerous errors in judgement made in the handling of the meeting with Ms. Lindsay Shepherd, the TA of the tutorial in question,” the statement read. “In fact, the meeting never should have happened at all. No formal complaint, nor informal concern relative to a Laurier policy, was registered about the screening of the video. This was confirmed in the fact-finding report.”
“I have apologized to Ms. Shepherd publicly, as has Dr. Rambukkana, her supervising professor,” she continued. “The university has conveyed to her today the results of the fact-finding report, to make sure she understands it is clear that she was involved in no wrongdoing. The university is taking concrete steps to make changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”