November 22, 2017


If you have ten minutes, it would be well spent listening to this secretly recorded meeting between Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, and unnamed faculty and administration officials there. She was being disciplined for airing in a class a video by the controversial Canadian academic Jordan Peterson, who insists on the traditional pronoun usage “him” and “her,” and has become a pariah in Canadian academia because of it.

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Shepherd is accused of “transphobia.” She asks her inquisitors how many complaints were filed against her. They told her that’s confidential. She is incredulous, not believing that they can’t even say how many students complained. They won’t budge.

It’s worth listening to the clip to hear how nicey-nice and bland the inquisitors are. These people are destroying academic freedom and the purpose of a university, and they’re doing so in anaesthetic tones that conceal the act of real violence to the core values of a university.

If this is how things are at Wilfrid Laurier University, why would any student in their right mind want to study there? This is not education; this is dealing with the complexity of the world by castrating one’s mind to free oneself from the temptation to think incorrect thoughts.

David Thompson, in a post titled “The Absurd And The Sinister Aren’t Mutually Exclusive,” describes the encounter as “That feeling when you’re a teaching assistant and in your communications class you play a Jordan Peterson clip about pronouns and freedom of speech, hoping to spur discussion, and you then get reported and hauled in front of faculty and the manager of the university’s Gendered and Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Office for a ritual scolding, during which you’re accused of remaining politically neutral, which is deemed both a ‘problem’ and in itself ‘threatening,’ before being accused of ‘gender-based violence.’”

Dreher adds that “The president of Wilfrid Laurier, after listening to the recording of the meeting, has apologized to Lindsay Shepherd. Good — but what if she had not recorded the meeting? As a grad student in ANY university, I would never go into a meeting like this without a recording device.”

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