School Apologizes After Disciplining Graduate Student

A Canadian university has apologized to a graduate student after disciplining her for presenting both sides of a debate over the use of gender-neutral pronouns.

Lindsay Shepherd, graduate student and teaching assistant in communication studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, was called into a meeting after playing a clip of a debate between two University of Toronto professors, Nicholas Matte, professor of transgender studies, and Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology.

According to LifeSite News, Adria Joel, the university’s acting manager of its “Gendered Violence Prevention and Support” office, told Shepherd that she caused “harm and violence” to the transgender community by not denouncing the inappropriateness of Peterson’s discriminatory views. Joel said that by not doing so, Shepherd created a “toxic” learning environment.

Additionally, her supervising professor, Nathan Rambukkana, compared what she had done to “neutrally playing a speech by Hitler.”

After Shepherd released a recording of the meeting, Rambukkana released a public letter of apology and so did Wilfred Laurier University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy. “The conversation I heard does not reflect the values and practices to which Laurier aspires,” MacLatchy said. “I am sorry it occurred in the way that it did and I regret the impact it had on Lindsay Shepherd.

“Laurier is committed to the abiding principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” MacLatchy said. To help further this, the university has assigned a task force to look deeper into these issues.