Posted on October 21, 2019 |Susan Crockford
Last week I wrote about my loss of adjunct professor status at the University of Victoria (UVic), preceded by my expulsion from its volunteer Speakers Bureau. It provided background to an op-ed that appeared in the National Post on Wednesday (16 October) by journalist Donna Laframboise exposing this travesty of academic freedom. See also an article in the Washington Times that came out yesterday and note that the GWPF has issued a press release condemning the suppression of academic freedom at UVic and has released a briefing paper called The Defenestration of Dr. Crockford: Silencing Dissent at the University of Victoria.
Today I’m in London preparing to give another lecture about the Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened. Donna has published more detail on the questions she asked UVic but which they refused to answer after nearly three weeks. It’s critical to understand that the university is determined to keep any and all details about these events secret.
Here is an excerpt from Donna’s report on her investigation:
“My first group of questions merely attempted to verify dates and basic information. Double-checking facts with both sides of a story is important, but UVic made that impossible. If my understanding of events was inaccurate, this was UVic’s opportunity to let me know. Instead, it chose to stonewall, refusing to say if the Speakers Bureau had ever given Crockford negative feedback, or if anyone in the Anthropology Department had advised her she was at risk of losing her adjunct status.
My next six questions were emphatically not about identifiable individuals. I asked how many people had been on the committee that revoked Crockford’s adjunct status. How many had voted for her versus against her. How many were zoologists? How many adjuncts had the Anthropology Department severed ties with over the past decade? How many adjuncts had UVic as a whole severed ties with? I also asked about safeguards that would prevent adjuncts from being punished for politically incorrect views.
Answering those questions would have violated the privacy of absolutely no one. It’s hilarious that, when I then asked how many UVic professors had matched Crockford’s achievement by being recently published in a prestigious scientific journal, UVic declined even to answer that. University PR people spend their days boasting about this sort of thing. They normally send journalists press releases begging for celebratory coverage.
My final group of questions concerned Crockford’s banishment from the Speakers Bureau. The first one asked why Stahl had refused to endorse – and had therefore silenced – Crockford. This clearly involved identifiable individuals, but the eight questions that followed did not. Here are four of them, typo and all. I’ve inserted the italics here:
ii. Since 2017, how many other UVic adjunct professors (within and beyond the Anthropology Department) are no longer participating in the Speakers Bureau due to a similar refusal on the part of their department chair?
iii. Since 2017, what percentage of UVic graduate students participating in the Speaker’s Bureau have been similarly required to secure written endorsement from their department chair?
iv. How many of these graduate studetns have been refused? [sic]
ix. What mechanisms exist to vet the content of Speakers Bureau presentations, particularly regarding controversial topics such as climate justice, renewable energy, Israeli-Palestinian relations, restorative justice, and so forth?
That last issue is of particular importance. Either there’s a system to vet presentations or there isn’t. I was seeking basic information, trying hard to understand what’s normal, sincerely trying to sort out what had transpired. UVic felt absolutely no need to explain, to reassure Canadian taxpayers that it had behaved honourably and fairly.
Let me repeat. The University of Victoria was given ample opportunity – 18 bleeping days. Like an untouchable and unaccountable monarch, it chose not to answer a single question.”
Read her entire blog post here.