A Mount Allison psychology professor says she’s been banned from the university campus until December 1st when her seven-month suspension without pay is scheduled to end.
Rima Azar made the disclosure during a lengthy YouTube interview with Jordan Peterson, the former University of Toronto psychology professor who became internationally famous for his denunciations of political correctness and identity politics along with his defences of assertive masculinity and unfettered free speech.
“What are the grounds for not allowing you to be on the campus?” Peterson asked.
“I guess I’m toxic maybe,” Azar responded before Peterson interrupted.
“It’s because you present a danger,” he said ironically.
“Danger, unsafe, see…” Azar answered before Peterson interrupted again.
“Right, right, so that, that makes sense. So, now you’re an unsafe person and so you can’t go on the campus because of the threat that you might pose to students,” he said.
“Yes,” Azar replied.
Azar suspended in May
In an e-mail to students, faculty and staff on May 4th, the university said its decision to suspend Azar was based on the report of an independent investigator who “reviewed complaints from students alleging discriminatory conduct, stemming from blog posts and student interactions,” but gave no further details.
“Students, faculty, and staff deserve to have a safe place to learn and work, and should not have to avoid any class, activity or person because of their race, gender identity or gender expression,” the e-mail added.
Mount Allison launched its investigation in February after students complained that among other things, posts on Azar’s private blog denied the existence of systemic racism or systemic discrimination in Canada, accused the group Black Lives Matter of peddling communist propaganda and questioned concerns about climate change.
Faculty union challenging suspension
Azar told Peterson she’s grateful for the support of the Mount Allison Faculty Association, suggesting that the union will take a formal grievance against her suspension to arbitration.
She added, however, that she could not give further details for fear of harming the process.
Azar agreed with Peterson that she has been hit with a suspension simply for exercising her right to free speech.
“If it happened to me, it may and it could and it would happen to anyone, not just at my institution,” she said. “No one should be going through that, not you, not me, not anyone.”
Peterson criticized Azar’s university colleagues for not speaking up in her defence.
“I’m absolutely appalled at their silence on this issue,” he said.
“If they had an ounce of courage, they would unite together and they would tell the [university] administration to back the hell off right now, or else,” Peterson added.
“If they banded together behind you, this would be over right away. The university would buckle and the people who sanctioned you would be fired,” he said.
“It’s absolutely appalling that one of Canada’s finest undergraduate institutions should be participating in this bloody awful, witch-hunt charade.”
“I do understand that people are afraid sometimes because they may have kids,” Azar said before Peterson interrupted her.
“They should be afraid, I agree with you Rima, I agree with you, but the issue is what should you be afraid of?” he asked.
“Should you be afraid of defending your colleague, or should you be afraid of the arbitrary power handed to half-wit student mobs, hell-bent on bullying and destruction who are presenting themselves in the guise of moral avatars?” Peterson asked.
“Those are the people you should be afraid of and cowardly administrators who kow-tow instantly to any complaint no matter how groundless,” he added.
“Those are the things to be afraid of.”
For previous coverage of this story, click here.