Over 100 university members have called for the University of Toronto to remove Jordan Peterson from the institution in an open letter addressed to the university’s vice president and vice president and provost Cheryl Regehr last week.
The letter alleged that Peterson’s recent discourse is in violation with the University’s Code of Behavior, as Peterson stated intent to design a website that would highlight courses with “postmodern” and “neo-Marxist” content.
The most recent letter by students and university members is a similar letter to the previous letter from U of T faculty of the Women and Gender Studies Institute, requesting that action be taken by the university against Peterson resulting in his dismissal.
“The mere fact that such an aggressive and damaging initiative was proposed by a tenured University of Toronto professor is unacceptable. Prof. Peterson’s intended project would specifically target the academic integrity of and student enrolment in Women and Gender Studies, ‘racial and ethnic groups studies,’ and the humanities in its broadest sense, contravening the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, which states the University’s responsibility to ensure that ‘malevolent or even mischievous disruption’ is not permitted to threaten the educational process,” read the members’ letter.
Peterson has been a long-time advocate for free speech on university campuses and announced the launch of a website designed to highlight the ideologies of course instructors before enrolling in a class.
“All these actions emphasize that such a database would constitute a serious threat to the mental and physical safety of students, faculty, and staff at the University as well as to the broader academic and general communities. Prof. Peterson’s ongoing misconduct is damaging not only to the University’s educative function, but also to its civic role in the broader community,” the open letter also read.
The letter claims that Peterson is “trying to disadvantage others” through the use of his website and recent discourse against the humanities, alleging that those actions are against the interests of the university.
Recently, the Women and Gender Studies Institute of U of T wrote to the vice-provost requesting a meeting regarding Peterson. WGSI alleged that Peterson’s intent to launch his website would jeopardize the safety of faculty and students within the department, and would allow individuals to target professors and courses through the use of the site.
“Some members of our community have expressed concerns regarding Prof. Peterson’s recent statements. We are listening to these concerns, and considering them carefully,” stated Althea Blackburn-Evans, the director for U of T Media Relations, in an email to The Medium. The email also stated that the university had only become aware of the letter by students on November 29th.
The university’s media team did not specify if the university has been in contact with Peterson regarding the announcement of his website or either of the open letters sent to Regehr.
“Any allegations of behaviour that might contravene the University’s policies and guidelines are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis, with all respect for due process,” the email continued.
While the UTSU was one of the organizations attributed to the letter, UTSU president Mathias Memmel did not respond on their involvement in the letter.
Other university students and members across North America have signed the open letter.
UTMSU was not among the members that signed the letter.
The union’s president Salma Fakhry also did not respond to The Medium’s request for comment if the UTMSU had any involvement in the letter.