Q&A held by Concordia faculty with students in wake of allegations
The Concordia Association for Students in English (CASE) circulated a document at a meeting on Jan. 12 announcing that two professors had their courses reassigned pending an investigation and their books had been taken out of the English department’s display in the Webster Library.
Four faculty members met with a small group of English students during the meeting in the library building to answer questions and discuss actions being taken by the university in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct made against a few professors in Concordia’s creative writing program.
Kate Sterns, the creative writing program coordinator, and English department chair Andre Furlani were present at the meeting alongside Lisa Ostiguy, the university’s deputy provost, and dean of students Andrew Woodall. All four representatives encouraged the students to reach out to someone at the university if they’d had a negative experience with a professor.
“Where we have a complaint, we pursue it,” Furlani said. “The problem is that people don’t feel they can approach various members of the department.”
The representatives stressed that the university has dealt effectively with sexual assault complaints in the past, but the outcomes of those cases cannot be shared with the public due to confidentiality agreements.
“Among the people I’ve been talking to, there’s a distrust of the university,” said one student during the meeting.
Furlani said those who shared stories on social media under the CanLitAccountable hashtag—the title of a blog created by former student Mike Spry to describe allegations of misconduct—have been contacted by the university and all allegations are being investigated by an independent party.
According to Ostiguy, the university is also in the process of drafting a policy on student-staff relations.
Feature photo by Alex Hutchins