U of T students and alumni are furious after Margaret Wente debacle at Massey College
Controversy has erupted at the University of Toronto after news that the school has appointed former columnist Margaret Wente as a fellow at Massey College.
Three U of T faculty members have resigned and a petition demanding rescission is now being circulated in response to the the College's appointment of Wente as a 2020-2021 senior fellow and member of the Quadrangle Society on Wednesday.
In the wake of the backlash, Massey College is now saying that they were unaware of Wente's problematic professional behaviour.
I’m not one to typically do this, but I can’t keep quiet. I’m shocked and disappointed to see that Margaret Wente has been appointed a new senior fellow of Massey College. It feels particularly hypocritical given the weekly emails about Massey’s commitment to diversity.— Ariella Minden (@AriellaMinden) June 17, 2020
According to Massey College's principle Nathalie Des Rosiers, the school is reviewing Wente's appointment.
During her time at the Globe and Mail, Wente was found to have plagiarized material in her columns over several years, and in 2014 was said to have promoted racist pseudo-science in her column "What if race is more than a social construct?"
One of these things is not like the others: when I saw Margaret Wente on this list this morning, I was horrified and embarrassed. Apparently no one on the Governing Board is capable of googling candidates - the inaptness of Wente for this community is strikingly apparent. /1 https://t.co/LykBydBnR9— Avnee Paranjape (@paranjavnee) June 18, 2020
An associate professor of women and gender studies and Caribbean studies, Alissa Trotz, has since resigned from Massey College's Governing Board and the Governance and Nominating Committee. She was Massey College's only Black governing board member.
university of toronto professor Alissa Trotz has resigned from her positions at @MasseyCollege over the school's appointment of Margaret Wente as a senior fellow. during her journalism career, Wente published racist pseudoscience, and was repeatedly investigated for plagiarism pic.twitter.com/hlHmRd7cml— negro frolics (@DesmondCole) June 18, 2020
“Margaret Wente is someone who has demonstrated consistent and outright hostility to questions of equity, women and gender studies and anti-racism, and moreover someone who has demonstrated such a glaring lack of professional integrity,” Trotz wrote in her resignation letter.
"It also feels utterly lonely that I might be the only person at GB to object to Margaret Wente's presence at Massey College, because it goes against everything I understood the College to be aspiring to."
Dr. George Nana Dei resigns as Massey College Senior Fellow after the appointment of Margaret Wente. pic.twitter.com/CZuJNepAjj— Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies (@OISECIARS) June 19, 2020
That resignation was followed by another, this time by George J. Sefa Dei, the director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at OISE.
Rick Halpern, a history professor, also resigned as a senior at the college after calling Wente's appointment "dispicable".
Margaret Wente's appointment at Massey College is unacceptable. If you're a member of the UofT community, join the call to rescind her appointment as a Senior Fellow. #uoft @uoftsu @UTGSU https://t.co/wEbcyoI88Z— Spencer Julien (@spencer_julien) June 18, 2020
A petition is now being circulated online with signatures from students, faculty, and alumni of U of T calling Massey College to take Wente's appointment off the table. It has more than 1,800 signatures to date.
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