Massey College wente

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.

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?" 

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.

“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." 

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". 

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. 

Lead photo by

Massey College

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