A feminist University of Alberta professor of anthropology has been fired from her position as associate chair of undergraduate programs in the Department of Anthropology, for expressing the reality and importance of biological sex — comments deemed “unsafe.”
Kathleen Lowrey, an associate professor of anthropology at the university was forced to resign from her position as an associate department chair for undergraduate programs after students complained that she had voiced what is known as “gender-critical” views, and they felt “unsafe.” According to the Canadian Ryerson University-based Centre for Free Expression, that Lowery has been open with her perspective is precisely the problem.
“Should a course have gender or sex as a central theme, on day 1 she offers a summary of her views along with the declaration that no student need agree with her about any of it, as she did this year with her course ‘Anthropology of Women.’…Lowrey also posts statements related to her views on her office door — something she is entitled to do. She contends that in asking her to resign from her service role the University is endorsing ideological conformity,” the organization explained in a Tuesday blog post.
“Kathleen Lowrey, an associate professor at the University of Alberta, was asked to resign from her role.. All Professor Lowrey has been told is that she is somehow making the learning environment “unsafe” .. because she is a feminist who holds “gender critical” views.”— Kathleen Stock (@Docstockk) June 3, 2020
When the professor declined to resign from her associate chair role, she asked that the reasons for dismissal be documented formally, making clear why she was being asked to step down. In the letter she received, no specifics were given, stating only that “it is not in the best interests of the students or the University” that she continues in that role.
“At its most alarming, the University of Alberta’s position appears to be that where students have a ‘perception’ that an idea or a set of ideas harms them, it does not matter what the precise complaints are in regard to the person holding the ideas (or indeed whether there is any precise complaint). Lowrey has been expressly told that it doesn’t matter if any of the claims students are making about her are true,” CFE explained.
Reached by phone Friday, Lowrey told The Christian Post that she is exploring her options with her faculty association to contest the move.
When she requested a detailed letter from the dean documenting why she was being dismissed, she was brushed off.
“Institutional memory lives on paper,” Lowrey said.
“Five years from now, if you look at this letter and it doesn’t say [the reason for dismissal] so it could have been that I was coming into work drunk every day. It could be that I was stealing all the office supplies. It could be anything. I said: ‘Could you specify?'” she said, explaining her request for a detailed list of reasons as to why she was dismissed.
But she knew why they were dismissing her because she had conversations in which they told her that it was because of her views. The dean reportedly wrote back and said such a letter would not be productive. In Lowrey’s view, the university’s position, which she disagrees with, appears to be that unlike her teaching and research, a service role such as an associate chair of the department is not protected by academic freedom so the school will not be obligated to respond to a grievance of this kind.
The anthropology professor finds it worrisome that what happened to her might soon be applied to other employees, positing as an example someone in the registrar’s office tweeting a quip about a news article on a “pregnant man,” that such a joke could constitute a basis for termination should a student complain about “hate speech.”
It was in March that Lowrey was asked to resign from her position. She was told that the reasons for this were that the learning environment she created was “unsafe” for students. This was as per the University, “on the basis that one or more students had gone to the University’s Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights and the Dean of Students, André Costopolous, to complain about her without filing formal complaints.”
Her employer empowered students to damage their teacher’s career and livelihood. It is the type of power which todays’ students are accustomed to wielding, much as the Red Guards routinely punished their teachers for “wrong thinking” during the Cultural Revolution, the Post Millennial Reported.