Sunday, February 26, 2012

In which I am suspended

When I showed up for class that afternoon, the Registrar was waiting for me, accompanied by two security officers. He handed me an envelope, with a letter in it. This is what the letter said:

Dear Marty:
As I stated this morning, the perception of your behaviour as aggressive and disruptive in
your classes has not been addressed. There are concerns on the part of instructors and
students regarding the University’s responsibility to provide a safe learning environment,
which I do not think will be addressed through your suggestion of attending class
accompanied by a security guard. Therefore it is the University's decision that you not
attend classes at this time and that you should not attempt to do so. Any attempt to go to
class will be treated as an act of insubordination and a wilful disregard of the instructions
of a university officer doing his duty.

I hope for a speedy resolution to the investigation, and, again, I am willing to meet with
you to “review the matter and determine whether the facts as disclosed by the
complainant are in dispute,” as stipulated in the Policy on Student Non-Academic
Misconduct and Discipline. Please contact me at (204) 786-9337 or in order to arrange another day and time.
Yours sincerely,
Colin Russell
University Registrar

I ought to explain the part about attending class accompanied by a security guard. The whole "safety issue" was clearly an invention of the Registrar; no one had ever complained that I was a physical threat; if they had, I think the Registrar would have mentioned it in the letter where he summarized the complaints against me. I am "rude, disrespectful, dominating class time..." but nothing about being physically intimidating. I think he would have mentioned that if there was anything there.

So when he started raising the safety issue as a reason why I shouldn't be allowed in class, I asked him why they couldn't have a security guard accompany me to class, at least while my case was being decided? That's not so unusual. When I was in Gordon Bell one of my students was accompanied to all his classes by a parole officer. I even offered to pay for it out of my own pocket.

But safety was never the issue. The whole point of the suspension was to coerce me into going to the meeting. Which I wasn't going to do...not before the University put its complaints in writing.

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