Oct. 30, 2019

Open letter to University of Victoria President Jamie Cassels

Mr. Jamie Cassels
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia 

Dear Mr. Cassels :

I am a resident and taxpayer of British Columbia.

I note from the University’s financial statement that this year almost one half of the revenue comes from the Provincial Government. Total revenue was $593,111,000 of which $285,317,000 came from Government 

Hence, I feel that I can write you on important matters concerning the University. 

My subject concerns the removal of Susan Crockford from both the Speakers Bureau and as Adjunct Professor at your institution.

Ms Crockford is an accomplished scholar and researcher blazing new frontiers in science. 

On her blog Ms Crockford details the manner in which she was removed from the volunteer Speakers Bureau and as Adjunct Professor. The details are not pretty and in the absence of any meaningful information from the University to the contrary it seems, at least to this point, that accountability and transparency by the University in these matters is sorely lacking. It is hard not to conclude that Ms Crockford is being removed because of the views (although fully supported by sound research) she holds rather than bad behaviour or lack of credentials.  It is even more peculiar in that in years past she was celebrated by the University for her work. 

A cloak of secrecy seems to have been imposed behind false privacy concerns. Ms Crockford was not given an opportunity to defend herself as a result of these University decisions, nor have reasonable questions from reporters been answered. We don’t even know who the individuals are or the information that these individuals possessed that led to these decisions. 

You may be aware that your institution’s actions have gained world attention being carried by the National Post, the Washington Times, The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, website Watts Up With That, Jerusalem Post and The Global Warming Policy Foundation who characterize what has happened as ‘ The Defenestration of Dr. Crockford: Silencing Dissent at the University of Victoria.’

I note statements on your website which say: 

‘The UVic Edge is where dynamic learning and vital impact meet, in Canada's most extraordinary environment for discovery and innovation.’

‘Our environment inspires us to defy boundaries and innovate in exciting ways.’

An environment for discovery and defying boundaries is the antithesis of what seems to be happening at your institution presently.

You owe the University community and the taxpayers of British Columbia a full explanation about these decisions and the publication of all the relevant information and names of the people who are responsible for these decisions. Furthermore, Ms Crockford should be provided with a fair and open process whereby these decisions are reviewed. 

Your University is established under An Act of the Legislature acting on behalf of the citizens of the Province and you report to a Minister of the Cabinet who answers to the Legislature. Due process, accountability, and transparency are at the very heart of the functioning of our society, concepts which, at this point, seem to be absent at your institution on these decisions. 

Alfred North Whitehead once said :

‘The justification for a university is that it preserves the connection between knowledge and the zest of life, by uniting the young and the old in the imaginative consideration of learning.’ 

By denying Ms Crockford her positions at your University the ‘imaginative consideration of learning ‘ has been lost and your institution has broken the public trust of what a University is defined to be. 

Given the public nature of this matter you will not be surprised that this letter will be distributed to the press and carried on my blog. 

Honourable A. Brian Peckford P.C. 
Parksville, BC.