From: Van Iderstine, Carson
Date: Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Subject: Freedom to ask questions and investigate the human condition now and in the past as well as in the future.
To: Anthony James
It’s very upsetting to hear this. I hope you know that I and others have truly enjoyed your classes; they have always been very interesting, relevant, and brought to life by your excellent personality.
This is a blow to academia everywhere, and represents the loss of a critical and questioning academic environment.
I hope that you will be reinstated as a fully tenured professor with all the perks that that entails.
Again, I want to emphasize how much I enjoyed your class and the life you brought to it, and that I’m very sad to see it go.
Mike sends his regards and support.
On Oct 5, 2016 4:35 PM, “Anthony James” wrote:
Hello IDST 3050 students.
I regret to inform you students that earlier today Dr. Mike Mahon, President of the University of Lethbridge, wrote me with his pronouncement that I have been suspended, effective immediately, without pay. This action emerges from a very concerted campaign by B’Nai Brith Canada to smear me and misrepresent me based initially on the contents of a planted Facebook item I did not create, invite, sanction or endorse. In fact I have condemned unequivocally the content of the offending post as being hostile and antagonistic to everything I have worked in my career as an activist scholar to explore, explain and illuminate. 1982-now. I began as a young professor in Sudbury in 1982.
The offending post was supposedly put on my Facebook page around Aug. 26. When I was away in Kansas B’Nai Brith Canada made an issue of the offending post on the Internet and after the intervention of apparently hundreds of its members, had Facebook remove the item without any notice to me. It was not until around mid-September that I became aware of what had transpired and I immediately began researching the matter and explaining my findings in an essay linked to below. My material has been published by American Herald Tribune and other Internet venues.
The B’Nai-Brith-incited hysteria, generated by BB and related web postings, consistently misrepresents me and all that I have tried to stand for. The hysteria based on a vile combination of fact, fiction and innuendo was allowed to spread unchecked and unchallenged by those in the University administration who are supposed to be vigilant in the protection of the U of L’s integrity including, first and foremost, the protection of academic freedom. So caught up has the President’s Office become in B’Nai Brith’s specious interpretations that I now have to report the very devastating outcome at hand.
Since I have been suspended and barred apparently from even putting my feet on campus, I cannot be at class tonight or for the other 8 remaining classes to continue and culminate the course and to be in a position to submit final grades into your transcripts.
As I see it, this outcome is depriving you of the capacity to complete a course in which you have already invested yourself, intellectually and in other important ways as well. I do not think this particular intervention into your own academic programs is fair to you personally and collectively. Nor is it in any way respectful towards you. Indeed, it is disrespectful. I wish I was in a position to protect you from this arbitrary ruling reached without any semblance of due process. Unfortunately, I’m not.
My greatest regret at this moment is that you have been put in this very unsatisfactory position by a very draconian decision made by the University of Lethbridge, I assume without prior consultation with you although you are prominent among those that are negatively affected. As for the University generally, the implications of the decision to suspend me without due process in mid-term are that the protections of tenure have effectively been eliminated at the University of Lethbridge and other institutions of higher learning as well. The campus has, with this decision from the President’s office, become much less safe for open and free and unfettered discussion of all issues, but especially sensitive issues, by faculty and students. That is, to put it plainly, tragic.
I wish you well students in all your future endeavours. I was really looking forward to taking this course through to completion and continuing to adapt the curriculum to your particular interests as I learned more and more about them. I did say at the beginning of the term I wanted to come up with curriculum and a style of pedagogy that would be memorable to you in future years. I could not have imagined at the time where this was all headed. I suppose you will remember that this episode that unfolded in early October of 2016.
Bon Voyage. You seem to me like a very promising group of individuals with great talents and prospects. Please never shy away from pursuing a style of formal education and lifelong learning where you remain resolute in insisting on asking important questions even on– no, especially on– matters of great significance in the formulation of public policy and in setting the legal, philosophical, economic, and cultural framework of human interaction.
NOTE: Readers who would like to contact Mike Hahon, the president of the University of Lethbridge to express their support of Tony Hall can email him at:
(Please cc all correspondence to Tony Hall at: email@example.com