A professor fired in an “unawakening position” fights to get her job back

Her dismissal is a “horrible” move towards academic freedom, says a professor at Mount Royal University.

A Calgary professor who said she was fired in her stance on issues such as Black Lives Matter, an indigenous housing school, and the relationship between gender and biological gender, complained about her dismissal and her job. Crowdfunding in the fight to regain.

Francis Widowson, a full-time associate professor of economics, justice, and policy research, was fired by Mount Royal University (MRU) on the day of the final exam of the fall semester on December 20, last year.

In a letter to Widowson that day, MRU President Tim Rahily complained from students, outsiders, a former colleague who left for her, and “a toxic work environment … adversely affecting the mission and college. Reputation. “

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Widowson said her dismissal set a detrimental precedent for academic freedom.

“If it’s not overturned, it means the college we knew before is over. It’s really, really terrible. And for years, I’m obviously a popular person in the college system. It wasn’t, but I was tolerated and understood that I had my place in the university, and now that understanding no longer exists, “she said.

“We’re actually heading in a pretty scary direction, because anyone who goes outside the required doctrine faces serious problems, and that’s what the college system can talk about. Will have a terrible impact on you. “

Widdowson, who has been working at Mount Royal since 2008, is a board member of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship and a core member of the MRU faculty group Rational Space Network. A base approach in education. “

She said her stance on “transactivism, indigenousization, and anti-racist initiatives” was the main annoyance to her.

“All sorts of information related to any of these areas have already been seriously infringed, and after what happened to me, it would really mean that people would be very cautious.— —Very, very careful— —If they enter those areas, it is very concerned about the state of knowledge advocated at the university. “

The Collective agreement Between the MRU Board and the Mount Royal Faculty Association, there is a “Academic Freedom” clause that gives staff “freedom from institutional censorship.”

school Freedom of expression and speech policy “The University does not suppress or discuss whether the perspective expressed is considered offensive, unwise, immoral, extreme, harmful, inaccurate, or incorrect.” “Members of the university community have the right to criticize and question the views expressed by others in the university, but they cannot interfere with or interfere with the freedom of speech of others.” ..

However, MRU faculty asked to end the speech of a colleague who did not agree.

One MRU professor tweeted that the university “should definitely dismiss racists who deny the real harm of housing schools.”

In another case, a professor of indigenous studies 25-page complaint letter She couldn’t protect Widowson’s existence, so to the administrator. In her letter, Widowson did not capitalize on “indigenous people” and spelled out the school’s policy of fairness, diversity and inclusiveness as “DIE” instead of “EDI”. “Widowson did not acknowledge my presence at MRU for the first two years of my employment. Ignoring someone is to make them invisible.”

A Petition at Change.org Launched in 2020, the title “Fire Frances Widdowson – Professor of Racists at MRU” has won over 6,000 signatures.

In mid-2021, Widowson Change your ego on TwitterfrancXs mcgrath (not Francis Widowson)“Made a parody of people who believe in radar penetration scans showing ground turbulence that turned out to be unmarked graves” represents specific evidence of the genocide. July 13, 2021, MRU Student Association Issue a statement Condemn Widowson’s tweet about an unmarked housing school grave.

Epoch Times Photo
Francis Widowson in a photo without a date. (Francis Widowson)

The MRU administration told the Epoch Times that it would not provide details of Widowson’s case, except to confirm that she was no longer a teacher.

“Universities clearly support academic debates and always uphold faculty rights related to academic freedom, but academic freedom does not justify harassment or discrimination.”

“Mount Royal employees have the right to work in a respectful and harassment-free environment. Collective agreements and MRU policies outline the process for resolving workplace behavioral issues and decisions are always made. It will be done according to strict due process. “

“Absolutely shocking case”

Widowson said she is backed by academic freedom and scholarship associations, of which she is a member of the board, and other academic “dissidents” such as Jordan Peterson.

“Currently, we have three colleagues who are really struggling for their ability to stay in touch with colleagues at Mount Royal University,” she said. “Of course there are more, but many are naturally nervous about what the current climate is and are afraid to name things.”

Widowson, who has been studying and writing on indigenous issues and policies for over 20 years, has complained about her dismissal and said she wants an open process in arbitration. She says that others in her situation are usually silent as her disciplinary procedure progresses.

“I knew the incident at Mount Royal, but it was a shocking incident. He was told he couldn’t talk about it, so he only knew it after the fact. Is to take you to this vulnerable position that you are afraid and do not want to say anything because you do not want to cause further retaliation. And you rely on the union to protect you. And the union is still under serious threat, “she said.

“It is not very easy for unions to rely on strong defenses, especially if they are in an unawakened position. They are captured by factions and can no longer represent people fairly. They agree with this idea that those who are perceived as the most oppressed should be able to have greater influence than those who are perceived as oppressors. “

Widdowson has recorded her story on the following website: wokeacademy.info She will soon link the site to a funding page, where people can donate to legitimate campaigns. She wants a lawyer to reconfirm the union case on her behalf. She believes it is strong, partly because of the torts surrounding the dismissal.

“Discipline began with stopping when we really should be warned, but nothing like that happened,” she said.

“So everything was completely unfair. It was inconsistent and unclear. Many things were withheld. The report was edited and the legal used to reach a conclusion. I couldn’t even see why, but these are all very serious procedural issues. “

Isaac Teo contributed to this article.

Lee Harding


Lee Harding is a Saskatchewan-based journalist and think tank researcher and contributor to The Epoch Times.