The Ontario Civil Liberties Association supports Professor Rick Mehta to be fully reinstated to his tenured professorship at Acadia University.
This is Professor Mehta’s full statement regarding his August 31, 2018 dismissal:
Statement by Rick Mehta Regarding His Dismissal from Acadia University
On August 31, 2018, President Peter Ricketts fired me from my position of Associate Professor of Psychology at Acadia University. In the letter that he gave me at my dismissal hearing, he stated that he was firing me on the basis of issues that “were wide ranging and include failure to fufill [my] academic responsibilities, unprofessional conduct, breach of privacy, and harassment and intimidation of students and other members of the University community.”
President Ricketts’ letter of dismissal states only broad categories of misconduct instead of providing any specific examples of misconduct on my part. The university hid behind vague accusations and opaque investigations, while refusing to spell out their concerns – which were based on filtered complaints. I believe that their stealth charges were pretexts to get rid of me at any cost. The real reason for my dismissal has to do with a culture war that is taking place in universities all over Canada and much of the Western world.
Since the 1990s, the political composition of academia has shifted dramatically to the left. At this time, the political composition of academics is skewed so that the left side of the political spectrum is far overrepresented relative to the right side; in other words, there is a lack of political diversity in modern academia. One consequence of having large groups of people thinking in a similar fashion is that it creates ideal conditions for extreme positions to take root. A second consequence is that it creates ideal conditions in which one group becomes dominant and does not tolerate voices of dissent.
At this time, many universities in Canada (Acadia included) are changing their mission to that of pursuing social justice instead of searching for universal truths. Social justice is focussed on an uncompromising commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. In my role as a free speech advocate, I have challenged many of the views that are dominant at Acadia. Rather than refute me, my detractors have instead stated that they are opposed to the manner in which I have expressed my arguments, that I have created a climate of fear on campus and/or social media, and that I have harassed and intimidated those with whom I disagree. In addition, my attempts to defend myself against these accusations have been framed as behaviours that are unethical or immoral.
In the sections that follow, I will first provide background information about myself so that readers can get an idea of how dedicated I am to maximizing students’ academic success. I will then explain the events that led me to become a free speech advocate, the events that led to the MacKay and Hooper Reports that form the basis for dismissing me, and the final events that preceded my precipitous dismissal. I will then end with my closing thoughts as I look to the future in this fight that has national implications for academic freedom in Canada.
Continue reading: PDF