Friday, March 18, 2011

More university president douchebag behaviour from Queen's U

This email exchange follows from the previous post HERE.

From: Denis Rancourt
Date: Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 7:14 PM
Subject: Re: your treatment of Nick Day
To: Daniel Woolf [Princpal/President, Queen's University, Canada]

Dear Daniel,

Your response [below] is of concern.

By this response you show that you are unwilling to recognize the unjustified damage that you have done.

Your response is also a transparent attempt to escape or mask your liability in this unfortunate matter.

Is there not some other lesson that you could learn from history?

In regret,
Denis Rancourt
Former physics professor, University of Ottawa

Cc: Civil society, supporters of academic freedom

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Daniel Woolf
Date: Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM
Subject: RE: your treatment of Nick Day
To: Denis Rancourt

Thank you for writing to me about Rector Nick Day’s recent letter to the federal liberal party leader.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental principle at universities and Mr. Day chose to exercise that right.

He and I have a difference of opinion regarding the appropriateness of the use of the office of Rector to put forth personal views beyond the confines of the institution.

I met with Mr. Day last week to share my perspective. As Queen’s principal, I am continually thinking about the overall direction and well-being of the university and the complex interaction among its constituent parts.

In this capacity, my institutional responsibility necessitated that I convey my concern to the Rector. I felt it was important to air my view and share with him my own belief that leaders must consider the broad spectrum of opinion within their constituencies before taking a stand on their constituents’ behalf.

Mr. Day’s choice would not have been mine, but his choice must be respected. Ultimately, he is answerable only to those who elected him.

There are processes underway to respond to the Rector’s actions by both the AMS and the SGPS. This is as it should be – students debating and discussing the role of their elected representative.

As always, as Principal, my interests and passions remain focused on fostering an environment here at Queen’s that promotes open and vigorous discourse.

Daniel Woolf FRSC
Professor of History, Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Queen's University Richardson Hall 351, Kingston ON K7L 3N6


Offended said...

While I appreciate what you are trying to do on behalf of Nick Day, I am left wondering what is so disgusting about a douche bag that it has become such a low form of insult?

(For that matter, what is so revolting about the sex act that it has become a compulsive curse word. Or a female body part reduced to an ugly retort much more vicious than even a corresponding male body part?)

Shouldn't our educators be setting higher standards of discourse and attitudes?

Denis Rancourt said...

Dear Offended:

My understanding is that a douchebag is largely (mostly?) gender-neutral.

It is used to attempt to wash out some residue without addressing the root cause of the ailment; somewhat like a president's spin.

I think "our educators" should make a special effort to provide examples of disrespecting misbehaving illegitimate (unelected) authority figures, using strong culturally-resonant language.