'Victory for academic freedom' as Laurentian University Faculty Association wins legal battle
SUDBURY -- The Laurentian University Faculty Association says it has won an important posthumous legal battle after a late professor was removed from teaching a first-year psychology class.
After teaching at Laurentian University for more than four decades, Professor Michael Persinger was abruptly removed from a course in 2016 after a student made a complaint.
The complaint had to do with a waiver he asked students to sign before attending his classes.
Persinger told CTV News in 2016 the form asked students to acknowledge that they might occasionally hear profanities, including homophobic slurs and sexual slang, during his lectures. He had been using the form for 10 years, but after the student complaint, the university pulled him off the course saying that asking students to sign such a form is against school policy.
The long-time psychology professor passed away last year at the age of 73.
Now, the faculty association says winning the legal battle is a victory for academic freedom.
Fabrice Colin is the president of the Laurentian University Faculty Association.
"The administration, during the mediation session with the bracket, recognized that it was improper to removed Dr. Persinger from his classroom, and by doing so, they failed to consider his academic freedoms they agreed to measure in order to ensure that this won’t happen again. Indeed, we are quite satisfied with the outcome, but it would have been a victory if doctor Persinger would have been with us to enjoy the result," said Colin.
Colin says the university has agreed to award a yearly scholarship in Dr. Persinger's name.