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Margaret Wente resigns contentious Toronto college appointment after uproar

Last Updated Jun 23, 2020 at 10:14 am EST

TORONTO — Former Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente has resigned a contentious appointment with a Toronto college after facing fierce opposition from students and staff.

Massey College says Wente resigned her post as a senior fellow and member of the Quadrangle Society in a letter that called accusations against her “false and outrageous” and stating “that her record speaks for itself.”

Wente’s appointment had been under review late last week, with Massey College principal Nathalie Des Rosiers saying they had “new information” but she did not elaborate.

Controversy emerged days earlier when the school, affiliated with the University of Toronto, described Wente as one of 46 appointees “who demonstrate the ethical pursuit of the public good that we want to model for our junior fellowship.”

A petition signed by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors urged the college to rescind the post due to Wente’s history of inflammatory columns dealing with race and multiple accusations of plagiarism.

The governing board’s vice-chair, Craig Thorburn, says the college is committed “to engage in a fundamental rethink of the way in which the college community interacts and operates.”

The goal is “to eliminate any impediments to an environment that is completely free from anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, anti-gender identity views and discrimination of any kind,” he stated.

“Many efforts to address these matters have been underway at the college for many months, but will become the primary focus of the governing board in the months to come.”

The appointment also prompted U of T professor Alissa Trotz to resign from the nomination committee as she called into question “non-transparent mechanisms of selection.”

Last Friday, Des Rosiers said COVID-19 precautions disrupted the normal nomination process and might have made it more difficult for committee members to review candidates.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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