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'I Support Racial Equality,' Calgary Professor Responds To Petition To Get Her Fired

An online petition has been started in hopes of getting a Calgary professor fired. Frances Widdowson, who works at Mount Royal University, has allegedly displayed hateful actions against the BIPOC community. Several MRU alumni have been sharing their experiences online. 

According to the petition started by MRU student Kenna Fraser, Widdowson has made racist remarks in the past. 

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The petition, which has over 2,000 signatures on the way to its 2,500 goal, is asking MRU to terminate Widdowson.  

Other than claiming the prof has made racist statements, the petition doesn’t go into detail about what the remarks were. 

The organizer of the petition, Kenna Fraser, told Narcity that the stories are not hers to tell and she has left the comment section open for people to share their experiences. 

One person by the name of Sara Buzreba claimed that they're not comfortable having a professor that believes “residential schools should be considered an 'opportunity for Indigenous children to get an education that normally they wouldn’t have received.’”

Some comments point toward comments regarding residential schools. 

Fraser said that while she never had any classes with the prof, many of her friends did.

“The focus should be the experiences that the BIPOC community has had and the weight that the hateful remarks that Widdowson says carry.”

In a statement sent to Narcity by the professor in question, Frances Widdowson, she said that she supports “racial equality and all efforts to end racism.”

“There has been no evidence that anything that I have said is racist, and I regard this allegation as offensive and defamatory,” wrote the professor in her emailed statement. 

She said that some of the students are being mobilized by other faculty members and “enabled by a few administrators.”

Claiming that a student-led Twitter account was mocking professors, the MRU faculty member told Narcity that she is drawing attention to the “irrationality of ‘wokeness’” by retweeting statements from a satirical account on Twitter by adding her own commentary under an alias. 

She stated that she tries to avoid mocking individual students by blacking out names, although, she admits that some have slipped through. 

In an email statement provided by MRU, the university said that the views expressed by MRU employees do not necessarily reflect the views of the institution. 

“Within the bounds of Canadian law, people have the basic right to freely express their ideas,” said Tim Rahilly, PhD, President and Vice-Chancellor at Mount Royal University.

“Equally valid are obligations that all employees have to cultivate an equitable, diverse and inclusive environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”

The university is now reviewing the concerns.

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