In the lead-up to the Ontario climate strike, many universities across Canada have released statements regarding the event on Friday, September 27, recognizing the importance of an event like this and even going as far as cancelling classes in some cases. Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, will remain open and ask students to speak with their professors if they will be participating. In the lead-up to Friday's event, however, the views of a Laurier professor have caused a stir at the university and online.

A post by the Twitter account Spotted at Laurier shows a screenshot of an apparent email that was sent to students by a professor. The message states the professor's class will not be supporting the climate strike because it is "anti-economics, anti-technology, anti-science and ultimately anti-civilization."

The professor says that although the university publicly supports the strike, he does not. The message that was shared received mixed reactions. Some students — and, incidentally, fellow professors — were totally against this ideology while others praised the teacher in question for having stood up for his beliefs.

Narcity reached Laurier for comment and the university's director of communications and public affairs, Kevin Crowley, noted the university is aware of the issue. Crowley redirected Narcity to a statement posted by Laurier on Tuesday.

Along with reiterating that the college supports participation in the climate strike, the statement reads in part: "Climate change is one of the most important issues facing the global community. As a university committed to freedom of expression, Laurier encourages discussion and exploration of all aspects of this topic as a means to support critical enquiry and the advancement of knowledge. We appreciate that sometimes this is difficult.

"As Laurier's Statement on Freedom of Expression says, 'the university supports the expression, testing, and challenging of a range of perspectives and ideas, including those that may be deemed difficult, controversial, extreme, or even wrong-headed.'"

Chemistry Professor and Vice Dean of Science at Laurier, Ken Maly, responded to the screenshot challenging the professor, finance instructor William J. McNally, to back up his view.

McNally replied: "The goal of the GCS is 'climate justice'. The evidence is their website, which I linked to. That site hyperlinks to another which explains 'climate justice'... I don't know how you read that as anything other than anti-science."

Other Twitter users and Laurier students had a lot to say when it came to the professor's thoughts, and there was a lot of criticism.

However, it seems not everyone disagrees with McNally's stance. Several people responded to praise the prof for standing up for his own beliefs and opinions of the topic.

Wilfrid Laurier has been hosting events all week at its campuses leading up to the final day of the climate strike week.

Students interested in participating will gather at 10 a.m. and walk together to Waterloo Town Square to join the global climate strike Waterloo Region until 2 p.m., according to a Laurier statement.

Narcity has reached out to Professor McNally for comment.


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


 

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