I have been contacted this week by people who helped me to think more deeply about why I signed the letter in the first place. Thank you to them for their bravery. I want to apologize for causing harm. It was never my intention to protect male patriarchy or to silence women. The idea that I have made anyone feel fear or shame or disempowerment sickens me. It makes me look at my actions by signing and makes me consider what I need to learn from this. I signed the letter because I think that UBC made a mess of this situation. I did not sign it to cause division.
As writers, those of us who have signed and those of us who are furious about the letter, are actually all on the same side. None of us want to silence women. None of us want to install fear or shame. But we have divided ourselves over this and in doing so we’ve muddied already muddy waters. I apologize that by signing, I did not go anywhere near far enough to make it clear that I want to see any complainants having a safe process to follow at any university if they feel fear or shame or violation.
I want to see due process followed for everyone involved in any situation like this. Ever. I don’t know what due process would look like. But UBC absolutely needs to know what due process looks like. So does every university and creative writing program in the country. I am sorry and I am sad. And I am very, very open to learning more from this. I am part of a community of writers here in Canada and I count myself extraordinarily lucky to be so. In no way did I want that to feel like a secret club to which others are not invited. It certainly didn’t feel like that when I signed the letter but I can absolutely understand how that impression has been created.
There are many of you out there with marvellous stories to tell and I hope to be able to read those stories one day. Alice Kuipers