If you can get past the extravagant amount of heat vs light that’s been expended by all of us on this issue – all the signatories of all the letters both pro and con — since UBC issued its first press release about Galloway’s suspension well over a year ago now, consider this: There is one person who has studied this case – carefully, dispassionately, impartially — and with access to more of the facts than any person other than those actually named in the case, for almost half a year.
Mary Ellen Boyd is a retired Supreme Court judge described by her peers as a highly regarded adjudicator, with an unblemished reputation, who has presided over some of BC’s most high-profile sexual assault cases. In her report subsequently filed, she found the main complainant’s charge unconvincing, and those of lesser complainants either trivial or irrelevant. The one finding she noted – that the accused had had a consensual affair with the complainant for several years previously – was not related to any charge, and Galloway had already informed the university of this affair in any case.
So why did UBC refuse to publish Judge Boyd’s report? Worse yet, why did they willfully control and misrepresent her findings to the media in a way that made it sound as if Galloway had agreed to whatever he’d been accused of? (What he’d actually agreed to was merely the previous affair with the student – which is not [you may be surprised to learn] even an offence according to UBC’s code of ethics.)
If an affair with a student at UBC is not a firing offence, and if Galloway was exonerated on the charge of sexual assault, why was he fired?
Clearly, the university was more concerned about protecting its brand than mere justice; we in the CW department soon heard rumours of our administrative staff being grilled about possible irregularities during Galloway’s chairmanship, even though he’d been presiding over the most dramatic growth in the program’s history. Once again, nothing of substance was found, and yet the university announced his firing based on “a record of misconduct that resulted in an irreparable breach of trust”. No details, no specifics, no charges — just vague generalities, and you’re out.
If anyone genuinely thinks these actions don’t need to be examined by an independent investigation, they hold to a very different concept of justice than I do. In any case, that’s why I signed this letter. And it’s made me wonder whether universities should be permitted to deal with this sort of issue at all.
Concern about the institution’s reputation too easily trumps concern over justice for its employees or students. Perhaps all charges of sexual assault on a university campus should automatically be handed over to the police. Their track record isn’t exactly stellar, but even they would probably do a more responsible job of it than UBC did in this instance.