As a UBC creative writing alumnus (MFA ’76), long based in Toronto, I have been following this story from afar. I have never met Steven Galloway, though I do know a few people in the department. Those close to me say I should just keep my mouth shut, and probably they are right. But I think of my four-year-old granddaughter. When she reaches university age, do I want her to feel safe from predatory males? Secure enough to fight back publicly, should she be abused in any way? The answer is obvious.
I think also of my seven-year-old grandson. He is and will remain a white male. I imagine him in his early forties, a successful professional. Do I want him to be regarded as an obvious target, a “privileged figure” who, whatever the charge, will be automatically found guilty and severely punished? Again, the answer is obvious.
I am sorry that some of those who stepped forward feel threatened. To them, I say, “It’s not about you.” I do not know your names. I do not know who you are. I honestly do not care. Feel free to remain anonymous. You are guarding space that my granddaughter may one day need, and for that I am grateful. That does leave me with questions. Who decided to beat the bushes for complaints when, according to an independent judge, there were none of significance on record? Who decided to call the police and have Mr. Galloway carted off to a psychiatric ward? On what grounds? Who decided to fire him? For what, exactly? Who decided that they were justified in demolishing his reputation and trashing his spectacular international career? We owe thanks to those who have spoken out to ensure that women feel safe in stepping forward. But we are still more indebted to those who have drawn attention to my alma mater’s egregious disregard of due process.