The following letter was sent to all signatories of our Open Letter from Joseph Boyden.
Let me start by once again thanking you for your support.
Now please let me tell you what I know.
First of all I know that there is not a person on this list that hasn’t paid some price for taking this stand with us. We have heard from a number of you already about receiving backlash on social media, by email and in some cases in person and from those closest to you.
What we didn’t expect is that we would ignite a conversation that is much larger than the issues facing UBC’s horrendous mistreatment of all parties involved in the Galloway affair.
The truth is that UBC’s handling of this case (and the resulting discourse) has the power to change what it means to be a writer and teacher in Canada. By eliminating the emotion that has entangled this situation I’m sure we can all see that no teacher or writer in this country should ever be tried in the court of public opinion on accusations that are not even defined.
I believe in the importance of our letter now even more than I did the day we released it. However I must admit that the failure to predict the larger conversation is something I desperately wish I could rectify.
Margaret has been on the front lines of this fight defending the principled stance we all took. She has also identified our failure to see all implications of our letter. Because of this she drafted a statement with a current UBC student.
We feel it is essential that we hold our ground on the important issue of every Canadian’s right to due process and procedural fairness. As we continue to do this, the conversation has become more civil and even generative.
In the last week the letter and its aftermath has become a full time job for many of us. If we have one further regret it is that we have not had time to send out updates to you. The hardest thing I need to ask you for is your patience.
There is one more thing I need from you: your voice.
What I Am Asking You To Now Do
I need you to do what you do best: write. You will notice that Margaret’s signature on the open letter now links directly to her statement. We are now inviting you to write your own statement about why you signed the letter and how you feel now.
You can write about process, you can write about friendship, you can write about the rights of people who have suffered from sexual assault, you can write about your life as a teacher, or like many who signed, you can write about how you added your name simply because you believe in the principle of due process.
There are no limits. There are no restrictions. You can write from the heart and help propel this conversation into a place of dignified dialogue.
One More Update
Please also trust that we are doing everything we can behind the scenes to protect all of our positions and right to speak during this important public conversation.
I can also assure you that much progress is being made. This has included a number of us working tirelessly to put more pressure on UBC and to get more information into the public sphere.
We simply will never be able to control the quick outrage of social media but in the long term we will be able to help write the final version of this story and guide it to a place where every person involved is afforded their basic rights and are treated with dignity and respect.
Once again in solidarity and respect,
PS. Some of you have written to us and wondered who is receiving our emails. Our general email account is being kindly monitored by a volunteer who is happy to forward any message you may have to any of our signatories.