Ontario college professor investigated for violent, homophobic post no longer employee

A photo of St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ont. uploaded to Wikipedia by user Gordonrox24. Used under a Creative Commons 3.0 license. Wikipedia/Gordonrox24

TORONTO — A business professor at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ont., is no longer an employee of the institution after coming under fire after he allegedly posted a violent homophobic comment on Facebook.

“It’s the queers they should be hanging, not the flag….,”said a post on Rick Coupland’s Facebook page, with a link to a news report about the mayor of a Florida city raising a rainbow flag in honour of Pride celebrations.

READ MORE: Gay marriage ruling has Twitter users saying they’re ‘moving to Canada’

Kelly Wiley, a spokeswoman for St. Lawrence College, said the school had received a complaint by a former student on Thursday about the alleged post.

“We obviously took these comments and the complaint very seriously and we immediately launched an internal investigation,” she said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

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“Mr. Coupland is no longer an employee at the college and we’re just making the statement publicly so I can tell you that this occurred later this afternoon.”

Wiley said the college is discussing the evidence related to the alleged post with many different parties at the college as well as with the individual that allegedly made the complaints.

“I don’t imagine there’s going to be a much more activity with regard to Mr. Coupland but we take this matter very seriously,” she said.

“The opinion stated in social media are very damaging. They do not reflect the culture and values and our college and we are going to continue to work through that.”

Helen Kennedy, executive director of sexual orientation human rights charity Egale Canada, said the incident is “a sad reminder of the amount of work that we still need to do in Canada.”

“It’s really appalling that someone at his level would say such a thing. That anybody would say such a thing in this country,” Kennedy said.

“It never ceases to amaze me though that these comments and people still have these types of attitudes … I think education and culture shift is what’s needed in order to change these draconian attitudes.”

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Coupland’s page has since been closed, but screen captures of his comment remain online.

Coupland posted again that he had to go off the social media site after the backlash began.

“I have to get off Facebook for a while. I’ve been called into work and told to bring my representatives re: my comments on FB. Please pray for me and my job….”

With files from Mark McAllister

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