UNB reviewing complaints about white nationalist comments from professor

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WATCH: The University of New Brunswick is investigating after a professor at the University of New Brunswick has been labelled a white nationalist. The university is investigating allegations against Ricardo Duchesne – May 22, 2019

The University of New Brunswick is reviewing complaints about a tenured sociology professor’s comments and appearances with accused white nationalists.

Ricardo Duchesne is known for his controversial views, often published on the blog that he co-founded called the Council of European Canadians.

The concerns were brought to the public’s attention earlier this week.

The blog, where he has been published 140 times, contains posts from Duchesne where he describes the “Chinese silent invasion” of Canada, derides multiculturalism and makes claims that include “white Europeans were the first, and still the only race, to become conscious of their consciousness.”

Duchesne has also appeared on a podcast hosted by far-right politician Faith Goldy.

READ MORE: Nearly 50 per cent of Canadians think racist thoughts are normal: Ipsos poll

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Goldy, a former Toronto mayoral candidate, was recently kicked off Facebook and Instagram along with white nationalist Kevin Goudreau, far-right group Soldiers of Odin and one of its offshoots, Canadian Infidels, in an attempt to remove extremist groups and users that promote hate. 

Duchesne, an immigrant from Puerto Rico, suggested in an interview with Global News that the federal government limit the number of immigrants it allows into the country to just 50,000 a year.

“This is only being targeted against whites. So I am asking that question, why is it that only certain people are targeted to be diversified and are not allowed to engage in criticism about this and have a discussion about it,” said Duchesne, at his home in Rothesay, N.B.

“I want to talk about my heritage and the ways in which immigration may overwhelm it and may just disintegrate it.”

Comments like that made both inside and outside of the classroom have landed the professor in hot water with the administration at UNB.

WATCH: Campus debate over free speech erupts in Nova Scotia

Click to play video: 'Campus debate over free speech erupts in Nova Scotia' Campus debate over free speech erupts in Nova Scotia
Campus debate over free speech erupts in Nova Scotia – Mar 22, 2018

On Tuesday Dr. Eddy Campbell, president and vice-chancellor at UNB, issued a statement about a review into a faculty member.

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“UNB is reviewing allegations with respect to one of our faculty members. We take these allegations very seriously. I want to remind the community that this will take time as it is important we follow the processes through which universities and the members therein are held accountable,” Campbell wrote.

Although the statement did not mention Duchesne by name, he did confirm to Global News that he received a phone call from the university regarding the allegations.

The Students’ Representative Council at UNB has raised concerns about Duchesne’s appearance on the Faith Goldy podcast in addition to 2015 comments, in which the professor suggested that Asian immigration is threatening the suburbs of Vancouver.

“It’s really quite shameful for the university to have that reputation here on campus and for him to be interacting with students,” explains Patrick Hickey, the council’s president.

READ MORE: UNB defends professor’s comments about Asian immigration in Vancouver

Duchesne maintains he’s entitled to “academic freedom” and suggested his classes are widely attended and provide students with new insights.

However, his comments have raised questions about how far academic freedom goes when it comes to shaping and influencing young minds.

Last year Rick Mehta, a psychology teacher at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, was fired for comments made online about decolonization, immigration and gender politics.

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“This question of where you draw the line between the important concept of academic freedom and yet providing a safe and inclusive and appropriate educational environment is one that many universities and schools are struggling with right now,” explains Wayne MacKay, a professor of human rights law at Dalhousie University, who also worked on the Mehta inquiry.

UNB is asking for patience as the review process unfolds. The university says the review could lead to a formal investigation, but there’s no timeline on when that decision will be made.

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