UNB professor’s writings ‘racist,’ ‘without merit’: Canadian Historical Association

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WATCH: The Canadian Historical Association says Ricardo Duchesne's written work on multiculturalism and immigration has not been subject to peer review. Tim Roszell reports – May 29, 2019

A controversial professor at the University of New Brunswick accused of being a white nationalist is coming under more criticism.

The Canadian Historical Association, the largest historical association in Canada, has written a letter saying that Ricardo Duchesne needs to be held accountable for his work and that he can’t use academic freedom as an excuse.

The association says Duchesne’s arguments about multiculturalism and immigration are “racist and without merit.”

READ MORE: UNB professors pen letter against colleague who made white nationalist statements

In comments published on a blog he co-founded, Duchesne has written about a “Chinese Silent Invasion” of Canada, and that immigration is a conspiracy leading to white genocide.

On Wednesday, Duchesne believes he’s being attacked because he’s doing things differently.

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“In the last few years, I haven’t published in leftist peer review journals,” Duchesne said.

“I have published in journals that are not considered official by the leftist-dominated academia.”

Last week, a group of more than 30 members of the UNB faculty spoke out, signing a letter and saying that Duchesne’s statements online — and, at times, in the classroom — have no merit, and qualify more as hate speech than academic freedom. It has now been signed by more than 100 professors.

WATCH: UNB reviewing allegations that professor is a white supremacist

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UNB investigating allegations that professor is a white supremacist – May 22, 2019

But Duchesne has received new support from the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship (SAFS), an organization that was formed in 1992 around the goal of “maintaining freedom in teaching, research and scholarship.”

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SAFS sent a letter to UNB president Eddy Campbell on Wednesday, asking him to explain the school’s review of Duchesne.

The society’s president Mark Mercer said Duchesne’s work is protected by academic freedom.

“From an academic point of view, there is no line between acceptable speech and hate speech, there’s just well-reasoned arguments and poorly-reasoned arguments,” Mercer said.

Mercer later clarified his comments, saying there is a line between academic freedom and hate speech, one in law. If someone believes a professor has broken the law using hate speech, they should call police, he said.

READ MORE: UNB reviewing complaints about white nationalist comments from professor

Duchesne said he feels validated by the Society’s support, calling them “old-school professors” who still believe in academic freedom.

Duchesne’s own colleagues at UNB’s Saint John campus, though, aren’t convinced.

“When we find a colleague… who publishes works that do not go through that peer review process and then communicate that non-peer review work as if it is academic, peer-reviewed work, then that becomes a problem in terms of professional standards,” said Dr. Robert Whitney, a professor of Latin-American history and one of the UNB faculty who has signed the letter condemning Duchesne.

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SAFS is calling on UNB to drop the Duchesne review in the interest of academic freedom.

A spokesperson for the university says the review is ongoing.

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