TORONTO – A few dozen students took to the University of Toronto campus Friday to protest remarks made by lecturer David Gilmour regarding his refusal to teach works written by female authors.
Students at the University of Toronto set up a Facebook page encouraging people to meet at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Northrop Frye statue at Victoria College.
The statue is symbolic, according to the organizers, because Gilmour was a former student of the famed Canadian literary theorist.
Michael Collins, a PhD candidate in the English department at the University of Toronto said he was moved to attend the protest because Gilmour’s remarks were the antithesis of what the study of literature should entail.
“What’s happened this week reflects so extremely poorly on the University of Toronto that it could not go unaddressed,” Collins said. “What David Gilmour said and his attitude reflects not only something perhaps politically unfashionable but something deeply problematic.”
The course Gilmour taught was a 300 level course in the Northrop Frye program of the university’s the English department. And Gilmour’s course for the students in that stream, is required.
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A public backlash ensued after Gilmour made comments to an online literary magazine, Hazlitt, where he said “I’m not interested in teaching books by women.”
In a written statement, U of T said they have “heard from faculty, staff, students and alumni alike who were understandably dismayed by the remarks” and will “ensure that students in his class are under no misapprehensions that Mr. Gilmour’s literary preferences may be translated into assumptions about their innate abilities.”
Video: Anger and concern at U of T protest against David Gilmour