In November 2017 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, Teaching Assistant Lindsay Shepherd had allowed a discussion in her classroom about gender pronouns and she showed a 3-minute public television TVOntario debate on the topic.

In a meeting with three of her superiors, Shepherd was brought to tears and reprimanded for having allowed the discussion. She was told that students had complained about her. She was told that she had created a toxic climate, creating an unsafe learning environment, engaged in gendered violence, and that her actions were in violation of Canadian human rights laws.

As news of the incident spread, Shepherd was accused of being an alt-right conservative and ridiculed for being transphobic. The incident sparked an international controversy and was discussed in Canadian Parliament. Shepherd was at risk of losing her job, having her career destroyed, and forever having her character besmirched in national media.

In a statement on Monday (18 Dec 2017), University President Deborah MacLatchy issued a formal apology to Sheperd after an internal fact-finding investigation determined that there actually had been no student complaints about Shepherd.

CBC Video Interview with Shepherd

On Wednesday, 20 Dec 2017, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) interviewed Shepherd about the incident and the news of being exonerated.

University President’s Response

In the video below from 24 Nov 2017, Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy addresses how Lindsay Shepherd was treated.

 

Additional Resources

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NOTE: Retractions, acquittals, and exonerations typically don’t end up as front page news. So, we like to feature them here on our website to help set the record straight when people have been falsely accused or maligned. The story above is an example.