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Lindsay Shepherd Meeting

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  1. A meeting was called after Shepherd, a TA and Grad Student, showed her communications studys class a video of a debate including Jordan Peterson, regarding the use of transgendered pronouns. A student or students made an anonymous complaint or complaints.
  2.  
  3. PRESENT:
  4.  
  5. Nathan Rambukkana: Assistant Professor, Communication Studies (And Shepherd's supervisor)
  6. Dr Herbet Pimlott: Associate Professor, Communication Studies
  7. Adria Joel: Acting Manager, Gendered Violence Prevention and Support
  8.  
  9. Rambukkana: That might have been seen as problematic by some of the students. Maybe even threatening?
  10.  
  11. Shepherd: I don't see how someone would rationally think it was threatening. I could see how it might challenge their existing ideas, but for me, that's the spirit of the university is challenging ideas that you already have. I don't know who this came from, I would be interested to see the original complaint, or complaints, because I don't have any context as to what exactly their problem was.
  12.  
  13. Pimlott: Sorry to interrupt, but can I just ask Lindsay to maybe just provide us with the full thing? Sorry I'd just like to hear the whole - what took place. So if you could just give us the whole story. And then, sorry, but I feel that because I'm just sitting in.
  14.  
  15. Shepherd: Yep, sure. Okay, so we have to teach about Grammar. In the pearson book, there was a section about pronouns, and using gendered language. So, I wanted to make it more engaging, so what I did, was we were taking about in papers using "they" as a singular. And we were also talking about "his and hers" and how to construct sentences with that. And then, to contextualize it, I brought up a youtube debate, so a debate with both sides, Jordan Peterson's side, and this fellow named Nicholas Matte, who is also a prof at U of T.
  16.  
  17. Rambukkana (?): Do you have the name of the video?
  18.  
  19. Shepherd: It was from The Agenda with Steve Paikin. It was a youtube debate, it was one hour long, but I showed about five minutes. And I mean, the students were very interested, I could tell, all their eyes were on the screen. After, when we had a debate, there were people of all opinions. After, from what I could see, it was a very friendly debate. Obviously, this person who had an issue did not express it to me, they just went straight to whoever, I don't really know what happened.
  20.  
  21. Rambukkana: Okay, so just for some additional context, you came from U of T, is that right?
  22.  
  23. Shepherd: No. From SFU.
  24.  
  25. Rambukkana: Oh. From SFU? Okay, so you weren't one of Jordan Peterson's students or anything like that.
  26.  
  27. Shepherd: No.
  28.  
  29. Rambukkana: Just to give you some context about Jordan Peterson is, he is a figure that is basically highly involved with the Alt-Right He - Yes - The website Rebel Media, which is an Alt-Right website has been involved in raising multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars for his research. About a week and a half ago, he gave a lecture in which he identified student protesters by posting their social media accounts so people would bully and threaten them online. He lectures about basically critiquing feminism, critiquing trans-rights, critiquing, white surpemacy - Er, not critiquing -
  30.  
  31. Shepherd: I mean, I'm familiar, I follow him. But, the thing is, can you shield people from those ideas? Am I supposed to comfort them and make sure that there are insulated away from this? Is that what the point of this is? Because to me that is so against what a university is about. So against it. I was not taking sides, I was presenting both arguments.
  32.  
  33. Rambukkana: So the thing is about this, if you're presenting something like this, you have to think about the kind of teaching climate that you're creating. These arguments are counter to the Canadian Human Rights Code, and I know you talked about C-16. Ever since this passed, it is discriminatory to be targeting someone due to their gender identity or gender expression. So bringing something like that up in class, not critically, and I understand that you're trying to-
  34.  
  35. Shepherd: It was critical. I introduced it critically.
  36.  
  37. Rambukkana: Howso?
  38.  
  39. Shepherd: Like I said, it was in the spirit of debate.
  40.  
  41. Rabukkana: Okay, "In the spirit of debate" is slightly different than "This is a problematic idea that maybe we want to unpack"
  42.  
  43. Shepherd: But that's taking sides.
  44.  
  45. Rambukkana: Yes.
  46.  
  47. Shepherd: But that's taking sides for me to be like "Oh look at this guy. Everything that comes out his mouth is BS but we're gonna watch anyway."
  48.  
  49. Rambukkana: Okay. So, I understand the position that you're coming from and your positionality, but the reality is, that it has created a toxic climate for some of the students. You know, it's great that-
  50.  
  51. Shepherd: How many? Who? How Many? One?
  52.  
  53. Rambukkana: May I speak?
  54.  
  55. Shepherd: I have no concept of how many people complained, what their complaint was [tearing up] You haven't shown me the complaint.
  56.  
  57. Rambukkana: Yes I understand that this is upsetting, but there is also confidentiality matters.
  58.  
  59. Shepherd: The number of people is confidential?
  60.  
  61. Rambukkana: Yes.
  62.  
  63. Shepherd: Okay.
  64.  
  65. Rambukkana: It's one or multiple students who have come forward saying that this is something that they were concerned about and that it made them uncomfortable. If this is for example, a trans student, this is basically debating whether or not a trans student should have  rights within one of their classes. Taht's not something that is really acceptable in  the context of the kind of learning environment that we're trying to create.  It would be the equivalent of debating whether or not a student of colour should have rights, or should be allowed to be married. Do you see how this is not something that is intellectually neutral, that is up for debate? I mean, this is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  66.  
  67. Shepherd: But it is up for debate.
  68.  
  69. Rambukkana: You're perfectly welcome to your own opinions, but when you're bringing it into the context of the classroo, that can become problematic, and that creates an unsafe learning environment for students.
  70.  
  71. Shepherd: [Tearing up] But when they leave the university, they're going to be exposed to these ideas. So I don't see how I'm doing a disservice to the class by exposing them to ideas that are really out there. I'm sorry I'm crying, I'm stressed, oout, because this to me is so wrong. So wrong.
  72.  
  73. Joel: Can we mention the Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy?
  74.  
  75. Rambukkana: Yeah, please.
  76.  
  77. Joel: So under that, gendered violence doesn't just include sexual violence, but it also includes targeting folks based on gender, so that includes transphobia, biphobia, homophobia. All those sorts of things are protected under the policy, and so those are things that Laurier has upheld as values as well as the Ontario Human Rights Code. So those are things that we're responsible for not impacting our students in that way, and not spreading transphobia.
  78.  
  79. Shepherd: Okay, so, what I have a problem with, is that I didn't target anybody, Who did I target?
  80.  
  81. Joel: Trans folks.
  82.  
  83. Shepherd: How? By telling them ideas that are really out there? By telling them that? By telling them? Really?
  84.  
  85. Rambukkana: It's not just telling them, in legitimizing this as a valid perspective, as this is another valid perspective-
  86.  
  87. Shepherd: In a university, all perspectives are valid!
  88.  
  89. Rambukkana: That's not necessarily true, Lindsay.
  90.  
  91. Shepherd: [Tearing up] Well, this is something that's being debated in current society, and I don't feel the need to shield people from what's going on in society.
  92.  
  93. Rambukkana: Okay.
  94.  
  95. Shepherd: To imagine that this is happening in a university? It's just bad. Bad.
  96.  
  97. Rambukkana: Okay, so just to give you a context, also within all of this that is happening, Laurier is being blanketed with white supremacist posters currently. There is another debate in society, which is whether or not North America should be a set of White Nationalist states and that they should be ethnically cleansed of other people. That is also a current debate in society. Would you show something in your tutorial that you had, you know, white supremacists and non-white supremacists debating whether or not other people should live in north america. Is that something that you would show?
  98.  
  99. Shepherd: If that was related to the content of the week and we were talking about right-wing speech bubbles, maybe.
  100.  
  101. Rambukkana: Okay.
  102.  
  103. Shepherd: And it depends on the content, if there are really ideas that are existing out there like that, then I mean - Look, the thing is, I don't see what's transphobic about showing a video of Jordan Peterson. He's a real person. He's out there!
  104.  
  105. Rambukkana: He is a real person. But he is a real person who has engaged in targeting of trans students, basically doxxing them, if you know the term, giving out their personal information, so that they'll be attacked, harrassed, so that death threats will find them.  This is something that he has done to his own students, that he has done to other students, and this is something that the students are aware of. So this is basically like playing - Not to kind of do the thing where everything is compared to Hitler - But this is like neutrally playing a speech by Hitler or Milo Yiannopolous from Gamergate. This is the kind of thing that departmentally, in terms of critical communication studies, and in terms of the course and what we're trying to do, is diametrically opposed to everything that we;ve been talking about in the lectures. Was this one of the reasons that you wanted to do this? As a reaction to the lecture content?
  106.  
  107. Shepherd: No, we were talking about gendered language. I was asking them to structure sentences using "they" or using "his or her" and then we talked about the societal context of it.
  108.  
  109. Rambukkana: Okay.
  110.  
  111. Shepherd: [Tearing up] So I don't get why I'm being seen as transphobic, by virtue, by proxy, of me just saying, just exposing people to an idea. I don't get how that label is attached to me, I really don't.
  112.  
  113. Rambukkana: It's more about the effect, than the intention. Obviously, that wasn't your intention, but nevertheless, it disturbed and upset students enough-
  114.  
  115. Shepherd: So everything is about those students who are disturbed? Everything is catered to them?
  116.  
  117. Rambukkana: Lindsay-
  118.  
  119. Pimlott: Can I offer a different perspective?
  120.  
  121. Rambukkana: Yeah.
  122.  
  123. Pimlott: Was this a tutorial based on looking at grammar?
  124.  
  125. Shepherd: Mhm.
  126.  
  127. Pimlott: And it was focused on the use of pronouns and the use of grammar?
  128.  
  129. Shepherd: Mhm.
  130.  
  131. Pimlott: Is grammar not something that's not really subject to debate?
  132.  
  133. Shepherd: They, and His and Her? It's a huge debate right now? Can we use "They" in the singular?
  134.  
  135. Pimlott: But you do know, that "they" has actually been used in the singular, it's gramatically-
  136.  
  137. Shepherd: Yeah, and that was in the video I showed to the class, and a point I made. What's kind of funny, is I disagree with Jordan Peterson. I disagree. [Tearing Up] But you guys seem to thing that I'm pro-Jordan Peterson or something.
  138.  
  139. Rambukkana: Well, from the-
  140.  
  141. Pimlott: Sorry, do you mind If I...?
  142.  
  143. Rambukkana: Sorry, yeah, go ahead.
  144.  
  145. Pimlott: I'm here for a different, just as the MA task coordinator. My issue with Jordan Peterson, I'm gonna come at it from a different angle, is that as an academic and scholar in this institution, or any institution in which - My research is subject to peer review. You know what peer review is, right?
  146.  
  147. Shepherd: Mhm.
  148.  
  149. Pimlott: So, regardless of what I believe, if I'm to be published in scholarly journals and that, my research has to be demonstrated to be able to be reproduced in the methods and therories that are used to reporoduce it. I might believe X, but my academic freedom as I understand it, does not just give me the freedom to spout off. If I'm tenured and they can't fire me, I mean there's the case of Charles Murray, he used to do this about race at Western, wasn't it Western? Yeah. He published stuff by publishing companies that didn't do peer review because they wanted what he had. So what he was actually teaching his students were ideas that were not substantiated by methods and theories that could not be reproduced in an academic and analytical way, that other people reproduce and get the same results. He had already predetermined the outcome. It's much the way a lot of these right-wing think tanks, like the Frasier Institute, their form of research can't be done in traditional academic journals because they've already predetermined the outcome. For myself, regardless of what I believe, I will not teach anything in any of my classes if it is not something that is substantiated by evidence that can be reporoduced according to peer review. I might tell students that I might believe X, I have no expectations that they will reproduce anything that I think because I don't expect them to. I say I believe X because of what I've read. But for me,  as I teach the students in the second year comm studies theory course, is, I know it's a bit simplistic, opinion minus evidence equals prejudice. In the case of Jordan Peterson, and I'm not super well versed, but I have done reading and looking at - none of his contentions about the Human Rights Code, the fact that people can be jailed - I mean, you probably believe - If you follow him you would know that he claims you could be jailed, when C-16 was being discussed. He was claiming you could be jailed, if you misgendered, used thge wrong pronoun for someone. What struck me was that none of what he proclaimed, and sometimes how he proclaims it, I think he tries to act like he doesn't yet know - is done in ways that are academically suspect, to say the least. From what I've read in research, which is again, I'm not as extensive on researching him. He does not have the substantial academic evidence to be a credible person. It's like some of the climate change deniers that are given a 50/50 chance with meteorologists. Scientists never proclaim 100%, because the scientific method cannot demonstrate - You know no scientist says "this is 100% certain" because that's the nature of scientific inquiry, just like social scientific inquiry. In the same way though, meteorologists do not teach in first year geology or meteological classes that there is a debate, even if in the public sphere there are people that want to believe, and it's a very high number - higher in Alberta, than perhaps Ontario, higher still in certain partso f the United States, like Texas - Who believe that fossil fuels do not contribute to global warming. But that is not a credible, academic, scholarly, scientific position. And to present as if there's two sides to a debate, when it's substantially, there is not, an academic, credible - that becomes problematic. I'm approaching this from the point of view of the institution. We are legitimizing positions that don't have credible evidence. Just like Charles Murray with his race claims of White Superiority. Never mind that there is also the issue of the fact that a certain grouping of students will be subject to having their rights subject to what the majority thinks without... What I'm doing is operating from a different position here, in saying that I as a scholar, as someone with tutorial leaders, I would find it problematic if my tutorial leaders were representing positions that didn't have any substantial academic crediblility to that evidence.
  150.  
  151. Shepherd: But he's still a public figure. Yes, he has an academic credential, but this was on a TV show. He's still a public figure.
  152.  
  153. Pimlott: He's a public figure, and there's a lot of people there like Richard Spencer, leader of - I don't like calling them Alt-Right, it gives them too much legitimacy - But Richard Spencer, right? I mean... The Nazis actually [laughing] used, This is a historical, issues around the free speech ideas in the 1920s in Weihmar Germany as an issue around which, which is what they're using now. We know though that someone like Richard Spencer is using theories and ideas which don't have any academic credibility. He's a public figure. But in terms of, if we introduce someone, we give them greater credibility in a certain condition. Yes, I agree that there are public figures out there that bring hatred, that target groups, and if you look at statistically, the degree of suicide attempts that trans people, young people - it's the highest of any group in society. You go through indigenious people, right? And so on. There are things that don't have academic credibility, and I personally think I have some problems - I have no problems with the fact that these things are out there and that people are going to engage them, but we have to also think of the atmosphere we also create for the learning process, right?
  154.  
  155. Rambukkana: To go back to your question before "Is it just for those people that are upset about this, or feel threatened by this?" there's something called "The Tyranny of The Majority" It's that if you want to create an environment that has the ability for everybody to learn, that's not going to block people out just because they are the minority in a particular group, or they might not feel comfortable voicing that they have problems with that material in that space because you're an authority figure in that space. You're also representative of the class, and the department, and the school in that space. Do you understand how  it could become an issue? I understand why you made the choice. You wanted to present this as an issue, to talk about, and to bring it out there, etcetera. It's more about trying to understand what the impact of that choice was, and why that might have not been the best choice for this context.
  156.  
  157. ShepherD: I can see why people would think that. I wouldn't do it again, maybe not this exact case.
  158.  
  159. Rambukkana: But you would do something similar again? Just, that's your principle, that it would have to be a completely balanced view?
  160.  
  161. Shepherd: No. I don't believe a false notion of balance, but I'll say it again, the university is about exposing people to ideas, and I don't get [tearing up] why you have to think a certain way because fro mwhat I'm getting in this room, is that if you don't think a certain way, then it's not credible. And not about the academic credibility stuff, but from a public figure point of view. And like I said, I disagree with what he says but I am still open to listening to people. And these students were not open. They're not open to learning knew things. HEaring other perspectives.
  162.  
  163. Rambukkana: So your position is that the students were wrong.
  164.  
  165. Shepherd: I'm not saying they were wrong, I'm saying they were not open to a new perspective and I find that unfortunate,
  166.  
  167. Rambukkana: Okay.
  168.  
  169. Shepherd: Part of university is personal development, and that means becoming a stronger person, and challenging your beliefs and stuff.
  170.  
  171. Rambukkana: Do you understand how what happened was contrary to, sorry Adria, what was the policy?
  172.  
  173. Joel: The Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy.
  174.  
  175. Rambukkana: The Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy. Do you understand how-
  176.  
  177. Shepherd: Sorry, what did I violate in that policy?
  178.  
  179. Joel: Gender-based violence, transphobia, in that policy. Causing harm to trans students by bringing their identity as invalid, or their pronouns as invalid, or potentially invalid.
  180.  
  181. Shepherd: So I caused harm and violence?
  182.  
  183. Joel: Which is, under the Ontario Human Right Code, a protected thing and also something Laurier holds as a value.
  184.  
  185. Shepherd: Okay. So by proxy of me showing a youtube video, I'm transphobic and I caused harm and violence? So be it, I can't do anything to control that.
  186.  
  187. Rambukkana: Okay so that's not something that you have an issue with? The fact that that happened? Are you sorry that it happened?
  188.  
  189. Shepherd: I know in my heart and I know that I expressed to the class that I'm not transphobic, and if any of them - Again, I don't know what they said - but I don't think gave away any kind of political position of mine. I remained very neutral [sniffs]
  190.  
  191. Rambukkana: That's kind of the problem, is that if you're framing something that's like this - just to give you example, in lecture I also showed something that was from a member of the Alt-right. Were you there for the Guns Unlimited video, talking about the 3D printing, etcetera?
  192.  
  193. Shepherd: Yep.
  194.  
  195. Rambukkana: So this is someone who also has a site like the ones that fund Jordan Peterson like Patreon, the alt-right white supremacist webstite that basically gets funding for these projects if they get kicked off of things like indiegogo, etcetera. But I framed it by saying those kinds of things, by actually bringing out the critical perspective. To just present information like this neutrally, it can help cultivate an environment where these kinds of opinion, alt-right opinions, white supremacist opinions, anti-trans opinions, anti-gay opinions, anti-women misogynist opinions. Where those can feel like it's a space where those kinds of opinions can be nurtured and created. That's the frame on why some kinds of content we would use in class, or we wouldn't use. Or we would only use those for upper year classes, or grad students. For example, in one of your classes, it might be appropriate to watch a white supremacist reqruitment video, something that Richard Spencer has done, because there's student with more critical faculties, that have been exposed to more things that have had more time to process. These are very young students, and something of that nature is not appropriate to that age of student.
  196.  
  197. Shepherd: 18?
  198.  
  199. Rambukkana: Yes.
  200.  
  201. Shepherd: They're adults.
  202.  
  203. Rambukkana: Yes, but they're very young adults. They don't have the critical toolkit to be able to take it apart yet. This is one of the things that we're teaching them. This is why it becomes something that has to be done with a bit more care.
  204.  
  205. Shepherd: I get what you mean about framing it. I remember when you talked about the 3D printing of the guns, and how you said it was problematic. In retrospect, yeah I should have used that word, problematic. That would have been a good word to bring up.
  206.  
  207. Rambukkana: Well, that's good that you acknowledge that, especially since you're saying that this is not something that you agree with, this is not something that you're trying to promote. It's just that you're trying to open up the debate. But the problem is is that that particular debate is about whether trans people are people are not. does that make sense?
  208.  
  209. Shepherd: It's a language issue, and you can extend it to whether you want to extend it to personhood or not. I did present that argument. I presented the argument that by denying people their pronouns you are denying their dignity. I stated that argument.
  210.  
  211. Rambukkana: But do you understand that if you were a trans person in that class, or if the topic was "If women should have the vote" Do you think you might find that problematic? Do you think that that might not be
  212.  
  213. Shepherd: [sighs]
  214.  
  215. Rambukkana: -Something that was just academically related to your identity and rights, but fundamentally related to your identity and rights?
  216.  
  217. Shepherd: Sorry, what's the question again?
  218.  
  219. Rambukkana: If you were a trans person in that class, do you think that that might not have just been an academic question or something that was up for debate, but rather that that was something that immediately felt [hits table] impacted you and made the learning institution that you're paying to attend a place where you're feeling that your identity is being questioned and up for debate?
  220.  
  221. Shepherd: Would I feel that way if I was a trans person? It's hard for me to say because it ties into who people are as individuals and how strong they are and how willing they are to engage with ideas, I don't know if I can make any generalization about-
  222.  
  223. Rambukkana: Is your position that these students were not strong enough to be able to withstand this kind of critique?
  224.  
  225. Shepherd: I mean if someone was attacking women in front of me, which it does happen, I feel strong enough in my position to either not respond, and know in my head "Yeah, that person is wrong I'm fine with being a female" but I don't know how other people might react, I don't live in their head, it's hard for me to know.
  226.  
  227. Rambukkana: Okay, alright, that makes sense.
  228.  
  229. Pimlott: What I see is I have not a problem with the idea of debate at any point. What concerns me of what I know of having been here now 16 years, I dont know, the first years have change - This is a first year class, right? CS101? But what I have found is that one of the things is a notion of confirmation bias. You've heard that phrase?
  230.  
  231. Shepherd: Mhm.
  232.  
  233. Pimlott: Because you did comm studies at SFU. But one of the things is that a lot of the students coming  in already hold very strong opinions, whether or not these are opinions backed up with evidence. Again, I'm just adopting the position of a scholar here. My position is to say, we have these students coming in, they have very strong - in my experience anyway, and I'm teaching them in second year even, they have very strong opinions about x y and z, and that's fine, but if they're going to be challenged about those opinions, then it's a much greater deal to do that. The world that Jordan Peterson, Ezra Levant, Rebel media and that have constructed, I find quite amusing in a way. Because it's almost like the left has won and controls everything, and you're gonna be imprisoned if you don't adopt cultural marxism, politically correct - the new term, cultural marxism. I find it practically ludicrous that this is the case given the political economic realities of canada, ontario, Kitchener-Waterloo, this institution, precarious work, etcetera. So I just find it ludicrious that people like Ezra Levant and Jordan Peterson believe that- - Maybe they believe in those black helicopters that those conspiracy theorists in the states used to talk about coming to control world government, okay. That to me is where a lot of that sort of thinking goes. I do know that theres people that bring in those ideas in the classes I teach. I don't feel that I'm doing my duty to challenge these alread-established ideas if what I present in the courses I teach and also in terms of the curriculum that communications studies as a field, as an interdiscipline, of many disciplines - I don't feel I'm teaching critical  engagement in a world where all the established dominant institutions in society reinforce a number of different types of priviliges, perspectives, and prejudices where the univesrity is one of the few spaces where we can actually take people, engage them, challenge them. It's not challenging the faith-based or family and other types of structures in society that they've been inculcated with for years and years in three hours or 1 hour, or 50 minutes. You know in some ways it isn't gonna be much of a challenge, but if, in an institution that prides itself of getting to grips, and having peer-reviewed academically, social-scientifically, evidence based research, is going to work to confirm the kind of biases based on stuff that cannot be substantiated in an academic, credible way, I find that problematic. And I do'nt feel we're doing our job as an institution, simply because we're presenting both sides -  and again I use the analogy of climate change. The fossil Fuel industry knew this in the 1970s. It's like the tobacco companies with lung cancer, as early as the 1920s, they had a really strong idea that this was happening. Furhter and further research showed that. I would find it problematic, given the degree of advertising and power that the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, that Big Tobacco lobbies, big pharma etcetera, have, through advertising, through the media you're studying at SFU, that you're part of the learning process for students, to just reinforce the kind of prejudices that students bring to class That to me, is something that yes, we need to challenge them. And I challenge them with ideas that I don't necessarily believe in in 203, but because their substantiated and my colleagues require me to teach them to prepare students better for third and fourth year. I'm happy to teach those students. I hope it'll make every student, maybe some, rethin what they think. You know they can say what they believe, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but we have a duty as educators, as scholars, as academic, even as public intellectuals, to make sure that we're not furthering, I would call it charlatanism. I think Jordan Peterson, particularly, and I know you're not a fan, but I think that he actually shows a form of charlatanism when it comes to the academy. And he's playing this whole idea about free speech and public debate which is not substantiated by the fact that he has nothing really that is credible in terms of the research. Including his stuff on pronouns. And for me, that's where I find people like Jordan Peterson problematic, because I don't find anything credible. I mean there are other people that teach grammar that could be drawn upon that could perhaps challenge this idea of using "they" around the notion of when you use it. But again, I would say that that strikes me as a little bit different bringin in a debate on a youtube video about something when we're teaching grammar and talking about pronouns
  234.  
  235. Rambukkana: This kind of brings me back to the next point, which was kind of thinking about how to move forward. I can see why you made that choice, because the topic was grammar, but your role as TA is not really to teach about the politics grammar, it's to be teaching grammar, to be teaching punctuation, to be teaching these things. To be adding clarification or discussion in relation to the lecture material, but not to be bringing original content around side issues, does that make sense? Has this kind of been your structure without, to bring in more theoretical aspects around things like spelling, punctuation, the other topics, like how to write a thesis statement? Or was this just this class.?
  236.  
  237. Shepherd: It was just this class. I just wanted them to see how they interact with grammar in an everyday life. that was how I framed it. I remember my slide, it said "Issues in Grammar" and we talked about english having gendered pronouns, and it engaged them. People were of all opinion.
  238.  
  239. Rambukkana: Okay, would you be comfortable for the rest of the term to stick more to a more traditional syllabus of teaching the, maybe not issues around grammar, but maybe just the particular sentence structure, whatever the topics are that we have left?
  240.  
  241. Shepherd: Mhm. I mean I can't repress my personality. But I can't see where the opportunity would arise for me to bring in another controversial topic.
  242.  
  243. Rambukkana: Okay. So just thinking forward, just because of what seems to have been a little bit of a breakdown in communication, just about what the requirements for what the class are - do you write out your lesson plans or do you do slides?
  244.  
  245. Shepherd: Yup, I write them out.
  246.  
  247. Rambukkana: Okay. Could you send me your lesson plans before your classes, just so I can have a quick look over them?
  248.  
  249. Shepherd: I write them on paper, with pen, but I can take a picture.
  250.  
  251. Rambukkana: Okay.
  252.  
  253. Shepherd: But sometimes I don't decide until, because we get out of the lecture at 5:50, I have until 8pm to decide what I'm gonna do based on what you've done. So I mean I can send it to you literally two minutes before you start, maybe.
  254.  
  255. Rambukkana: Okay well, if you can plan, what we're doing in lecture should be 15 minutes tops of the tutorial. The tutorial should focus on the skill building. So I'm assuming that most of that was planned out more in advance. Like if you have a lesson on sentence structure, or something.
  256.  
  257. Shepherd: Today I got them to email me their grammar questions, I'm just going to answer them.
  258.  
  259. Ramukkana: Okay. Alright. But going forward, if you can maybe try to plan a little further ahead, and then I'm gonna talk about the lecture if that's fine. But send those to me in advance, so I can take a look at them, and if you have any powerpoint slides, etcetera. I'll ask you not to play any more Jordan Peterson videos, or anything of the lik.e If you did have something that you wanted to play in class, to let me know ahead of time, so I can take a look. And then I'll also talk everything over with my colleagues and with Peter who's the chair of the undergraduate department. And then we'll talk about how to move forward with this. Does that make any sense?
  260.  
  261. Shepherd: Sorry that's a little bit vague, could you specify what you mean by moving forward? That's really general.
  262.  
  263. Rambukkana: Okay. Well, we're going to have to talk about what we said, and then hopefully, everything can continue, and we can continue to have the working relationship that we do but it's something I have to talk over with my colleagues because frankly, some of the things that we talked about are a little bit problematic and we need to process them.
  264.  
  265. Shepherd: Do you know when you'll have an answer by?
  266.  
  267. Rambukkana: I do not.
  268.  
  269. Shepherd: Okay, but basically you're telling me that the alternative to me not continuing my TAship is that it would somehow be terminated? And I'm not sure what the grounds for that would be.
  270.  
  271. Rambukkana: That's not something that is in my control. I am not your employer, I'm your supervisor. So I have to actually transmit my information, I have to talk about it with Herbert, I have to talk about it with Peter, who is the chair. If I knew what the entire process is then I would let you know.
  272.  
  273. Shepherd: What is the process? What committee is this going to? I kind of need to know where information about me is circulating, and I don't know.
  274.  
  275. Rambukkana: I don't know either. Herbet?
  276.  
  277. Pimlott: I would only assume that it would be with Peter.
  278.  
  279. Shepherd: Because you said you have to talk it over with your colleagues so I dont know-
  280.  
  281. Rambukkana: My colleagues: Herbert, Adria, and Peter.
  282.  
  283. Pimlott: And Peter's the chair of the department. I don't have any say over your TAship in any sense, but what we have to discuss is what we discussed here, and discuss that with Peter.
  284.  
  285. Adria: Right now I would say that this is an informal process, if it got brought to a formal process, which would be somebody made a formal complaint and wants to go forward with that, then that would look a little bitdifferent. Taht would be based on either the Gender Violence Policy or the Harrassment and Discrimination policy and would go through those policies and procedures, which are online and available to you waht that would lookj like. Hopefully, it can be resolved informally.
  286.  
  287. Rambukkana: That's my hope too.
  288.  
  289. Pimlott: So I guess that's what Nathan was getting at by "Moving Forward." By his phrase "Moving Forward" that this is an informal process. This is the first time I've been involved in this process in 16 years, and so I don't even necessarily know what the process is. But part of the reason I wanted to hear your story is because a complaint or complaints were made, and we have to hear, because, you know there's two sides
  290.  
  291. Shepherd: There's two sides.
  292.  
  293. Pimlott: and so we need to know what happened from your perspective.
  294.  
  295. Shepherd: Sure
  296.  
  297. Rambukkana: So if you can send me your lesson plans, and I might need to acfter talking it over with Peter, sit in on some of your tutorials just to assess the space and see how things are, moving forward. Do you have any other questions?
  298.  
  299. Shepherd: No
  300.  
  301. Rambukkana: Alright, thanks for coming in Lindsay
  302.  
  303.  
  304. transcribed by Dillo
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