Wilfrid Laurier University teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd is suing the school, two of its professors and a bureaucrat for $3.6 million.
The lawsuit includes a million dollars in punitive damages, and half a million dollars apiece for what the lawsuit calls harassment, intentional infliction of nervous shock, negligence, aggravated and general damages.
Another $100,000 is being sought for Constructive dismissal.
Her lawyer, Howard Levitt, tells 570NEWS it all started last November. It was then that Shepherd came under fire from University officials after airing a three-minute, televised clip from TVOntario of controversial University of Toronto Psychology professor Jordan Peterson in one of her classes.
In that clip, Peterson criticized the use of gender-neutral pronouns.
Afterwards, Shepherd was called into an inquisition, where she was “hounded and blasted and reviled and attacked viciously for about an hour” by school officials.
“As soon as this started happening, she put on a recording device on her laptop, and then released the tape and the country and world went wild when they realized just how bad the state of free speech is at university campuses.”
Since then, Shepherd’s received “public hounding” and Levitt says she reached a certain point “that her career was effectively ruined as an academic.”
“That given the public hounding she’s been experiencing and given the way she was treated by professors at Wilfrid Laurier, she had no future in academia, and so is suing for the damages she’s unjustifiably suffering.”
Levitt says it’s going to be an important case “in terms of people who mistreat students in the guise of political correctness, will not escape scot free.”
“Hopefully, this will be a bit of a tipping point,” he said, “And the forces of politically correct on campus, who are facing personal financial consequences for their conduct will have to think three, five, 10 times before doing it again.”
“That’s why I’m doing (the case) pro-bono.”
Shepherd also came under scrutiny back in the spring, when she attempted to bring in far-right speaker Faith Goldy as part of an “Unpopular Speaker Series” on a couple occasions.
In March, a fire alarm was pulled as Goldy was getting ready to speak at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Goldy was scheduled to appear in late-April as well, but Shepherd had to cancel the event because of high security costs.
In a statement to 570NEWS, Laurier says they have received notice of Shepherd’s statement of claim, “which is one perspective of a legal matter issued in pursuit of a financial claim.”
“Wilfrid Laurier University has received notice of Lindsay Shepherd’s statement of claim, which is one perspective of a legal matter issued in pursuit of a financial claim. Laurier will vigorously defend against this statement of claim.
Laurier remains dedicated to its core values, which include a commitment to intellectual inquiry, critical reflection and scholarly integrity while striving to be a supportive and inclusive community. Since Ms. Shepherd first raised her initial concerns, the university has taken numerous measures to address the matter, including issuing an apology to Ms. Shepherd. That apology still stands. The university initiated an independent review, which found no wrong-doing on the part of Ms. Shepherd and offered concrete recommendations to the university for next steps. Many of those steps have already been taken, including training, a review and update of university policies, and the establishment of a task force that prepared a Statement on Freedom of Expression that was approved by the Senate of Wilfrid Laurier University and endorsed by the university’s Board of Governors.
The vast majority of Laurier students have an overwhelmingly positive experience at the university, which is reflected in the fact that Laurier has ranked No. 1 in student satisfaction among Canadian universities in its category in the Maclean’s university rankings for the past two years.” – official statement from Wilfrid Laurier University.
570NEWS has also reached out to Shepherd for comment.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.