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Lindsay Shepherd suing Wilfrid Laurier University

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 2018-06-13 Laura Booth Waterloo Region Record

WATERLOO REGION—Wilfrid Laurier graduate student Lindsay Shepherd is suing the university, two professors and an employee of its diversity and equity office.

A statement of claim filed Tuesday in Kitchener lists Laurier Prof. Nathan Rambukkana, Prof. Herbert Pimlott and diversity and equity office employee Adria Joel, along with the university, as defendants.

The lawsuit, which seeks $3.6 million in damages, claims Shepherd was “subjected to continuing abuse and a toxic climate from the university and its representatives” and has “suffered nervous shock as a result of the conduct of the defendants.”

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Lindsay Shepherd poses for a photograph at Wilfrid Laurier University in December. Shepherd is suing the university, two professors and an employee of its diversity and equity office. © Mathew McCarthy Lindsay Shepherd poses for a photograph at Wilfrid Laurier University in December. Shepherd is suing the university, two professors and an employee of its diversity and equity office.

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The suit also claims “attacks” on her “have rendered her unemployable in academia resulting in her abandoning her previous ambitions of obtaining her PhD or even teaching at a university as a Masters graduate.”

Laurier received the statement of claim Tuesday, and has not yet filed a statement of defence. The Record reached out to the university Wednesday morning and is awaiting a response to the suit.

In November, Shepherd made headlines after releasing a recording of her being reprimanded by Rambukkana, Pimlott and Joel, for showing her first-year communication students part of a televised debate about the use of gender-neutral pronouns. She was told she created a toxic environment, even though she argued she showed the debate neutrally.

The university launched an independent investigation which found Shepherd did nothing wrong. Rambukkana and university president Deborah MacLatchy issued apologies.

MacLatchy also launched a Freedom of Expression task force to craft a guiding statement for the university. The statement was passed by the university’s senate in late May.

More later

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