My colleague at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), Dr. Ricardo Duchesne, is a white supremacist, a white nationalist, a racist, and a neo-Nazi. I know, too, that he is part of the Alt-right. Furthermore, this professor faces allegations of hate speech, sexism, trans-phobia, and homophobia.
Continuing, Dr. Duchesne is a defender of slavery and eugenics. White nationalist Faith Goldy is a person he has spoken with. Dr. Duchesne is anti-Muslim, anti-black, and anti-immigration. Although a tenured professor, he is a failure as an academic, discredited, and an embarrassment to the University of New Brunswick. His recent works have not been published in respected journals. So too have I learned that Dr. Duchesne’s talks are celebrated by neo-Nazis.
I know all this about him. Clearly – so clearly – this is a bad man.
And where did I get my information? From an informative article, written by the well-known Nick Robins-Early of the HuffPost, titled, “The White Supremacist Professor Teaching At A Public University.” Robins-Early’s integrity is unassailable, as his article makes a devastatingly compelling case against Dr. Duchesne. An approximate count reveals the term “white supremacist” used 11 times, “white nationalist” 13 times, “neo-Nazi” five times, “racist” three times. I cannot imagine a more convincing challenge to Dr. Duchesne’s scholarly work than the judicious use of these powerful and unambiguous words. That he was also observed nodding his head while Faith Goldy spoke re-enforces beyond a shadow of doubt the evil residing in his mind and heart. But wait. If that comprehensive analysis failed to convince the infinitesimally few remaining doubters of Dr. Duchesne’s malevolence, Robins-Early goes much deeper. Of Duchesne’s work (or work associated with him), a critical mind can only reach one immutable conclusion after reading these damning quotes Robins-Early has assembled:
“relentless occupation of the West by hordes of Muslims and Africans”
“only out of the coming chaos and violence will strong White men rise to resurrect the West.”
“Greatest Philosophers Are ALL European men” and “Europeans The Greatest In Everything Since The Beginning.”
“Whites must simply reclaim the West as uniquely theirs” and that “Europeans were the first, and still the only race, to become conscious of their consciousness.”
“to encourage Euro-Canadians to affirm their sovereign ethnic right to govern this nation as uniquely theirs.”
It took a torturous amount of time to read these seven quotes (spanning nearly one half of a page of Robins-Early’s article) but feel confident that I know all there is to know about Dr. Duchesne and his ideas: without any doubt he is a white supremacist, a white nationalist, a racist, and a neo-Nazi. Those allegations he faces of hate speech, sexism, trans-phobia, and homophobia feel so true. I now know he is a defender of slavery and eugenics, and without question is anti-Muslim, anti-black, and anti-immigration.
To advocate for any other conclusion is simply not a tenable position after applying critical thought to the powerful data presented in the HuffPost article.
I am so very grateful for Robins-Early’s hard work here. Out of a small drivel of curiosity (after all, why would I ever wish to read anything written by a white nationalist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi racist!), I completed a cursory amount of research of my own. Of Dr. Duchesne (a tenured professor) I know his UNB career spanned 24 years (involving teaching and research), that he authored three books (all published), penned and disseminated articles, and is a frequent blogger. Robins-Early’s effort saved me considerable time by distilling all this work by Dr. Duchesne down to a precise, exhaustive, and definitive snap shot of one man’s misguided and flawed career.
I’m not alone having correctly identified the inerrant truth of the article’s claims about Dr. Duchesne. After a thoughtful review of Robins-Early’s scholarly article, over 100 professors from the University of New Brunswick signed their own letter condemning Dr. Duchesne’s “views about multiculturalism and immigration as racist and without academic merit.” As I have already stressed, Robins-Early’s analysis is beyond rebuke, and deserves - unambiguously - to stand as the seminal document upon which university academics cast judgement on a colleague. Furthermore, the faculty added a much-welcomed line to the letter, “In this view, we are joined by the larger academic community.” As I am part of University of New Brunswick academic community, yet did not sign the letter myself (I was not asked!), I am grateful that the composers of the missive confidently read my mind and served as my proxy, allowing such a wonderfully condemning view of Dr. Duchesne to receive my full endorsement. Thank you again to those who composed the letter! I also wish to express my pleasure in knowing little time was wasted between Robins-Early’s article and the faculty letter; absolutely there being no requirement for additional research and deeper reflection.
The first instalment of the HuffPost article (updates would regularly appear) arrived on-line May 18th. The UNB faculty letter, with an initial listing of 25 signatories, was drafted and published approximately a week later. It would only take a short time before that number would reach past 100. On June 4th, the UNB Newsroom posted the following brief note, authored by the Vice-President Saint John, Dr. Petra Hauf:
“I write to advise members of the University community that Dr. Ricardo Duchesne, professor in the department of social science, has provided his notice of early retirement to focus on his own pursuits as an independent scholar. We respectfully accept his decision and thank him for his 24 years of service.”
That was the end of Dr. Duchesne’s career at the University of New Brunswick. His descent took slightly less than three weeks. Considering the vitriol Dr. Duchesne received from both his colleagues and in the Robins-Early article, Dr. Hauf’s press release is almost joyful – it contains a “Thanks”! Nowhere is there any mention of the recent activity surrounding the soon to be retired professor; maybe there is a coincidence here? Probably not.
I would like to provide a quote from one of Ricardo Duchesne’s books. It’s taken almost at random and comes from Canada in Decay, page 90.
“There are three fundamental flaws in [Will] Kymlicka’s theory. The first one is that Kymlicka ignores altogether the cultural identity and national rights of the majority English Canadians. He discusses only the cultural rights and ethnic attachments of the national minorities and immigrant groups.”
This quote, in a less dramatic way, contains the idea present in one or two of the quotes provided in Robins-Early’s article. With this quote, Dr. Duchesne begins to challenge a social theory proposed by Queen’s University political philosophy professor Will Kymlicka. The writing is good, the meaning is clear, but that quote is only a tenuous beginning. It is up to the interested reader to investigate further what Kymlick has to say, and what Dr. Duchesne has to say. That single quote – like any of the quotes in Robins-Early’s original piece – is insufficient for passing judgement and insufficient, on its own, for one to reach a conclusion about the soundness of Dr. Duchesne’s arguments. Maybe – possibly - Dr. Duchesne’s challenge isn’t strong (or maybe – possibly - Kymlick’s theory is weak!). How do we know what to believe? Maybe a little more work on our part is needed?
It is obvious that Robins-Early’s article falls far short of doing that necessary hard work. Truth is, Robins-Early’s article is not about challenging Dr. Duchesne’s ideas, but about dismissing the man by portraying him – without evidence - as an individual in possession of a moral character unacceptable by the standards of today. He is evil, therefore listen to nothing he has to say.
Consider again the quote above from Canada in Decay. Keep it in mind, and all that must follow in that book, as you read what UNB has to say about academic freedom.
From Article 14: Academic Freedom (Thirteenth COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT Between THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK And THE ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK TEACHERS):
“14.01 The unimpeded search for knowledge and its free exposition are vital to a university and to the common good of society. To this end, the Parties agree to strive to uphold and to protect the principles of academic freedom and not to infringe upon or abridge academic freedom as set out in this article.
“14.02 Employees shall have: (a) freedom of discussion, freedom to criticize, including criticism of the University of New Brunswick and the Association, freedom from censorship by the Parties, and freedom to consider and study all available expressions of creativity, knowledge, and intellectual activity, including those which may be considered by some elements of society to be unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable; (b) freedom in the choice and pursuit of research, and freedom to disseminate or to withhold dissemination of the results and conclusions of such research; (c) freedom in the choice and pursuit of teaching methods, and to state their views on matters relating to their discipline.”
Ricardo Duchesne is (was!) doing the job he was hired to do. A friend of mine, also an employee of UNB, thought Dr. Duchesne was a jewel to the university because he would bring to the classroom a perspective not routinely encountered, and that this would be good as it would force students to sharpen their skills in thought and at debate. That same friend, upon hearing about Dr. Duchesne’s early retirement, said, “That’s depressing”. I agree.
Most disturbing about this story is not that Dr. Duchesne no longer works at UNB, but that so many purportedly sound academic thinkers confidently and swiftly participated in a process that culminated with the ending of a colleague’s career. As hard as I may try, I cannot convince myself that what happened to Ricardo Duchesne was correct – neither the outcome nor the process.
For those of us remaining at the University, are we not now compelled – in a very voluntary way – to hold back what we may wish to investigate or question? Because what will it be next that stirs the masses and runs another off the campus? Where is the line – and who sets it – that cannot be crossed?