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Wilfrid Laurier University apologizes to TA Lindsay Shepherd over UofT prof gender-neutral pronouns clip reprimand

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Dr. Deborah MacLatchy delivers an address on Tuesday October 31, 2017 during the Laurier Brantford fall convocation at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford, Ontario. (Brian Thompson/Brantford Expositor/Postmedia Network)

Dr. Deborah MacLatchy delivers an address on Tuesday October 31, 2017 during the Laurier Brantford fall convocation at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford, Ontario. (Brian Thompson/Brantford Expositor/Postmedia Network)

An Ontario university is apologizing to a teaching assistant after her superiors criticized her for airing a clip of a debate on gender-neutral pronouns.

Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University, played a clip from TVO's current affairs program "The Agenda" featuring a debate involving outspoken University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, who has refused to use gender pronouns other than he and she.

Shepherd says she played the clip to two communications tutorials in a bid to demonstrate that grammatical constructs such as gender-specific pronouns can have unexpected impacts on society.

"After listening to this recording, an apology is in order. The conversation I heard does not reflect the values and practices to which Laurier aspires." - Deborah MacLatchy, Wilfrid Laurier University President

After a student complaint, Shepherd said her superiors criticized her for failing to condemn Peterson's views, noting that they told her a neutral approach was akin to remaining neutral on the views of Adolf Hitler.

Laurier President Deborah MacLatchy has issued a statement saying she heard recordings of the meeting between Shepherd and her bosses and says the meeting does not reflect the university's values.

Shepherd's immediate supervisor also issued an open letter apologizing to her, saying she was right to encourage discussion of opposing views but emphasizing the need to put controversial topics in context.