You Must Resign! Your Mishandling of the Suzuki Scandal is Reprehensible.

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Recently, the University of Alberta announced that it would be awarding Dr. David Suzuki an honorary doctor of science degree at its 2018 spring convocation, receiving “our learning community’s highest honour”.

This reckless decision is highly offensive to many of the people who live in, and contribute to, the communities that the University serves.  Dr. Suzuki has used his celebrity power, along with unscientific hyperbole, to make villains of the hardworking Albertans that help to deliver the energy that is needed to sustain our planet’s modern way of life, which has dramatically improved quality-of-life outcomes for humanity including longer life expectancy, higher education levels, and substantial reductions in extreme poverty.  Dr. Suzuki has proven to be no friend of Alberta and is therefore unworthy of its highest accolades.  Honorary degrees should bring us together, not needlessly divide us. 

Instead of reflecting, with a sense of shame, on the needless damage that the granting of this entirely discretionary honorary degree has caused to the feelings of countless Albertans, Dr. David Turpin, the University of Alberta’s President, has ‘doubled down’ on his defense of this egregious error in judgment by invoking the false moral high ground of ‘freedom of inquiry, academic integrity, and independence’.  While such an argument would be credible when addressing actual academic and scientific controversies, it is instead disingenuous and disrespectful when acting as shambolic cover for an obviously inappropriate and inadvisable symbolic gesture.

While all of us make mistakes from time to time, Dr. Turpin’s oblivious insensitivity has destroyed our confidence in his ability to function effectively in his important leadership role. We demand that Dr. Turpin resign his position as President of the University of Alberta, effective immediately.



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