Released through Brock Student Justice Centre’s Facebook page, Brock University student activists have released a statement with five demands to the university and professor David Shimmelpenninck.
The main demand from the students is for Shimmelpenninck to resign immediately, without any buyout package. Furthermore, the students want Shimmelpenninck removed from the Royal Society of Canada due to unprofessional behaviour.
According to the statement, “the Royal Society of Canada is an association of academics, whose membership is elected by other members”.
The other three demands from the students are directed at the university: a creation of mandatory in-person training for Brock University’s Faculty Association and CUPE 4207 members dealing with harassment and abuse; a paid compulsory orientation for graduate students on ethical student-supervisor relations; and for BUFA to develop a code of ethics that forbids any sexual relationships between students and those who have higher power.
BUFA is the bargaining agent for full-time faculty and librarians at Brock, and CUPE 4207 is the union representing other workers at Brock, including instructors, teaching assistants, ESL instructors, course coordinators and more.
“This will respect the imbalance of power that exists between students and faculty, even if faculty do not have a direct supervisory relationship with the student,” said the media release. “While some may argue that a code of ethics interferes with academic freedom, we believe that the subject of student-faculty sexual relationships is not academic in nature.”
The release goes on to discuss the arbitrator’s decision to allow Shimmelpenninck back in the classroom, acknowledging that the hands are tied for both the university and BUFA.
“Shimmelpenninck’s pattern of behaviour should result in his resignation,” the release continued. “His presence at Brock University is unwelcome and normalizes the sexual violence that many students face on campus.”
On January 7, Shimmelpenninck issued a statement to both The Brock Press and the CBC, in which he said he regretted his past actions and that he no longer drinks following past problems dealing with alcoholism.
The student media release addressed the statement saying, “this is an excuse and shows that he has not taken responsibility for his actions”.
Students are planning a protest rally in front of the Sir Isaac Brock statue for Jan. 10 at 3:00 p.m. The protest will eventually move inside ahead of Shimmelpenninck’s 5:00 p.m. lecture, in which students are planning a silent rally outside of the lecture hall.
A petition has also begun asking for Shimmelpenninck to resign, and as of Tuesday 4:00 p.m., there are over 500 signatures.
“Brock University has an obligation to provide a safe working and learning environment for students, faculty, and staff, including individuals that occupy multiple roles within our campus community. In order to build a framework to prevent and respond to these actions in the future, we call upon other parties,” the media release concluded.
Shimmelpenninck has not taught a class at Brock since March 2016, following a sexual harassment investigation. In December 2018, an arbitrator made a binding decision saying Shimmelpenninck was permitted to return to the classroom through the University’s collective agreement with BUFA.