‘Improper and unauthorized use’ of university center’s name
The director of a Canadian university rape crisis center has been fired for signing off on a letter which challenges claims that female captives taken by Hamas were sexually assaulted during its October 7 attack against Israel.
The letter “Stand with Palestine: Call on Political Leaders to End Their Complicity in Genocide!,” written by Canadian politicians Susan Kim and Sarah Jama, was signed by University of Alberta Sexual Assault Center Director Samantha Pearson (pictured).
Ironically, Pearson notes in a video about the center that it’s important for women to know “they’re going to be believed.”
Late Saturday afternoon, U. Alberta President Bill Flanagan wrote on X that Pearson’s endorsement of the letter was an “improper and unauthorized use” of UA’s Sexual Assault Centre name.
He noted Pearson is no longer employed by the university “effectively immediately,” and that an interim center director has been appointed.
“I want to be clear that the former employee’s personal views and opinions do not in any way represent those of the University of Alberta,” Flanagan (pictured) continued. “The University of Alberta stands firmly and unequivocally against discrimination and hatred on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, and other protected categories.
“We recognize the historical and ongoing harms of antisemitism and commit to doing all we can as a university to advance a world free of prejudice and discrimination.”
The Kim/Jama letter urges “Canadian political leaders to end their complicity in the ongoing massacres and genocide in Gaza, Occupied Palestine,” the Daily Mail reports.
It says all who have backed Israel in the conflict are “complicit in Israel’s killing of over 5,000 Palestinians in Gaza thus far,” and uses the usual progressive buzzwords associated with the war such as “apartheid” and “Islamophobia” (in addition to “occupation” and “genocide”).
All such politicians, whether they “identify as Muslim or not,” should “expect to be shunned for [their] complicity.”
The letter specifically calls out pol Jagmeet Singh for claiming Palestinians have engaged in “sexual violence” — these are “unverified accusations,” it claims.
The authors also demand Canadian MPs should call Israel a terrorist state.
‘Instead of obfuscating reality, your letter should have begun by condemning Israeli apartheid and occupation,’ they write.
‘Furthermore, by failing to recognize Israeli occupation as ‘terrorist’ and only directing this term at Palestinian resistance, you perpetuate an Islamophobic trope.
‘Your language is fuelling the collective trauma being experienced by your constituents, and inciting hate crimes against Palestinians and Muslims.’
They conclude: ‘You must contribute to sensible political and social discourse as elected officials. We urge you to stand on the right side of history where you will be redeemed: Resign with integrity and dignity.’
Organizations that signed on to the letter include the Queer Muslim Network Toronto, Students for Queer Liberation Toronto, the Pride Centre of Edmonton, the Democratic Socialists of Canada, the Earth Education League, and Jews Against White Supremacy.
Although Pearson’s faculty page currently is scrubbed, its cache notes she had the “immense privilege” of being “paid for a lot [for] her advocacy and activism work.” Outside her (now-former) UA duties, Pearson works with “several collectives and non-profits” in abolishing police departments in Edmonton.
IMAGES: U. Alberta; Bill Flanagan/X