The letter below has been sent to the Vice-Chair of the UBC Board of Governors. It calls for the reinstatement of Michael Korenberg as the Chair of the UBC Board of Governors. Mr. Korenberg has been pressured into resigning from his position.
Attention Ms. Sandra Cawley :
We, the undersigned, were witnesses to the near-riot that occurred on the UBC campus the night of October 9, 2019. The UBC group which calls itself “Students Against Bigotry” instigated that near-riot and, from what we see, has recently played a significant part in the UBC Board of Governors Chair resigning from his position.
We are responding to a letter you wrote recently about the resignation of the UBC Board of Governors Chair, Mr. Michael Korenberg.
In your letter, you said the following : “His (Mr. Korenberg’s) decision comes after information that was publicized last week about his social media interactions that appeared to support regressive voices online and undermine legitimate protest.” We think it would be helpful for you to retract the words “his social media interactions that appeared to support regressive voices online and undermine legitimate protest.”
To be specific, we would like you to explain the phrase “regressive voices online ” and the phrase “undermine legitimate protest”. We are referring particularly to the word “regressive” and to the word “legitimate” in those phrases.
From what we understand, the Board and Mr. Korenberg, were reacting, at least in part, to complaints that “STUDENTS AGAINST BIGOTRY ”made about Mr. Korenberg’s comments on social media.
For your information, STUDENTS AGAINST BIGOTRY is another name for a group called “ANTIFA” (ANTI-FASCIST ). Both names imply that these groups stand for noble causes. We feel that you and the Board should have investigated the past actions of these groups at UBC before accepting their complaint as legitimate. In particular, we think their involvement in an incident at UBC on October 9, 2019 reveals their true selves. To be blunt, their social media interactions in the October 9 incident demonstrate that they are the ones who support truly “regressive voices”. Their actions also show that they believe in “undermining legitimate protest” of the kind Professor Duchesne and Professor Hecht have written. In other words, we respectfully feel that you and the Board should not have let the SAB / ANTIFA complaint influence your decision to accept Mr. Korenberg’s decision to resign.
We are sending you a link to an article which describes SAB / ANTIFA actions at a UBC lecture on October 9, 2019.
We are sending you another link to a video which recorded their behaviour that evening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqeBC8jqK_w
We feel confident in saying that after reading the account and watching the video of the October 9 incident, most Canadians would describe the behaviour of SAB / ANTIFA on October 9, 2019 as the behaviour of thugs. Most importantly, if you have allowed SAB to even partially influence your decision to accept Mr. Korenberg’s resignation, we think you are endorsing the behaviour of thugs, have obviously made a very serious mistake and owe Mr. Korenberg an apology.
To put the matter in a slightly different way, SAB / ANTIFA have demonstrated that they believe that people such as Dr. Ricardo Duchesne and Professor Hecht (who co-delivered the October 9 lecture) should not be allowed to speak at UBC or at any other university. Even worse, SAB /ANTIFA believe that others should not be permitted to hear the views of Dr. Duchesne and Professor Hecht. Finally, SAB /ANTIFA have shown that they will do everything they can to obstruct the expression of ideas.
What happened to Dr. Duchesne, Professor Hecht and the 100 people who bought tickets to hear them has now happened to Mr. Korenberg. Needless to say, a university is supposed to be a forum for the expression of ideas. However, SAB /ANTIFA think that no ideas but theirs should be expressed at a university and no one should be allowed to hear ideas that differ from those of SAB /ANTIFA. In a few words, SAB / ANTIFA think that a university should indoctrinate students with ideas, not discuss them. SAB / ANTIFA are the true bigots and the true fascists.
In summary, we think that Mr. Korenberg should never have resigned. Obviously, he was put under extreme pressure. Worse, the UBC Board allowed itself to be stampeded into its decision and to put pressure on Mr. Korenberg. The UBC Board should have spent much more time investigating the SAB complaint against him. It is now time to re-instate him in his position as UBC Board of Governors Chair and to have a thorough discussion about free speech at UBC. What has happened to Mr. Korenberg is disgraceful. It sets a very dangerous and unwise precedent for UBC and for other Canadian universities. In a few words, what happened to Mr. Korenberg is a surrender to the political hysteria that has infected all of Canada.
For more details on the thoughts of Professors Duchesne and Hecht, see