After months of mind numbing controversy, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Board of Governors recently cancelled their plan to participate in an art project.
Apparently, the project -- a $2 million exhibit of life size bronze statues of every Canadian Prime Minister -- was deemed yet another instance of “cultural insensitivity."
Regarding the decision to cancel the project, WLU President and Vice-Chancellor Max Blouw remarked that the university "[didn’t realize] the depth of the emotion around [statues].”
One of the project’s founders countered that, “The decision showed dysfunctionality at Laurier”.
Backstory: Createscape had initially proposed the exhibit. With maintenance expenses intended to fall on the host, donations for the statues were facilitated by the private group, as a gift for the region.
Intended for Victoria Park in Kitchener, the project met with public resistance over the high cost of providing concrete pads and lighting for all the statues, so the City of Kitchener declined the project.
Because they had the required infrastructure, the local university then approached Createscape and offered to house the exhibit throughout their campus in Waterloo. It was noted that back in 2007, board of governors member Barry Ries had even suggested a statue of Canada’s seventh Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, be erected at the school.
Officials were eager to expand on this idea and arrangements were made with Createscape.
But alas, things soured.
The usual SJW circus side show promptly set up at WLU.
The petition started by a Communications Studies professor to stop the project proclaimed:
“It is culturally insensitive (if not offensive) to celebrate and memorialize all Canadian Prime Ministers […] on land that traditionally belongs to the Neutral, Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee peoples."
The intentions of the organizers and the messages the project would supposedly send were at the heart of the complaints. All the usual accusations of bigotry, patriarchy, history, and oppression were made.
According to one Global Studies student, the new statues would “create an uncomfortable environment for 99 per cent of students to walk through a place filled with statues of white men."
The Diversity and Equity Office added, “They do not align with our values at Wilfrid Laurier."
As usual, the controversy wasn't an honest debate using logic and fact, but rather a vitriolic exercise in slander, shaming and intimidation while feigning moral superiority and repelling any attempt at compromise or rationality.
In official statements as part of the more recent decision, activists conceded that the statues project hadn’t been maliciously conceived or carried out -- a baffling statement considering that those very accusations were made against officials for months.
In other words, this group acknowledged that everything they’ve been saying had been completely unfounded.
Blouw and other officials had contemplated adding other historical Canadian figures to the display early on, but this was unacceptable too. Protestors were adamant .
One demagogue even complained that the anger stirred up during the statue controversy had lead to “spike in hate incidents”.
So I called the police station and spoke with two officers. Neither was immediately aware of any spike in such violence...
In one of the most bizarre arguments, the History Department cited “austerity” and compared the university to Greece (surely an insult to any Greek retiree right now). But what does "austerity" have to do with this issues? Remember, the statues were to be donated.
Now, they won't be. In the battle of the petitions, the SJW side won.
There’s talk of changing the name of the university now.
One observer suggested “WLU: Whiney Liberal University."