Fanshawe professor refuses to wear mask as first day approaches

Deven Taylor said he was suspended on Thursday after being told he was disruptive at a staff meeting the day before.

Welding professor Deven Taylor believes the pandemic is a hoax

Fanshawe College welding instructor Deven Taylor is refusing to wear a mask on the job. (Submitted by Deven Taylor)

A Fanshawe College welding professor who teaches nearly 160 students and is refusing to wear a mask on the job has left the school scrambling to fill his position by Monday; the first day students will be back in class.

"I'm not allowed to return on Monday unless I bend the knee and put on the mask," said Deven Taylor, who believes the pandemic is a hoax and that wearing a mask violates his human rights.

The masks are also dangerous while welding, he said. "It's going to catch fire."

A spokesperson for Fanshawe College confirmed the school is requiring students and staff to wear masks under their welding helmets, as well as in all public spaces, unless a person has a medical exemption. 

"Any time I would bring up any safety concerns or safety hazards with any of this...I was told I'm being disruptive," said Taylor. "And if I don't stop, I'm going to be disciplined."

That's what happened at a Wednesday staff meeting, said Taylor, who was then suspended for one day on Thursday.

A screenshot of an email sent to Deven Taylor from Fanshawe College. (Submitted by Deven Taylor)

Taylor said he had hoped to reach an agreement with the school before Monday. "I have no problems going into work. I have tried to give them every single remedy possible," he said.

"There is a back door to the shop. I don't even have to step foot anywhere else in the college and they won't even allow me to do that," said Taylor who shared an email from the college with CBC News, which suggests he'll be on unpaid leave if he refuses to wear a mask.

"I'm not wearing a mask and I'm not bending a knee to tyranny."

College response

In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for Fanshawe College said, "Staff who refuse to follow protocols will be asked to leave campus and will not be allowed to teach."

Though the college would not respond to Taylor's case specifically, the statement goes on to say, "Fanshawe has ensured that all students arriving on campus on Monday will have trained and experienced faculty to teach their classes."

The college said campus security will be reminding people on campus to wear masks, and will follow up with warnings and enforcement if necessary. Staff and students can also report people to security or through the school's Stay Safe app.



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