New Brunswick

UNB prof accused of being a white supremacist takes early retirement

A University of New Brunswick professor accused of being a white supremacist and denounced by more than 100 colleagues for his views on immigration is taking early retirement, the university's vice-president announced on Tuesday.

Ricardo Duchesne plans to focus on pursuits as an independent scholar, says vice-president

Prof. Ricardo Duchesne is retiring from the University of New Brunswick after 24 years in the wake of allegations of being a white supremacist. (Submitted by Ricardo Duchesne)

A University of New Brunswick professor accused of being a white supremacist and denounced by more than 100 colleagues for his views on immigration is taking early retirement, the university announced on Tuesday.

Prof. Ricardo Duchesne provided his notice "to focus on his own pursuits as an independent scholar," vice-president Petra Hauf said in a statement.

"We respectfully accept his decision and thank him for his 24 years of service."

CBC News requested an interview, but UNB spokesperson Heather Campbell declined.

Duchesne, who teaches sociology at the Saint John campus, has appeared on far-right podcasts and YouTube channels. He has also written about what he calls the "relentless occupation of the West by hordes of Muslims and Africans," and asserts that "only out of the coming chaos and violence will strong White men rise to resurrect the West."

He says he's looking forward to retiring at the end of the month and pursuing independent studies.

He plans to write about "why European civilization was far more creative than all the other civilizations combined" and "why all European-created nations are being forced to diversify themselves through mass immigration," he said in an emailed statement.

He will also address "why the mainstream media never allows any critical thinking about the mandated ideology of diversity," he said.

'Racist and without academic merit'

UNB history Prof. Gary Waite says he and several of his colleagues at both the Saint John and Fredericton campuses are pleased Duchesne is leaving.

Waite contends Duchesne's views on multiculturalism and immigration "have no place in academia."
Gary Waite, a professor at the University of New Brunswick, said he and his colleagues will continue to discuss how to ensure universities are free from hate speech. (Gary Waite)
And while Duchesne didn't teach them in the classroom, "he was still a presence that I think encouraged others in various ways to follow that line of thinking."

Last week, Waite was one of about 113 faculty members who signed a group letter condemning Duchesne's views as "racist and without academic merit."

"Cloaking these views in academic legitimacy is an abuse of his status as a professor at UNB," the professors wrote.

They said they were "deeply concerned" about the negative impact his public comments may have had on students.

"Racism in the university causes real harm and undermines the rights of students and colleagues to a working and learning environment free from discrimination."

The letter was in response to an article in the Huffington Post that called Duchesne a white supremacist.

'Zero tolerance' for discrimination

Following the article, the university announced it was reviewing allegations with respect to an unnamed faculty member.

"We take these allegations very seriously," president and vice-chancellor Eddy Campbell had said. "We have an obligation to ensure that the rights and freedoms of our university community are respected and protected."

Two days later, the recently-appointed vice-president also issued a statement.

"I want to assure the community that we unequivocally condemn racism and misogyny, and do not support the dissemination of any any kind of hate speech, or ideas that promote or inspire hatred."

The university has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, Hauf had said. "Please be assured that silence does not mean inactivity."

Waite said he and his colleagues will continue to discuss how to ensure universities are free of hate speech.

Duchesene's "is not the only case and is not going to be the only case of someone using academia, a university position to spread hatred," he said.

Faculty members may bring an official statement to the university senate to publicly declare that such views are "not based on real research" and that the university "renounces them as a community."

'Lies, misquotations and defamatory claims'

In an email to CBC's The Current in MayDuchesne had characterized the Huffington Post accusation as "lies, misquotations and defamatory claims."

The Current requested a full interview with the professor. He outlined certain conditions for an interview, which the show was not prepared to meet.

In 2015, UNB defended Duchesne's academic freedom after a racism complaint.