UQAM profs accused of sexual harassment, school says it's slander
UQAM is at the centre of a thorny debate between the rights of victims and anonymous accusations of sexual harassment.
Earlier this week, the office doors of three professors were covered in anti-harassment stickers, calling out the three men for allegedly sexually harassing students.
It was an anonymous action made public when L’AFESH, an association representing thousands of social science students, posted the pictures on its Facebook page, along with the professors’ names.
The accusations have rocked the university, but its vice rector says no one has come forward to make an official complaint.
“To investigate a claim we have to have a complaint. Right now I have a complaint from the professors about the slander they are victim of. I don't have a complaint from the student about either of these professors,” said Marc Turgeon.
The three office doors are now sticker free, but the accusations have stuck and divided the community.
The debate has made its way to Quebec City.
“There is a way to complain and we have to follow this way,” said education minister Yves Bolduc.
Some are now accusing those who posted those pictures online of another type of harassment, cyberbullying.
“You can't have justice by using such a means as slandering people on the Internet,” said Turgeon.
The university has asked L’AFESH to take the pictures down but the organization refused, so UQAM is now asking Facebook to intervene.
But cyberbullying expert Shareen Shariff says unless UQAM gets a court order, the Facebook post is still legal.
“Social media intermediaries are not legally obliged to take (their posts) down because they are seen as distributors under the law, not publishers,” she explained.
Turgeon says the university is looking into who put the stickers on the professors’ doors.