The case for repealing Suzuki’s honorary degree
anti-fossil-fuel views. He has stated that “all fossil fuels are unethical” and that balancing economic interests against environmental interests is like arguing to perpetuate slavery. Recently, when speaking to a group of Calgary teachers, he said that upwards of 80 per cent of fossil fuels should be left in the ground, an action that would devastate the future economic prosperity of Alberta and Canada.
Honouring such views with a meritorious degree requires the abdication of the value system thoughtfully set out in the university’s strategic plan. This is not about freedom of speech. If the university accepts the “standard of excellence” set by Suzuki, it should immediately terminate its petroleum engineering program and refund all fees to current students (with an apology for offering such an unethical program), sever all ties with any person engaged in the fossil fuel industry and terminate all fossil-fuel-related research.
With views so antithetical to university’s value system, Suzuki is incapable of honouring the spirit of the university. Awarding this degree would suggest that the strategic plans so painstakingly developed by the senate and the university should be immediately repealed and replaced with a link to Suzuki’s foundation website.
Perhaps, the Faculty of Economics should also be shut down, because, as stated by one of its own professors of economics, Andrew Leach, Suzuki “refers to economics as brain damage.” Suzuki’s absolutism is contrary to an ethical approach to teaching and learning, which requires free and open inquiry and which the university claims to value.
For all of the above reasons, the chancellor should exercise his discretion, take guidance from the strategic plan and refuse to grant such a meritorious award to such an unworthy recipient. Likewise, the senate and the president of the university should provide all necessary support to the chancellor in making such a courageous decision. -TROYMEDIA