John Ab­bott de­fends Su­zu­ki vi­sit

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

John Ab­bott Col­lege has found it­self in the news re­cent­ly, but not in a good way. The Sainte-Anne-de-Bel­le­vue CE­GEP has been the sub­ject of na­tio­nal me­dia spe­cu­la­tion and al­le­ga­tions re­gar­ding a spea­king vi­sit last Oc­to­ber by no­ted en­vi­ron­men­ta­list Dr. Da­vid Su­zu­ki.

The event, which was at­ten­ded by 1,600 stu­dents while more than 13,000 high school stu­dents wat­ched via live web­cast, was re­cent­ly ques­tio­ned - in print and on te­le­vi­sion - by Ez­ra Le­vant, a Sun News broad­cas­ter, au­thor and po­li­ti­cal ac­ti­vist. The sto­ry was then pi­cked up by lo­cal me­dia, in­clu­ding CJAD talk ra­dio. Le­vant clai­med Su­zu­ki re­ques­ted an all-fe­male bo­dy­guard contin­gent com­pri­sed of student’s from John Ab­bott’s re­now­ned Po­lice Tech pro­gram. Ci­ting emails and do­cu­ments ob­tai­ned th­rough ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion, Le­vant na­med ma­ny John Ab­bott ad­mi­nis­tra­tors who see­min­gly ar­ran­ged to meet Dr. Su­zu­ki’s al­le­ged re­quests.

Le­vant al­so took is­sue with the cost of the event, which came to more than $40,000, and in­clu­ded Dr. Su­zu­ki’s spea­ker’s fee, his air­line ticket, ho­tel bill and other in­ci­den­tals. Though Le­vant clai­med Dr. Su­zu­ki’s fee co­ve­red just the day­time speech, Su­zu­ki spent an en­tire day at the Sainte-Anne-deBel­le­vue col­lege gi­ving a one hour-plus speech du­ring the day that was fol­lo­wed by a leng­thy ques­tion and ans­wer per­iod. He met with re­por­ters in the af­ter­noon, then at­ten­ded and gave a key-note speech in the eve­ning when the col­lege of­fi­cial­ly inau­gu­ra­ted its new state-of-the-art science and tech­no­lo­gy buil­ding. Re­por­ters ob­ser­ving his mo­ve­ments throu­ghout the cam­pus wit­nes­sed Dr. Su­zu­ki sur­roun­ded most­ly by school ad­mi­nis­tra­tors.

JAC re­sponds

Though of­fi­cials at the col­lege are not spea­king pu­bli­cly about the al­le­ga­tions, John Ab­bott did re­lease a sta­te­ment, tit­led Straight Talk...The Real Sto­ry, that ad­dresses the claims. It reads as fol­lows: “In an edi­to­rial broad­cast on Ja­nua­ry 28, 2013, some un­true al­le­ga­tions concer­ning John Ab­bott Col­lege were made. It would seem that the Col­lege now finds it­self amid­st a long stan­ding di­sa­gree­ment bet­ween par­ties that are not re­la­ted to our school, our stu­dents or our fo­cus on lear­ning.

To set the re­cord straight re­gar­ding Dr. Da­vid Su­zu­ki’s vi­sit to our cam­pus Oc­to­ber 24, both male and fe­male stu­dents es­cor­ted him throu­ghout a full day and eve­ning of ac­ti­vi­ties in or­der to fa­ci­li­tate his mo­ve­ments throu­ghout our cam­pus. Those stu­dents, all of whom were cho­sen for their pro­fes­sio­na­lism, were part of our Po­lice Tech­no­lo­gy pro­gram.

There was no ri­der in Dr. Su­zu­ki’s contract spe­ci­fying the gen­der or dress code of those as­sis­ting him throu­ghout the day. The ne­ga­tive com­ments and in­nuen­dos made are de­mea­ning to those stu­dents and to the Col­lege and are the re­sult of the mi­sin­ter­pre­ta­tion of emails ex­chan­ged bet­ween col­leagues.

With re­gard to Dr. Su­zu­ki’s fee, it was in line with his full day par­ti­ci­pa­tion in what was a ve­ry im­por­tant event for our Col­lege where 1,600 stu­dents at­ten­ded the mor­ning pre­sen­ta­tion and more than 13,000 Les­ter B. Pear­son School Board stu­dents fol­lo­wed the live web­cast. In an un­pre­ce­den­ted move, the cam­pus es­sen­tial­ly be­came one big class­room on that mor­ning as tea­chers were en­cou­ra­ged to par­ti­ci­pate in the mor­ning lec­ture and in­cor­po­rate the event in their classes. Fol­lo­wing the day’s com­mit­ments, Dr. Su­zu­ki was the key­note spea­ker at an eve­ning ho­nou­ring be­ne­fac­tors who are res­pon­sible for se­ve­ral mil­lion dol­lars in do­na­tions to the Col­lege.

The Col­lege is com­mit­ted to pro­vi­ding our stu­dents with an ex­pan­sive view of so­cie­ty to as­sist them on their path to be­co­ming cri­ti­cal thin­kers. It is a shame that along the way, they are al­so wit­nesses to the fal­si­fi­ca­tion of in­for­ma­tion consi­de­red to be ac­cep­table prac­tice by news pro­fes­sio­nals.”

PHO­TO KRIS­TI­NA EDSON

Dr. Da­vid Su­zu­ki’s vi­sit to John Ab­bott Col­lege last Oc­to­ber is now the sub­ject of ne­ga­tive al­le­ga­tions.

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