By Michael Boriero
Local Journalism Initiative
Bishop’s University has come under fire this week, as hundreds of alumni and current students from the education department took to Facebook to express their displeasure with the administration’s decision to dismiss Dr. Christopher Stonebanks, a tenured professor.
According to a statement from Vice-Principal Academic & Research Miles Turnbull and Associate Vice-Principal Academic Claire Grogan, the university will “not comment on employment matters concerning any individual member of staff or faculty.”
However, addressing the public outrage on social media, Turnbull and Grogan said Bishop’s has a “legal and moral obligation” to protect its entire community and provide an environment “free of bullying, intimidation and psychological harassment.”
On Tuesday, Stonebanks’ wife, Melanie Bennett-Stonebanks, wrote on Facebook that her husband had just been fired from the university. She asked: “How does Bishop’s University handle the challenge of systemic racism […] they fire the person who calls it out.”
The Record reached out to Melanie, a lecturer in the field of education at McGill University, for more context surrounding Stonebanks’ sudden dismissal, but she was unable to provide any comments. Melanie was also previously involved with Bishop’s University.
She used to be the Director of Practice Teaching for the university’s School of Education. However, four years ago, the university chose not to renew her contract, which led to 301 students signing an online petition to bring her back. But nothing came of it.
Now there is a petition circulating online for her husband, demanding answers from the administration and the department as to why they decided to terminate Stonebanks. There were already over 280 signatures when The Record went to press on Wednesday.