Forum for Discussion and Debate on the Lawsuit, University of Ottawa

Prof. Joanne St. Lewis: Why I Stood Up to Racist Cyber Libel

In All on 2014/07/10 at 19:03

by Professor Joanne St. Lewis 

On June 5th, 2014, a jury ruled in the St. Lewis v. Rancourt defamation action. The decision before the Ontario Superior Court found that, the Defendant’s actions were malicious. They awarded $100,000 in general damages and $250,000.00 in aggravated damages. The Defendant has been ordered to take down his blog articles, cease defaming Professor St. Lewis and to assist in having the materials removed from Google and other search engines. The decision is likely to be appealed by the Defendant and awaits the imprimatur of the Ontario Court of Appeal and perhaps the Supreme Court of Canada. However, there are already significant benchmarks achieved that need to be immediately recognized.

The jury found that Professor Joanne St. Lewis was defamed when the Defendant used a racist insult tied to Black slave experience to describe her work for the University of Ottawa. St. Lewis never denied racism in an advisory report she authored in 2008. Her evaluation of a student report found it to be poorly written and unsubstantiated when it accused the University of having systemic racism in its academic fraud process. Despite these flaws, St. Lewis called upon the University to meet its obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code and conduct a proper systemic racism analysis.

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Read the full article at the website of SLAW “Canada’s online legal magazine” 

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