A complaint made to Edwards School of Business has led to a management and marketing professor having to take down his office decor of inflatable dummies and profanity-ridden inspirational posters.
David Williams said he was not surprised when he was asked to remove the dummies and posters from his office because Department Head John Rigby warned him a week beforehand that they needed be removed on the grounds that they are unprofessional and disrespectful.
The inflatable dummies Williams had in his office were his “executive team” that he would use to stand in for him while out for lunch. The posters were meant to be satire of motivational sayings.
“The allegation was that when students came in they would find it odd or disruptive, but nobody’s ever said anything,” Williams said.
For the time being Williams has removed the dummies from his office and has replaced the posters with photos of Murray Edwards and print outs saying, “Image can not be found.”
“Hopefully that’s not too disruptive,” Williams said of his new posters.
Williams has filed a grievance with the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association and held an online petition to save his inspirational messages that garnered 29 supporters.
The issue could not be discussed in detail in order to protect faculty members’ privacy, said Barb Daigle, associate vice-president human resources at the U of S.
Daigle said when issues regarding harassment arise, the university works toward resolving the matters whether or not the complaint was formal or informal.
“I’m not really sure how this story sort of came to light but what I can tell you is the university has a commitment to providing work and learning environments that are positive, safe spaces free from any kind of discrimination or harassment,” she said.
Although the U of S values diversity, Daigle said it needs to be weighed against having safe environments on campus.
“I think of just how important it is to get the balance right: the balance of diversity of views and of having a positive and productive work and learning environments for people.”