Queen’s confirms ‘unfortunate’ Chance Macdonald talk

Smith School of Business to review guest speaker process

The Smith School of Business.

Last spring, Chance Macdonald—a former Queen’s student who was convicted in August of 2017 for common assault of a 16-year-old—guest lecturered a Queen’s business class, the University confirmed Tuesday.

The University said Macdonald appeared via Skype to guest lecture a class of Accelerated MBA students.

Macdonald was originally charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in 2015 before pleading guilty to the lesser charge of common assault nearly two years later.

Justice Letourneau later postponed Macdonald’s sentencing, which allowed him to complete a summer internship.

After Justice Letourneau adopted a joint recommendation from both the defence and prosecution, Macdonald was sentenced to 88 days in jail, to be served on weekends. The sentence began after his four-month summer internship. He also received two years probation.

Macdonald didn’t return to Queen’s in the fall of 2017, despite being in the top 10 per cent of his class at the Smith Schoolof Business.

At the time of the guest lecture in May, Macdonald had switched to using his middle name, Andrew, and was writing articles covering crypto-currency.

“Nobody could have picked up on that because of the name change,” Mark Erdman, Queen’s Director of Media Relations, said to The Journal over the phone. “He stopped using Chance as his name and was going by Andrew, and nobody made the connection at the time.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the University said Macdonald appeared “at the invitation of an individual faculty member.”

“There isn’t an established, centralized process for professors bringing in a guest lecturer,” Erdman said. “They have autonomy in their classrooms.” 

The University’s statement called Macdonald’s presence as a guest speaker “unfortunate” and said the Smith School of Business will be reviewing its processes surrounding guest speakers in classrooms. 

The statement also said the University “shares the concerns” about the speaking event. 

Erdman said the University learned about the incident in May, after it occurred.

“I think some students in the class expressed concerns, [and] I think recognized [Macdonald] on screen,” he said.

The Smith School of Business also confirmed Macdonald spoke to an accelerated MBA class in May for roughly twenty minutes. 

In an email to The Journal, Smith School Director of Communications and External Relations, Amber Wallace, wrote “the administration was not aware of [Macdonald’s] participation until after the fact.”

“Once it was discovered, it was agreed with the program leadership and faculty member that Mr. Macdonald would not participate again,” she continued. “He was not an appropriate choice as a guest speaker. 

“We regret the distress this participation has caused.”

Wallace also confirmed the Smith School of Business would be engaging faculty members in a review of the process to invite guest speakers to lecture their classes.

The University said that, since the time of his conviction in 2017, Macdonald hasn’t returned to campus. 

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