Smith School of Business to update guest speaker process policy

Staff and faculty engaging in discussions surrounding sexual violence following Chance Macdonald appearance 

Smith School of Business is updating its process for inviting guest speakers to classrooms.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Months after Chance Macdonald was invited to guest lecture a Queen’s business class, Smith School of Business is updating its process for inviting guest speakers to classrooms.

Staff and faculty met earlier this month to initiate discussions about the impact Macdonald’s appearance has had on the Queen’s community, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Nancy Evan told The Journal in a written statement.

A representative from Queen’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response spoke about sexual violence at the first meeting to “help faculty and staff understand reactions by victims and advocates,” Evans wrote. “As this was a topic of such importance in and of itself, the first meeting was dedicated to that topic.”

A second meeting is set to occur in a few weeks to move discussion towards the process for inviting guest speakers going forward.

Last May, Macdonald—a former Queen’s student convicted of common assault of a 16-year-old girl in 2017—guest lectured a Queen’s business class.

Invited by an individual faculty member, Macdonald spoke to an accelerated MBA class for 20 minutes over Skype.

Macdonald had also started using his middle name, Andrew, as his first name, which Queen’s Director of Media Relations Mark Erdman cited as a possible reason why he was able to be invited undetected.

“Nobody made the connection at the time,” he told The Journal last November.

Erdman added there isn’t “an established, centralized process for professors bringing in a guest lecturer” and staff and faculty have autonomy in their classrooms.

Smith School administration wasn’t aware of Macdonald’s appearance until “after the fact,” according to Amber Wallace, Smith School director of communications and external relations.

“Once it was discovered, it was agreed with the program leadership and faculty member that Mr. Macdonald would not participate again,” Wallace wrote in an email to The Journal in November. “He was not an appropriate choice as a guest speaker.”

Before pleading guilty to the lesser charge of common assault in 2017, Macdonald was first charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in 2015.

He was sentenced to 88 days in jail, to be served on weekends, and two years probation.

In a controversial decision, Justice Letourneau postponed Macdonald’s sentencing to allow him to complete a summer internship.

Although Macdonald hasn’t set foot on campus since 2017, his Skype appearance last May was cited as “unfortunate” by the University and prompted the Smith School of Business to promise a guest lecture process review.

“This is an important, ongoing discussion taking place,” Evans wrote.

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