Steve Boyd puts Queen’s on notice of pending defamation lawsuit

Legal action targets former provost’s remarks

Boyd has asked for the former provost’s comments to be removed.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Recently-fired cross country coach Steve Boyd has given the University notice of impending legal action in response to comments made about him after his contract was terminated on Feb. 19.

At a meeting on April 14, Principal Patrick Deane told Senate that Boyd had given notice of bringing legal action against the University.

When The Journal reached out to Boyd for a comment, he explained any legal action would be aimed at the nature of comments made by Tom Harris about his dismissal. At the time, Harris was the University’s interim provost and vice-principal (Academic).

In a statement to The Journal, the University confirmed that Boyd has served the institution with a notice of a pending lawsuit, but refrained from commenting on the situation because of potential litigation with Boyd.

“I have not yet commenced a legal action against the University or Professor Harris. Rather, I have put Queen’s University, and Professor Harris in particular, on notice that his comments about me are defamatory,” Boyd wrote in a statement to The Journal. “I have asked that those comments be removed, although neither Queen’s nor Professor Harris have taken any steps to do so at this time.”

Boyd is referring to comments made by Harris in a news release published to the University’s website on Feb. 20, which described his actions as “berating and victim-blaming.”

He is also pointing to a letter Harris wrote on Feb. 26 in response to an earlier editorial published by The Star

Boyd was dismissed from Queen’s after Guelph alumni filed complaints about the nature of online comments he made about David Scott-Thomas, a Guelph running coach who was fired for alleged sexual misconduct. However, the University maintains that Boyd’s firing was instead related to his general history of publishing objectionable online commentary.

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