Doctor Greg Canning quits James Cook University teaching post over feminist colleague Betty McLellan’s ‘sexual vilification’ of men

July 14, 2012


BATTLE OF THE SEXES: James Cook Univerity’s Adjunct Associate Professor Betty McLellan and Dr Greg Canning. Source: Townsville Bulletin

JAMES Cook University is embroiled in an ugly battle of the sexes which has resulted in one academic resigning in protest at the lack of discipline of his “extreme” feminist colleague.

JCU School of Medicine adjunct senior lecturer Dr Greg Canning has quit his teaching job of 10 years, claiming the university failed to caution Adjuct Associate Professor Betty McLellan, who he has accused of publicly practicing sexual vilification.

Dr McLellan, from the School of Arts and Social Sciences, is a feminist ethicist and psychotherapist, with more than 20 years experience. She has written several books, and regularly contributes opinion pieces to radical feminism websites such as the Coalition for a Feminist Agenda.

Dr Canning, who is a men’s health advocate, said he took great offence to some of Dr McLellan’s writings. An opinion piece, written by Dr McLellan on website Radfem Hub titled ‘The Question on Nobody’s Lips’, states “even with all the evidence we have that something’s not quite right with the male of the species, there is still impenetrable resistance to focusing on men’s behaviour and asking: what is it about men?”

Dr Canning, who also works as a skin cancer specialist, said the article clearly painted all men as violent or sexual predators.

“She’s at the extreme side of feminism, which started out as a movement of equality to bring equal rights to men and women,” he said.

“But even though that’s largely been achieved, there’s still a group of people who believe men are evil.

“The fact people like this are teaching students really bothers me.”

Dr Canning made an official complaint to JCU, accusing Dr McLellan through her activities and writings of breaching the university’s guidelines for ethical conduct and bringing JCU into disrepute.

JCU, however, reviewed his concerns and found there was no evidence Dr McLellan had breached the university’s code of conduct, nor brought it into dispute.

Dr Canning handed his letter of resignation into the School of Medicine last month. He said while university management did not overtly condone the sexual vilification of men, failing to even caution Dr McLellan was a “reprehensible moral and ethical shortcoming”.

Dr McLellan said it was ridiculous to suggest she supported violence against men, or vilified them.

“I don’t support violence from anybody to anybody: men, women, anybody,” she said. “How am I vilifying anybody, really?”

She believed Dr Canning was going over the top by resigning from his teaching position.

“It speaks of a man, really, who is fairly desperate because he’s not getting his own way,” she said.

“He’s not able to silence a woman who has an opinion.”

Dr Canning gives us some more background to this story and his actions on the blog A Voice for Men: 

James Cook University’s shame | A Voice for Men

Earlier this year distressed by the impunity with which Professor Betty McLellan was able to publically vilify all men, I examined in depth the James Cook University Code of Conduct and felt McLellans writings and public activities were clearly in breech of that code.

You can check out my youtube take on McLellan here

I submitted a formal complaint to the Vice Chancellor of the university detailing my concerns, and offering to contribute to any investigation or provide further information. Receipt of my complaint was acknowledged but nothing more was heard for several months, so I wrote again enquiring as to the progress of the investigation. Within a couple of days I received notification that the university did not believe there had been any breach of its code and that no action would be taken against McLellan.
(You can view the documents here if you wish.)

Flabbergasted with this response given the clear evidence of sexist bigotry before them I felt I had no other recourse but to resign my teaching position with the University and sever formal ties with them. This was a difficult decision as contact with and teaching undergraduates was a much cherished and fulfilling activity. Lest anyone assume that I have made myself destitute by this move, I certainly have not, my university teaching role was very limited and part time, my main commitments have always been to my private practice and postgraduate education via my professional college. Such a decision would have been orders of magnitude more difficult if I relied on a university job for my livelihood, and no doubt this figures in many academics tolerating or not making a fuss about radical feminist bigotry.

Resigning however would have little impact if not used to make public the issues prompting my resignation. The support I have received from those both known and unknown to me in the local community has been overwhelming. A sample of which have been published in todays Townsville Bulletin.

Most importantly I have had several phone calls from men who were previous students at JCU with first hand experience of the anti male bias in the Department of Social Work and Community Welfare. I hope to meet with them soon to discuss their experiences and perhaps look at a coordinated plan to seek redress on their behalf, and demand that such “extreme” feminists (The article misquoted me, I used the term extremist) be called to account.

The news item has spread outside my local area and whilst most posts don’t invite comments this one does.

Thanks to all for your support it is truly appreciated.

Greg Canning

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