Pop Goes The News — People close to author and professor Stephen Galloway are publicly expressing support after he was suspended by the University of British Columbia in light of “serious allegations.”
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the Giller-nominated author’s publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, said it “is proud to publish Steven Galloway” and described him as “a friend to many of us here.”
The statement added: “We look forward to publishing more books with him in the future.”
UBC’s Dean of Arts, Gage Averill, said in a memo late Wednesday that Galloway has been “temporarily suspended with pay pending an investigation.” He has also been temporarily removed from his duties as chair of the school’s Creative Writing program.
No details about the nature of the allegations were made public but Averill said an investigation by the university is underway.
“To observe due process and to respect the privacy of the individuals involved, this process is confidential.”
Police are reportedly not involved.
Galloway is not speaking publicly.
“Here is what I feel about Steven Galloway: He has integrity, heart, compassion, self-respect, and a heck of an amazing sense of humour,” said novelist Nazanine Hozar, in a series of tweets.
“He has done more for his students/fellow writers than any other professor I have known, and he has on three occasions helped change the course of my life for the better. After 9 years of knowing him closely, I have never seen or heard him do or say anything that could be construed as unacceptable.
“He is a genuinely decent man.”
Student Wendy Bone tweeted she is upset at her professor’s suspension. “He has always been great in our class,” she wrote. “Hope it’s resolved soon.”
Vancouver author Jeyn Roberts also tweeted support. “Steven Galloway was my professor at UBC and my friend. Hopefully these allegations are just that…allegations.”
One blogger, identified only as Brianne, opined that the public support for the professor is premature.
“Will you still think Steven is a ‘genuinely decent man’ and be ‘proud’ of him when it’s revealed that he sexually assaulted a female and/or partook in questionable activities on campus?,” she wrote at MissMusing.ca.
“Innocent until proven guilty, yes. But everyone thought Jian Ghomeshi was innocent too, and we all know how that turned out in the end.”
Ghomeshi, a former CBC radio host, is awaiting trial on sexual assault charges.
In a tweet about Galloway’s suspension, Kaitlin Russell wrote: “A long time coming…”
Galloway’s novels The Cellist of Sarajevo, The Confabulist, Ascension and Finnie Walsh have been published in more than 30 countries.
Some people are criticizing UBC for being so vague.
“Very low of UBC to suspend Galloway without telling him what the accusation is,” commented someone using the name J. Brown on The Globe and Mail website. “Ashamed to be an alumnus.”
Twitter user @XphrP wrote: “Admittedly without context, I’m concerned that a professor can be suspended without being told why.”
The memo from Averill included two paragraphs on the “safety, health and wellbeing” of UBC students, staff and faculty. “If you ever have information that is concerning to your safety and wellbeing, we encourage you to seek the support available.”
Averill also pointed out that “no findings have been made about any wrongdoing by Prof. Galloway.”