A sociology professor has been removed from instruction of SOC 204R, Sociology of Adolescents, following student complaints of several instances of controversial comments.
Mandeep Chahil, a student in the class, described the type of comments professor Tracy Peressini would make, saying that she justified them under the guise of asking students to be more open-minded and think critically.
According to Chahil, Peressini once said that “transgender people are just people who want to play dress-up and wave magic wands around everywhere.”
In an email to the class on Wednesday, Peressini stated that “only thru [sic] challenging public convention and nonsensical constructs designed to keep you unenlightened, will you get to a point of hope, light, and possibility.” Peressini ended the email by telling students to enjoy “whomever the administration chooses to deliver you from evil.”
For the remainder of the term, the class will be taught by a part-time instructor and PhD candidate from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Chahil described another incident where in a discussion about COVID-19, Peressini implied that the government had malicious intentions, stating that the vaccines contain graphite and that graphite reacts with 5G phones. Imprint was able to verify this incident from a recording.
Chahil said that the only connection from the discussion made to the course topic, adolescents, was when Peressini asked the class, “So now think about a 14 year old who’s hearing all this news about how the government is trying to kill us all. How do you think they’re feeling in this life?”
Chahil said that the students did speak up and challenge Peressini. On one occasion, they tried to correct her terminology from “transgendered” to “transitioned” as well as her constant misgendering of actor Elliot Page, though Peressini said that she “didn’t care about that stuff.”
Chahil said that students have advised each other to send complaints to the chair of social development studies and to try and drop the course, though she was unable to because Peressini’s class was the only SOC 204R offered.
Cort Egan, director of external relations and communications at Renison, said that while he could not respond to requests for more specific information regarding Peressini’s departure from the class and any potential disciplinary action, “Renison is committed to the tenets of equity, diversity, and inclusion. [They] are also committed to instructional continuity and ensuring that the academic progress of [their] students is maintained.”
When contacted, Peressini said she had been “ordered not to communicate with folks about [it].”