Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Prof. Sally Zerker Letter to President Shoukri of York University

May 12, 2017


Dear President Shoukri;


I am sorry to say that I believe York University is no longer a place of learning. If there is a professor there who is allowed to greet young students by accusing them of “white privilege”, as well as other shameful exhibitions from other greeters, then that institution has been corrupted by irrational and prejudicial thought that negates the meaning of education. The presumption of “white privilege” is not only insulting and degrading, it is utter rot.


I don’t know when and how we experienced “white privilege” here in Canada. Was it when we struggled for our daily bread in the depression of the ‘30s when 25% of our people were unemployed? Was it when our men were drafted starting in 1939 to fight the barbarians in Europe and tens of thousands never came back? Or when so-called “white” war-widowed mothers had to fend for themselves and their children without a respectable network to come to their assistance? Or was it when the Italian immigrants flooded into Canada after the war and worked ten or more hour-days at very hard labor building to accommodate our growing numbers? Maybe it was when whole sectors of Canadian low income kids couldn’t afford to attend university? Or was it when I was refused a job while having outstanding qualifications (MA in economics plus experience in business) because I was frankly told there was no place in that insurance company for a Jew? Please let the so-called experts at York explain to me the source of our white privilege, because I cannot find it.


I hope I’m wrong to think that the arrogance of this impertinence suggests that York University is a lost cause. After all I spent 30 good years teaching and (I hope) stimulating students to learn important “white males” contributions to Western thought. I wonder if it would be possible today to teach my course on the classical economists, from Adam Smith to Karl Marx. After all they are all, to a one, “white males.” At one point the feminists at York approached me to change the name of the course from “Men, Morals and Markets,” to exclude the word men. I told them that when these distinguished thinkers were transformed to women, I would do so. Tell me, would that answer suffice today at York University?

I deeply regret and am ashamed to observe that what had such educational promise when I started at York University in 1968, has all turned into blatant indoctrination of ignorant ideologies.


A very troubled professor emerita,


Sally F. Zerker