Laurentian University’s dean of the faculty of graduate studies has stepped down from his position after he published a tweet earlier this month in which he used the hashtag #AllLivesMatters.
David Lesbarrères issued the tweet June 8, shortly after he responded to a tweet from University of Ottawa PhD candidate Peter Soroye, who described being on the receiving end of a racist comment.
Lesbarrères has since deleted the tweet and apologized for his words the next day, saying he realized his tweet “hurt many people,” but screen shots were published by other Twitter users.
The Dean of Graduate Studies at Laurentian University tweeted this last night. (h/t 🔒) pic.twitter.com/FXqtrXKlcu— Anti-Racist Sudbury (@ARsudbury) June 9, 2020
Last night, I issued a tweet that hurt many people. I apologize for my words and understand that I must educate myself further about #BlackLivesMatter and Tweeter. I didn't know that # existed and now realize it is rooted in values I do not hold and that I strongly condemn.— David Lesbarrères (@sudburyfrog) June 9, 2020
Laurentian president Robert Haché released a written statement on the university’s website June 9, saying Laurentian was following up on the situation “expeditiously and with the utmost care and attention.” He called the tweet “inappropriate and offensive.”
He took the opportunity to “condemn any racism on campus.”
On June 22, Haché announced Lesbarrères had stepped down.
“Further to my statement of June 9th condemning racism on campus, today I wish to communicate with the Laurentian community that Dr. David Lesbarrères will be stepping down from his day-to-day functions as Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies for an indeterminate period, effective immediately,” Haché said, in a written statement.
“Interim arrangements for leadership of the Faculty of Graduate Studies will be communicated shortly. In the meantime, the functions of the Dean will be overseen by the Vice-President, Academic and Provost, Dr. Serge Demers.”
In response to a query from Sudbury.com, Laurentian said Lesbarrères remains a professor.
Lesbarrères was appointed dean of the faculty of graduate studies for a five-year term in 2016. The biologist has been with Laurentian since 2004, and is known for his research on frogs.