A woman who complained to the University of British Columbia about the chair of its writing program says she’s glad the acclaimed writer is no longer employed by the school.
The university issued a statement Wednesday saying Steven Galloway no longer works there over what it calls an “irreparable breach of trust.”
“I’m so relieved that UBC did the right thing,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used out of concern for the impact it may have on her career.
She declined to discuss what led her to complain, but said she has been living with extreme stress and anxiety as the investigation progressed.
“This has been the worst year of my life,” she said.
Galloway was suspended in November while an investigation was completed over what UBC said were serious allegations of misconduct.
Additional complaints were also received after he was suspended and Mary Ellen Boyd, a former B.C. Supreme Court justice, was appointed to conduct an investigation.
Details of those allegations weren’t released, but the school said Galloway did not dispute any of the critical findings when the dean of arts, Gage Averill, reviewed the report with him.
The woman said she was frustrated by the lack of information complainants were given, but believes details about what happened will eventually come out.
“Honestly, I’m just relieved (UBC) took action. It would have been easier for them to not take actions,” she said.
Philip Steenkamp, the vice-president external relations at UBC, wouldn’t say if Galloway quit or if he was fired.
He noted that when the president recommends termination of a faculty member it needs to be approved by the board and that approval was given on Tuesday.
Galloway could not be reached for comment. His publisher did not return an email seeking comment Wednesday.
Steenkamp said all of the complainants who came forward have been offered support and counselling services by the university.
Galloway is the author of three novels, including “The Confabulist” and “The Cellist of Sarajevo” and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
He started working as an assistant professor at the school in September 2001 and was appointed chair of creative writing in 2013.
The university said its president met with Galloway on June 3.
“As a result of the findings in this meeting, coupled with the dean’s recommendation and the investigative findings … the president concluded that there was a record of misconduct that resulted in an irreparable breach of the trust placed in faculty members by the university, its students and the general public,” the school’s statement said.
The university said it had to balance a number of issues in investigating the case and reporting on its outcome.
“The university acknowledges the community’s need for information and assurance that its processes have been applied fairly. At the same time, the university must balance the need to respect the personal privacy of both complainants and respondents and to provide them with a safe space in which to bring forward their concerns and perspectives.”