Submitted by Geoffrey Mosher
I had the pleasure of learning from Julian at Trent University, a school which prides itself on its openness and access to faculty for student interaction. No one embodied these values quite like Julian. He was always open to meeting with students and genuinely enjoys interacting, debating and discussing any issue with not just his students but anyone who should approach him.
I was lucky enough to have 3 classes with Julian and those experiences completely changed my view of academia, and I can honestly say allowed me to finish my degree. At the time i was entering my second year and had fallen victim to the malaise and loss of motivation that I attribute to a system that was not all it claimed to be. Julian renewed the spark in me for learning and education by embodying the real academic spirit that Trent claims but not many experience. I saw an immediate jump in my grades and began to enjoy my studies. He motivated all of his students to push for something more significant than an individual pursuit of grades, instead we began to form a real community and pursued our academic interests outside the classroom setting.
Julian thrives off of the effort of his students while providing challenging and interesting course content in his signature passionate manner. He engages students and makes them think about the world not simply as an assignment but what it really is, our lives. Julian inspired me to value education, to see endless possibilities to create progress and to discuss and share with those around me.
The loss of Julian at the end of his contract from Trent had a large impact on the Trent Political Studies department in my opinion. It removed the only differing perspective in a very closed minded and inaccessible department and I feel LU through Georgian will see similar side effects.
Julian was one of the few positive elements in my undergraduate career and I have him to thank for the motivation to complete my degree. He inspired the same passion in me that he brings to his classes and I am eternally grateful to him. It would be a terrible mistake not to reinstate Julian and would deprive all LU students of an academic experience that is simply unavailable from anyone else.
Submitted by Greg Albo
Citizens or time-servers?
It is, sadly, far too often the case that university administrations that claim that they are seeking faculty dedicated to teaching are, in practice, not. Good teachers generate enthusiasm in their students, and in political science that means an embrace of democratic citizenship by students. Administrators far prefer time-servers as teachers: give students standard materials, process their papers, discourage questioning, give them grades and continue on with the day-to-day complacency with life that administrators take to be the sign of a successful programme. In doing so, they give lie to their commitments to teaching that they proclaim on their publicity brochures passed out to student recruits and expectant parents. The handling of the teaching position of Mr. Julian Ammirante by the Administration at Georgian College is proving what kind of administrators they are: time-servers are much to be preferred here than genuine teachers that encourage enthusiasm in their students.
Julian is, in my mind and according to the teaching evaluations he has received at several universities, an extremely capable teacher, with unrivalled support from his students. He has been a teaching assistant for several years at York and before that at Guelph and Laurentian, and also a course director at Cambrian College. He has covered a wide range of courses in his teaching, including courses on comparative politics and cross-cultural studies, as well as numerous classes on Canadian politics. Reports on his courses have consistently been superlative; indeed, he emerges constantly as the most popular teacher among students where he has taught. He spending a large amount of time with them, and bringing his over-brimming enthusiasm into the classroom. He does an extremely good job in bringing course materials together and executing in the classroom. This kind of excellent teaching assessments have been across all the courses he has taught, though they have involved quite different materials and levels of students. He makes an outstanding contribution to teaching in the real meaning of the term. And this is coupled with his own writing and research which places him at the front edge of writing on the politics and sociology of sport in Canada.
If the Administration at Georgian College is truly committed to teaching, they will do everything in their power to continue to employ Julian Ammirante.
Prof. Gregory Albo, Political Science, York University
Submitted by Steven
I am truly happy to see all the wonderful post regarding Julian. I took my first political science class with Julian in September 2009 and immediately gained interest because of a genuinely passionate professor.
Julian has been more than a professor, he has been a mentor to many students. This should not go unwarranted. When someone goes beyond his job description to institute a degree of higher learning, they should not be punished. I have made incredible friendships with students because of Julian and there is much gratitude that needs to be returned.
Personally, I can hold Julian amongst the most influential individuals in my life (And this competes with Maurice Richard!). His mentor-ship has forever motivated my quest for a greater academic purpose.
Je demande pour l’immediat réintégration du Professeur Ammirante.
Submitted by Victoria Schut
Entering Laurentian University at Georgian as a transfer student I was not sure what to expect. I was very hesitant to go to a new university and I was not sure what to expect with the small class sizes that I was about to experience. I have to say that I have been confident in my decision to transfer to Laurentian at Georgian until about a month ago. At this point I found out that Julian Ammirante, who has been one of the best professors that I have had the opportunity to have in my university education, had been dismissed.
Julian is an amazing educator. This semester I am taking my seventh class with him as a professor and I have enjoyed every single class of his thus far. It is important for me to have a professor that I know will always strive for excellence and bring the best out of his or her students and Julian does exactly this. I have learned so much about the Canadian political system and all its components, more than I ever thought was even possible. His classes can be challenging, but this is what makes the effort that is put in and the material that is taught that much more rewarding. Julian always strives to ensure that his students reach their true potential and without him I am not sure that I could have reached mine. I am so grateful to him for all the effort that he has taken to ensure that my written work is the best that it can be and for making me feel comfortable enough to participate in class discussions without worrying that my opinions will be shut down.
I am very thankful to Julian for many things in my university experience. He was the reason that I have become so involved in this school. This was through his encouraging me to join a newly forming political science group on campus. If he had not done this, I would most likely have not been involved at all in the school this year. His efforts to encourage me to be involved in these organizations have also lead me to form new friendships among a number of students at Laurentian at Georgian that I will have for the rest of my life. I remain very appreciative to Julian as my two years at this institution have been so much more valuable due to his encouragement.
Julian has also helped me to build up my confidence and I am now willing to participate in class discussions. I was never the type of person who was confident enough to be able to express my opinions in front of others. It was through Julian’s efforts and his confidence in my abilities that I came out of my shell and was willing to participate. This has been an amazing skill for me to develop. I am so thankful for Julian for everything he has done to raise my confidence in myself. I honestly do not know where I would be right now if it was not for Julian.
I have benefited so much from all of the efforts that Julian has exerted and I know that I am not the only one of his students that feels this way. I have been privileged to have had him as my professor for the past two years and I am so glad that I was able to take as many of his classes as I have. It would be an absolutely devastating loss to Laurentian at Georgian if Julian was not re-instated as a professor. I owe so much of my academic growth to Julian and it would be a shame to not allow other students of this institution the opportunity to grow and benefit from Julian as I have.
Julian is obviously passionate about his job and the political process. He tries to ensure that his students actually learn something from his classes and makes them work for it. This is what a real professor is supposed to do. They try to ensure that students do not go from class to class looking for a grade to be put on a transcript. Julian ensures that his students learn in his classes and that they will benefit from this experience. It is absurd that this institution would be so willing to get rid of Julian when he has been such an amazing professor and has impacted so many students positively. It is very sad that this institution is not fighting to keep him.
I will forever appreciate all of the effort that Julian has put into making my education as valuable as it can be. My life would be much different if it were not for Julian being my professor. I am so thankful for that everything that has happened for me at Laurentian at Georgian. This institution needs to re-instate Julian as a professor so that other students that are as unsure of themselves as I was during the first years of my university education can receive everything that I have come to value from this experience. I am without doubt that any new students that enter Laurentian at Georgian will benefit from taking classes with Julian and I feel that without him this institution will be losing a gem of a professor.
Submitted by Peter Graefe
A colleague at McMaster once asked whether the degree of academic freedom in a university could be seen as proportional to the share of faculty holding tenure. In other words, the growing ranks of contract faculty shrunk academic freedom as they formed a pool of teachers who forever feared losing their jobs if they were to be honest to their professional calling of exploring ideas even when they might make others uncomfortable or challenge existing ways of understanding the world.
The students of Laurentian at Georgian have been fortunate that Mr. Ammirante remained true to that calling, even without the protection of tenure. From the comments here, and from my own discussions with Julian about teaching, it is clear that he believed that he had to be true to values of the university if he was to provide his students the sort of education they deserved. It is also clear that he believed that education required a supportive social milieu of debate and sociality outside of the classroom, and thus supported student efforts to create a representative association.
From all publicly available evidence, there seems to be no grounds for Julian’s dismissal, at least if we take academic freedom seriously. This situation needs to be investigated, and Mr. Ammirante should be reinstated.
Submitted by Lisa Stadelmayer
From working class family to a Master’s in International Public Policy - Julian to thank
Julian Ammirante was a professor of mine at Trent University and is the main reason that I am enrolled in graduate school for this upcoming year. After four years of applying with no success, and coming from a working class family where no one has ever attended graduate school before, Julian encouraged me to continue applying. He took time out of his own schedule to help encourage and direct me, allowing me to realize my potential, which so many other professors would not have done, as it is not part of their “job description”.
There exists a large gap in universities between text book knowledge and reality, and Julian helps bridge this gap for so many students, something that many other professors don’t have the motivation or enthusiasm to do. He is a professor full of passion for the world, and there will be a huge void left at Laurentian@Georgian without him. Future students have suffered a tremendous loss. I request that the Laurentian University Faculty Association investigate the wrongful dismissal of Professor Julian Ammirante.
Submitted by Keygan Ricketts
Truly a Teacher
Julian Ammirante has been one of the most important teachers I have ever had. He has empowered his students with knowledge, but much more, he has encouraged them to act when something is important. He is passionate and fiery and his enthusiasm for change is refreshing, especially in a place like Georgian College. I hope that students will continue to be able to learn from him. For without him, this university experience would not have been an experience, it would have been nothing. I truly respect and appreciate him and hope to continue learning more from him, even if it occurs outside the classroom.
Submitted by Orsi Szotyori
Professor Ammirante is one of the Best Teachers at Laurentian @ Georgian
To whom this may concern:
Professor Ammirante has taught me for the past two years and he has been one of the most inspirational professors our school has to offer. He is extremely well educated, insightful, and caring. He inspires students to be the best they can be, and to work to their highest potential. I think he deserves to be teaching because he is outstanding; it would be an embarrassment for the school to let go of such a gem in the world of political academia. It is very rare to meet professors that move you and make you want to help change the world. Professor Ammirante is fabulous and deserves a corner office with a window, not dismissal.
Submitted by Andrew McKay
I have always enjoyed Julian as a Professor. I was always the “enemy” business student that attempted to challenge his convictions, and over the last few years both in and out of the class room Julian has become a more then a Professor, he has become a confidant, a leader and a friend. It would be a mistake and a great loss to Georgian College to not examine this issue with more sincerity and integrity.
Submitted by Luciano Nardi
If you see what dedication this man has for his work and students you would quickly agree that to re-instate this leader back into the faculty would only benefit and increase the value of education that is offered to your many willing students who crave to draw pure knowledge from a professional person. Please take this along with all of the positive comments into consideration and make the proper decision and bring this positive role model back!!!!
Submitted by Rebecca Dumbrill
I had the privilege of being taught by Julian in 2003/2004 at Trent University. I was a bit lost in my education at the time and not doing so well in my chosen major, International Development Studies. Julian’s political science class was supposed to be a ‘filler’. However, thanks to Julian, it is where I discovered my passion. I have since earned by BA in political science and BSW (focusing on Social Policy) at Trent University and McMaster University. Julian stands out as my most influential professor in my entire University experience. I was in his classes at a time when everything else in my life seemed to be going downhill and school was becoming an afterthought. It was beginning to show in my grades. Julian has the ability to see the potential in his students and encourage them to meet that potential. This played significant role in helping to regain my focus on school. Not only that, he encouraged me to take on academic challenges I didn’t think I could succeed in, until I did. I am now planning to do my Masters in Political Science. Julian is the kind of professor who can make an education institution shine and I would expect that every college and university would value this, but I can see which one does not.
Submitted by Mike Gowanlock
I have had the pleasure of taking a course with Julian at Trent University. I found that he was very engaging with students and able to get students interested in course material. The great amount of effort Julian puts into preparing his courses is evident, given the active nature of his classroom, and the breadth and depth of the conversations that occur outside the classroom context between peers. Julian relates the “nuts and bolts” of particular theories and ideas studied in political science to students that leave them with a feeling of accomplishment and clarity after lectures; a skill that is unparalleled by most course instructors.
Professors like Julian are the lifeblood of postsecondary education. Unfortunately, I often get the feeling that postsecondary institutions are too quick to dispose of their greatest assets for ungrounded reasons. I encourage further investigation into the wrongful termination of Julian Ammirante.
Submitted by Sam Gindin
Visiting Packer Chair in Social Justice, York University
Why would any university administration that cares about its students let Julian go? Its hard to imagine anyone more passionate about teaching and more committed to students and - from what I’ve repeatedly heard from his former students - someone who has had such a lasting effect on the positive development of his students. If the rumours are true that Julian has been let go for taking critical positions or encouraging democratic practices, then the decision to block students from access to Julian is all the worse. The students ‘respectfully’ asking for some answers should get them and if the answers aren’t adequate demand some changes.
Submitted by Rodney Loeppky
It is hard to call this an act of ‘management’, if that term is to have any meaningful content. I meet former students of Julian Ammirante quite regularly, and every single one of them emphasizes the value and devotion of this teaching. The only thing that the Georgian administration is accomplishing with this move is to make itself laughable among post-secondary institutions in this country. Not only does Julian deserve to be re-instated, immediately, but there should be a public apology issued by the administration. From all accounts, this appears to be a gross breach of academic freedom, as well as Julian’s professional integrity. Since the latter is impeccable, Georgian would do well to revisit whatever poor decision making process generated this remarkable blunder.
Rodney Loeppky, Associate Professor, Dept. of Political Science, York University, Toronto
Submitted by Meagan Starr
Appalled on the attack of critical thinkers.
Although I did not personally have Julian as a professor, I did get a chance to meet him during a pub night with some fellow students recently. The termination that Julian has just experienced is something that brings back my discontent with the dismissal of professors that have the ability to change their student’s total frame of mind and to teach them to think outside of the box. I have to say that this attack on individuals such as Julian that think critically and try to escape the mainstream thinking that is constantly imposed on the public is a disgrace. People should not be terminated for speaking their opinions on matters that they hold close to their hearts. Canadians are communicated that they live in a democracy; however how can this be when we fire people for speaking their minds? It is interesting that once someone is challenging the ideologies of the college they are constantly facing horrible repercussions to their livelihood. We should stand up for professors that teach their students to think for themselves and in doing so they are able to liberate themselves. It is something that is to be cherished, not dismissed. Allow Julian to be reinstated on the behalf of students that have been affected by his passionate teachings and his dedication to his students. We need more human beings such as this particular individual so he can continue to shape the minds of people and produce a type of social change for the betterment of everyone.
Submitted by Bobby Fernandez:
I support and agree with everything that has already been said here. I feel angry, frustrated and definitely concerned with the future of academic institutions. There is no value in a university education system that does not fully support its recipients and their ability to think and learn critically. The professors become our guides, instructors and mentors to facilitating these innovative ideologies…without them we are merely buying expensive pieces of paper. The dismissal of Julian Ammirante is erroneous and unethical in a myriad of ways. A university that is part of a university partnership program already has sufficient obstacles with trying to legitimate itself to future students and future faculty members. These condemnations do not bode well for academic reputation. Julian is part of the solution…not the problem at LU@G.
Submitted by Dr. Marc D. Froese
An egregious example of heavy handed administration
Having worked with Julian in the Political Science Department at York and seeing his talent first-hand, it is hard to believe that his institution would be willing to lose him. I also know that Julian is a passionate advocate of social justice. Sadly, the freedom of expression that is expected at a university is often lacking in the college system. This is a prime opportunity for Georgian to step up to the plate and make the right decision. Much support Julian!
Marc D. Froese
Director, International Studies Program
and Assoc. Professor Canadian University College Alberta
Submitted by Alex Perry
100% behind Julian
If I learned anything during my time at Trent, it’s that bureaucrats who make six figures are the real problem at universities. They are the ones who cost the most, while simultaneously undermining institutions with their proclamations of the need for “fiscal austerity.” It boggles my mind that a place that should be known for free debate and thought can dismiss a professor for speaking his mind. Shame on the Laurentian administration. When will people realize that as a “nation,” Canada is well on it’s way to a theocracy in which market religion is dominant? It’s decisions like this that only hasten the triumph of admin types who’s only purpose is to insure profits.
Submitted by Elizabeth Nielsen
Once I found out that Julian would no longer be employed through Georgian I was outraged. I could not understand why I had been lied to for three years. I was told that attending Laurentian at Georgian I would be receiving a university degree. I believed this and was proud to attend Laurentian at Georgian as I’m sure the other 1,400 students were as well. What is so unbelievable is that the college is running UPC as it’s own college program. Georgian has no right to dismiss or hire professors to teach University programs. I applied to Laurentian University and demand that they take responsibility over the Laurentian students at Georgian in order to live up to their word that we are in fact university students.
I have been in every possible class that Julian has taught and not once have college administrators came into the class to deal with allegations on his teaching style or ask any of his students how they felt about the courses. Perhaps if they had they would realize how motivational Julian is to every student. Julian has been a constant inspiration and his spirit and personality have always kept us going through our degree. He truly brought a personal and professional atmosphere both in and our of the classroom that made us all appreciate how lucky we were to experience small class sizes. Laurentian at Georgian boasts about how their students will not be numbers, yet when a teacher attempts to prove that they try to stifle them. The atmosphere at Georgian is extremely hostile but Julian would constantly raise the standards and insist that we be taught an exceptional level of education.
I have always been a very shy person and it was not until my third year that I really came out into my own. Julian was always supportive even in my first year when I was only 17 and new to Canada. I still remember the day he saw me in the halls only 2 weeks into the first semester and he knew my name. He told me that I had potential and should keep going even if I doubt myself. I cannot express how great this made me feel and how welcome I felt at Laurentian at Georgian. In each of his courses he would always greet us with a smile and constantly give us encouragement to be better in our own ways. If it was not for Julian I would still be that introvert girl at the back of the class. Due to his positive support I was pushed to the front and encouraged to speak and share my views. I am truly honoured to come from the Julian school of thought and I know that the intensive education that I received from his courses alone will stay with me through graduate school and my life. His help was amazing. Even when I struggled he would ask me to talk with him and his office was always open. This is something that is rare in a university and this is what made the experience so much more than any of us could have expected.
I am amazed that Georgian is willing to let this professor go. His constant hard work and ability to motivate and bring his students together proves that he is a huge asset to this university. The college needs to stop meddling and let university professors teach what they spent their lives learning and working for. It is a huge disappointment for future students who will not be able to attend any courses by Julian that not only teach essential text-book facts but also teaches students how to learn, engage, and grow on their own. I hope Julian knows how grateful we all are for being able to learn from him.
Submitted by Steve Thoms
5 years later, little has changed…
Everyone who goes to college or university needs to find that one professor with whom he or she can develop a profound understanding with…that one person who seems to get you, who has done it, and who seems to be in possession of some weird brain that is like your own, but much more developed. When I was in university, that professor was Julian Ammirante. I happen to know he reads this blog, so I’m probably embarrassing him in this post, but he’ll just have to suck it up.
I had Julian in my 3rd year for a half-course in American Politics at Trent University. In a school where post-modernism and elite-theory were the dominant discourses, Julian took several approaches, making sure we not only understood the aforementioned theories, but also in competing theories. This seems like it would be a no-brainer for a humanities course, but such a treatment was a rarity at Trent University.
Julian is a major reason that my blog exists, continues, and that I make sure I don’t forget my political science academic roots. He was an intellectual inspiration for me at a time when I needed some intellectual guidance, and he’s been a reliable friend when things I need one.
I can’t comment on specific instances that lead to his dismissal, but I know full well the kind of small-minded provincialism that infests the halls of the humanities academy. Self-righteous, sophomoric thinkers and researchers (who don’t ever DO anything with what they think about) in the humanities have little patience for disagreement, and will (and have), at the drop of a hat, engage in an active campaign to discredit and embarrass dissenting opinion ( I’ll send you to my experience). It’s this kind of behavior that makes it hard for humanities people like myself to convince the rest of my science-minded colleagues that we’re an intellectual discipline worth pursuing.
It is, in short, the very worst aspect of a humanities education: parochialism.
It serves as a testament to not only Julian’s teaching ability, but to his ability to inspire his students to enact positive change, and to defend what they believe to be just.
Submitted by Sarah Morano
To Whom It May Concern- Which I Hope Is All of You,
Every student and faculty member at Laurentian@Georgian will suffer a great loss if Mr. Ammirante dismissal is followed through. Laurentian will, again, loose one of its greatest assets due to prejudicial treatment and, again, ignore the principle of academic freedom to the detriment of its student body.
As a former student of Mr. Ammirante, I have witnessed his passion in the classroom first-hand; it is nothing short of inspiring and contagious. The manner in which he engages his classroom is unmatched; the way he challenges his students while igniting a desire to learn is unrivalled. I am so privileged to have been a student in his classroom.
I am a graduate of the Sociology department, however a short semester in Mr. Ammirante’s Public Policy class sparked my desire to work within the realm of politics and I am now applying the knowledge I gained from his course to my new career in Municipal politics.
Julian’s dismissal is the tip of the iceberg in the unsavoury relationship between Laurentian University and Georgian College Administration and is evidence of Georgian’s disregard of Laurentian policy and its lack of respect for Laurentian students and faculty.
As a relatively new, satellite university campus, Laurentian must fight to keep its most talented professors in their classrooms. As more gifted educators are unreasonably lost, the appeal of Laurentian@Georgian, as well as enrollment, will suffer as students follow these passionate and knowledgeable teachers elsewhere.
Do the right thing, the only thing, and keep Mr. Ammirante, and his passion, at Laurentian.
Submitted by Stephanie Ross
I have known Julian Ammirante since the mid 1990s as a valued colleague, and I can say without hesitation he is one of the most passionate and dedicated teachers I have ever met. Julian inspires his students not only to think critically about the injustices in the world but also to take action to challenge those injustices. He educates students for engaged, democratic citizenship and not for becoming an unthinking cog in the machine. This person has changed students’ lives, particularly those from working class families who are systematically discouraged and marginalized by all of our educational institutions. He is exactly who we need in the post-secondary education system, as a bulwark against the degradation of education into a mere commodity — a credential to be bought and sold. He is an inspiration to his fellow teachers like me. The only evidence we need of this is on display in the countless letters of support from his students on this very website.
That is why his recent and completely unjustified dismissal from Georgian College rankles so much. Administrators who pretend to care about the quality of education and of the student experience demonstrate how superficial their commitment is by firing such an individual, fostering only more cynicism amongst both faculty and students. If Julian’s treatment is a harbinger of what is to come as universities pursue more ‘partnerships’ with institutions like Georgian College, I for one shall oppose them until and unless the principles of academic freedom and genuine quality of education are respected and guaranteed. A democratic society can tolerate no less. I add my voice to those demanding Julian’s reinstatement.
Assistant Professor of Work and Labour Studies, York University
Submitted by Daniel Ekman
What I learned from the man
Hello. My name is Daniel Ekman and I was never fortunate enough to have Julian as a student during my time at Trent University. However, I was fortunate enough to meet him and talk to him as a friend and to gain vast amounts of knowledge from him. I had many sit down conversations with him and the way in which he looked at sports within the broader socio-political scope really motivated me to keep looking for the deeper story beneath the spectacle. It also motivated me during my research on sports by showing me how important that work was and how sports were tied into broader political issues.
However, Julian also would talk about a wide variety of political issues and I can honestly say that he changed my views on issues in a positive way. He caused me to look at many issues with more depth than I had before and gave me a new perspective on many issues that I had not necessarily been exposed to. It motivated me to do my own research and stay active in looking at what was going on in the world around me.
Not only was Julian a person who could truly motivate me to keep digging deeper into issues, but people sometimes overlook how caring he was. Keep in mind, everything I learned from him and all of the conversations I had with him were on his own time. He gained no money or any prestige from what he did. When he would post stories for his friends to read and then take the time to read our comments and respond to them, he didn’t do it to gain about any ego boost or status. He did it because he truly cared about education and truly cared about the issues he talked about. He also truly cared about the intellectual growth of those around him. This includes undergraduate students like me who weren’t even in his classes. With me, he even read over some of my papers I did, listened to my ideas during my conversations, and truly engage with my ideas. He valued what I had to say and truly cared about my growth as a person. That is an example of true respect, and it is something that doesn’t happen with many people. I doubt that I am alone in expressing this.
In short, he should be reinstated because if he could have that kind of impact on the life of someone who wasn’t even his student, I could only imagine the impact that he had on the life of those who were fortunate enough to be his students. To take the opportunity away from others to learn from him is criminal.
Submitted by Polina Emelianova
Prof. Ammirante is an incredible professor and scholar, his permanent dismissal would be a grave loss to the students. This dismissal has no solid cause/reason and should be reversed immediately!
Submitted by Stefan Kipfer
Reading all the wonderful, yes, enthusiastic support Julian Ammirante has received from his students, I am all the more appalled at the decision of Georgian College to dismiss him. Given the circumstances of this decision, one has no choice but to wonder if Mr. Ammirante was let go simply for adhering to what I thought was the credo of academic teaching: encouraging his students to become active and engaged citizens. I would like to urge Georgian College and Laurentian University to respect labour laws and the spirit of university education by re-instating this wonderful teacher: Julian Ammirante.
Visiting Professeur, Sciences Po, Paris
Associate Professor, York University, Toronto
Submitted by Chelsea Glanville
I recently got the pleasure of meeting Julian at a pub night with various students and professors from a multiple of disciplines. From this short meeting and from reading the posts written by his students & colleagues, it is evident that Julian is a passionate professor who genuinely cares about politics & the people in his life.
His recent involvement surrounding the fight for a Laurentian Student Union at Georgian College is just an example of this passion. Through support and encouragement, Julian has influenced his students to step up and fight for their rights—something that Georgian College has suppressed since this partnership began.
Now leaving to go to Sudbury, I feel as though I have missed something great, as I have never gotten the chance to take a class with Julian. I feel extreme sadness and anger when I think of all the future students who also might not be able to get the chance to experience Julian’s outstanding passion, dedication, support, encouragement, and fiery for change elicited through his education.
I am shocked to hear that this has happened again—dismissing valuable professors from teaching subjects in ways that have touched people’s hearts and engaged their minds. These dismissals are a direct reflection of the institutions… if university education does not include passion, support, encouragement, critical thinking, and social change, then what does it entail? I strongly advise the immediate reinstatement of professor Julian Ammirante, as he clearly is a gem in the world of academia & without his passion for the world and enthusiasm for change, there is a huge void left at Laurentian@Georgian without him.
The quest for academic freedom ceases to live on with the series of wrongful dismissals at Laurentian@Georgian. Rather than punishing professors for encouraging their students to think for themselves rather than through dominant ideologies and discourses, this should be thoroughly embraced by an institution that fosters university culture.
Submitted by Robin Whitehead
I had the great privilege of having Julian as a professor at Trent University. Julian was a fantastic teacher who brought energy to classroom discussions. He encouraged his students and challenged everyone to think critically about the materials. I am currently completing my final semester of law school and I consider Julian to have been one of the best professors I had throughout my post-secondary education.
I strongly support reinstating Julian.
Submitted by Tyler Roach
Few and Far Between
I had the oppertunity to meet Julian in my second year of university at Trent. It became apparent quickly that Julian did not fit in with the other profs. He had this strange quirk about him. He appeared to care about his students. And not in the sense that he wanted to be their friends but instead he showed his caring by challenging them to be better students, to dig deeper and made me feel like I should not settle for simplistic understandings of political theory and ideas. He makes undergraduates feel as though they are intelligent enough to be an active part of the academic discussion. At Trent he worked outside of the class hours to help create study groups and forums for informal political discussion. Julian tries to make the university not just a school but a community of people interested in academics. Over the years I have had the pleasure of keeping in touch with Julian and he continues to be a source of mentoring for me in my masters program three years later. This is a man that cares about education and if a student puts in effort they will receiving that effort back ten times from Julian. I think this school has made a big mistake. I hope they will reconsider when they see how many lives Julian has touched in such a positive way. I wish I could have written something more poetic and grammatically correct but I think there is more than enough on this webpage to show what kind of influence this man has had on the life of so many. Thanks Julian.
Submitted by Geoff Kennedy
As a former colleague of Julian’s, I can say with no exaggeration that Julian is the most passionate and committed teacher I have known. On a regular basis, students literally lined up outside of Julian’s office to continue the lesson. His breadth of knowledge and his commitment to engaging with his students are both outstanding and highly commendable. In a university system that increasingly privileges research over teaching and relies more and more on over-worked contract faculty who have little opportunity to effectively master their subject areas, teaching is being viewed more as a burden to be shirked than the fulfilling vocation it was meant to be. Not so with Julian. And it is because of this commitment that he has to teaching as a vocation that makes his termination a travesty. I support an investigation into this matter and fully support Julian’s reinstatement.
Dr. Geoff Kennedy, School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Submitted by Jennifer Thompson:
In the summer semester of 2009, I was invited to go out for Vietnamese cuisine with Julian and a few of his students. I wasn’t sure what to expect that afternoon, but I was introduced to a realm which I had not ventured into before. Firstly, I had never had pho, and secondly, almost immediately our small table became engaged in lively, intellectual, political debate. It was evident from the start that Julian was unlike most other professors: he was passionate in his speech, and challenged his students on their positions. Well out of my comfort zone, I sat quietly and listened. What struck me was how his students looked to him for support, how eloquently they would express themselves, and their range in scope on particular topics (local vs. provincial vs. national). They had taken the world of politics that I had known, one of parties, floor crossing, and a focus on structure, and had completely dismantled it. Their discussion was more on the social implications of politics, including media. As a history student, the study of political science had been one to follow the ‘Great Man’ theory, with a focus on the political action taken, and not so much the implications of such actions. As they chatted, discussion turned to the student group, Students Together Encouraging Politics (STEP). Intrigued, I kept an ear out on campus to hear of their meetings and activities.
Having previously attended Wilfrid Laurier University, one thing I noticed upon transfer to Laurentian at Georgian was the lack of student culture. The interaction between students was what I missed most about Laurier, having attended rallies and Goldenhawk football games. STEP, I felt, was one indication that the students of LU@G were not mindless zombies whose sole purpose was to use LU@G as a building where post-secondary education would take place. This was also why I was thrilled to hear of the creation of the Laurentian Student Union (LSU).
While selecting courses for Winter 2010, I noticed that Julian would be teaching a course on Municipal Politics. My mind flashed back to lunch in the summer, and I realized that this could be my first step in becoming more involved. It would be difficult, yes, but I knew that Julian would be more than willing to assist, and continue taking those steps beyond being “just a professor”. He recognized me almost right away on that first day of classes, and as we went over the syllabus I was a little overwhelmed. Julian warned us that this was not a class where we would be ‘rewarded’ with high marks, and that if we were to get those marks we were used to, we would have to work hard. I enjoyed Julian’s class, and although I was terrified about writing the final exam, it occurred to me as I scribbled away that although I might not have the best marks in that class, I had learned. It dawned on me that courses were not there so that we would collect credits, as we had been instructed, but that it was for the purpose of learning, and the application of what we had learned in our day-to-day lives.
I state again, I would be thrilled with whatever mark I got in Julian’s class, and would take his classes again. His passion for learning, as well as the students in his classes, had me hooked from the very beginning. Julian could easily go home each day and not think again about the atmosphere his students are subjected to in the LU@G programs, but he pushes them forward, striving for an active campus community. He excites, impassions, and pushes his students, and is much more than “just a professor”.
Thank you, Julian.
Assistant Professor, Laurentian University (Sudbury), Sociology and Labour Studies
I don’t know Julian personally, but I am familiar with his CV and the facts of the case. In my view, this is yet another example of injustice at Georgian University Partnership as a result of a clash of cultures.
Unfortunately, Julian’s story has become a familiar one in the context of the Laurentian@Georgian experience: excellent, dedicated and outspoken academics who act as though they truly have the academic freedom enjoyed by the rest of us (university faculty and students) are dismissed with insufficient cause.
This simply would not be tolerated in most Canadian universities.
The privileges of academic freedom as enjoyed by university faculty exist for precisely the reasons that Julian was dismissed: that is, the expression of positions that run counter to conventional or accepted common-sense.
Article 6 of the 2005-2009 OPSEU College Faculty collective agreement lists the following as “management’s rights” or “exclusive” management functions:
“(ii) hire, discharge, transfer, classify, assign, appoint, promote,
demote, lay off, recall and suspend or otherwise discipline
employees subject to the right to lodge a grievance in the
manner and to the extent provided in this Agreement;
(iii) manage the College and, without restricting the generality
of the foregoing, the right to plan, direct and control operations,
facilities, programs, courses, systems and procedures, direct its
personnel, determine complement, organization, methods and
the number, location and classification of personnel required
from time to time, […] services to be performed, the scheduling of
assignments and work […].”
Note that there is no mention of academic freedom in this collective agreement.
Working conditions at college campuses in Ontario are governed by this document, and this can place colleges in the position of ‘unwilling hosts’ of those university programs that provide a critical education, and those faculty who use critical forms of pedagogy.
If partnerships such as those between Laurentian University and Georgian College are going to survive, colleges must make an effort to come to an understanding of academic freedom. Colleges have to agree that they cannot interfere with the freedom to teach critically, to engage students beyond the classroom walls, and to be free actors who live and breathe their disciplinary craft or science at all times, in all venues.
Julian can count on my solidarity.
Submitted by Paul Gray
For a mentor and friend…
I am a political science student entering his PhD at York University. Since I began attending university, my days have been permeated by a feeling of grand contentment, and every year has been better than the last. I owe much of this happiness to my former mentor and eternal friend, Julian Ammirante, who has given me much academic and personal guidance throughout the years. Depriving students of this teacher is a disservice to them and the community in general. I shudder to think where I would be today without people like him.
Paul Gray —————————————————————————————
Submitted by Perry Sutton
As a former student of Julian’s at Trent University, I was shocked and dismayed at his impetuous dismissal at Laurentian. Julian was only my instructor for one half semester, but his moral and intellectual courage, collegial attitude toward students and belief that an academic should do more than insularly pontificate from a detached rostrum and actually engage based on their thought, lay in stark contrast to others in the politics department at the time and continues to have an impact on me to this day. Although, I’ve had far more exposure and interplay with other professors since I have continued into further studies at Trent, Julian continues to be the one who has left the largest imprint on me going forward. I believe that Laurentian is doing itself and its students a disservice by depriving the institution of such a formidable and passionate voice.
Submitted by Dr. Tuna Baskoy
Re-instate Julian Ammirante
Dear Laurentian University Faculty Association Members,
I am very sad to learn that Julian Ammirante lost his teaching post after a minor incident at Georgian College. What I read on this website indicates that Ammirante’s act did not warrant such a reaction from the administration at Georgian College.
I have known Julian for more than 12 years as an academic as well as a human being. Julian is the one who respects and protects students all the time. His professional ethnic and humble personality are the two factors that definitely hinder Julian from mistreating any student. I strongly believe that his dismissal from his teaching post was an accident. Therefore the incident requires the Laurentian University Faculty Association’s investigation immediately. Should you require further info about Julian Ammirante, please feel free to contact me.
Tuna Baskoy, PhD
Politics and Public Administration
JOR 727, RYERSON UNIVERSITY
350 Victoria Street, Toronto,
Ontario, CANADA, M5B 2K3
Phone#: +1(416)979-5000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +1(416)979-5000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, 2702
Fax# : +1(416)979-5289 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +1(416)979-5289 end_of_the_skype_highlighting