May 28, 2020

9° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?


Advertise With Us

'Ashamed to be your alumnus'

Grad returns music degree to University of Manitoba in protest of its handling of sexual harassment allegations against ex-prof

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2017 (952 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

<p>City musician Daniel Jordan has returned his bachelor of music degree to the U of M: ‘Their endorsement now has no value to me.’</p>


City musician Daniel Jordan has returned his bachelor of music degree to the U of M: ‘Their endorsement now has no value to me.’

Like every post-secondary graduate, Daniel Jordan worked hard for several years to get his degree at the University of Manitoba.

However, Jordan — a member of the Winnipeg folk trio Red Moon Road — has mailed back his bachelor of music degree to protest against the university’s handling of sexual harassment allegations against former jazz professor Steve Kirby.

"The recommendation of an institution and people like you, who refuse to speak up and act against sexual harassment, is of no use or value to me," Jordan said in a posting on his Facebook site Thursday, shortly after he dropped his diploma in a mailbox along with letters to U of M president David Barnard, school of music dean Edmund Dawe and associate music dean Karen Jensen.

"I truly hope that one day you find the courage to take a stand against sexual harassment and systemic abuse of power. Until then, I remain ashamed to be your alumnus, devoid of respect for you or your institution."

<p>Former U of M prof Steve Kirby</p></p>


Former U of M prof Steve Kirby

As first reported last month by the Winnipeg Free Press, the 61-year-old Kirby quietly retired from his 14-year career at the Winnipeg school in June. He left after an investigation by the U of M determined allegations against him of unwanted touching, hugging and kissing had merit.

Kirby was hired later in the summer by the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. However, after the Free Press contacted its officials, the American institution announced it had placed Kirby on leave, pending a review and assessment.

A spokesperson for Berklee declined comment Thursday.

Jordan, a 2012 grad who was preparing to fly to Alberta for a band gig, said turning in his diploma was not a decision he took lightly, but one he had thought about since the allegations against Kirby became public.

"I would love to have had it on the wall someday, but their endorsement now has no value to me," he said in an interview. "I would accept it back if they made an actual apology and it was accepted by the students. But so far, they haven’t acknowledged what happened. They said he retired, and now he has another job.

"They’re still saying their policies work — and they clearly do not work."

Jordan said he has no trouble believing the women who came forward with allegations about Kirby.

"I was often frightened to come to school because I was repeatedly bullied by Steve," he said. "He insulted, swore at and threatened me. He publicly mocked and humiliated me."

Jordan said Kirby once took "the sticks out of my hand, in full view of a room full of people, as I was playing, to impersonate and mock my playing." He said the former professor then threatened him.

"But this isn’t about me — it’s about what happened to so many of my fellow female colleagues," Jordan said. "It is silence that allows these really tired cliches to continue."

U of M spokesman John Danakas said in an emailed statement: "The university respects this former student’s thoughts and feelings."

"All concerns brought forward are taken seriously. The kinds of conduct described are unacceptable in any environment, and are not consistent with the values of the University of Manitoba," Danakas said. "The university community is committed to working together to ensure a safe and respectful work and learning environment. These are important matters that require collaboration among a wide variety of individuals and groups.

"The university welcomes input from all who care deeply about these issues."

Danakas also said the school respects people who approach it with concerns about its respectful work and learning policy.

"Their confidentiality, including the nature of discussions between them and the university, is also respected," he said. "Certainly, part of the process is to work with those who bring forward their concerns and do what is possible to ensure their ongoing safety and to alleviate any distress."

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

Read full biography


Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.


Updated on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 8:23 PM CDT: updates photo

8:43 PM: Adds declined comment line

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us