To be rid of Wells, a new dean of Ed puts him on leave and demotes him. So he quits
Any way you look at it, the last couple of years have notturned out well for Alberta’s Grand Guru of the Gaiety, Dr. Kristopher Wells. Go back a couple of years, and he was sitting on top of a world he had helped to manufacture. His opinions were sought by gay publishers world wide. To criticize or make jokes about “perverts,” as had the bulk of humanity back to the classical Greeks, was now an indictable offence. You could go to jail for it. It was almost as unforgivable as teaching your children that the Bible contained Truth. All the Truthfully Informed knew there was no such a thing as Truth.
Cross dressing was, of course, admired, and if the day ahead looked tedious to you as a man, you would soon be able to transgender yourself and spend the day as a woman. And you wouldn’t need to worry about finding a washroom, for there will be several kinds of optional washrooms in most service stations.
All these and a thousand more “advances” could be attributed to the tireless efforts of people like Dr. Wells and his partner, Dr. André Grace. But Wells is rather special. He deftly provides an intellectual veneer for the activities of the Gaiety that are in fact purely carnal, bawdy, and long prone to evoke nausea in some people, and endless jokes in others.
Even so, the Gaiety has prevailed. Almost all politicians and even journalists tremble before it. Who would dare challenge such a powerful figure as Dr. Wells, author, public speaker, secure in his role of associate professor in the Education faculty of the University of Alberta and director with his partner Dr Grace of the university’s much respected Institute for Sexual Minorities Studies and Support?
But all that was then. Things have changed rather woefully for Dr. Wells. In fact his world seems to be crashing around him. It all began with the website he had developed for use by the lately established sex clubs in the public schools, the pet project of the Minister of Education David Eggen. The minister himself had conferred upon Dr. Wells the production of a website that would help children “accept” the phenomenon of sexual disparities. Children must early on learn that sexual inclinations could be “fluid.” Some men might one day like making love to women, on another day to men. Some women might prefer other women, sometimes men. Indeed, some people are drawn to dogs, sheep and other animals. Bestiality too, that is, must command acceptance and respect. Above all, one’s mind must be “open,” even if otherwise empty.
To convey all these sexual proclivities to children down to the age of seven would require a certain discretion, of course. One must not move forward too swiftly. Surely, however, a man like Dr. Wells would be fully aware of this necessity. He was, after all, an associate professor at the U of A.. Awed by his seemingly boundless range of published articles, Minister Eggen appears to have given Dr. Wells a free hand in deciding what kind of website content would be acceptable for children K to 12. The website would carry with it, of course, the implicit endorsement of both the university and the Department of Education. .
Bad decision. When the first programming came out, it looked a lot like the average porn site. One of the lead items gave detailed instructions to the uninitiated on how give oral sex–“blow jobs” in the language of the article. The minister, one could surmise, must have taken one horrified look at this exhibition and found himself in a dilemma. If he left the site in place, he would have to defend its contents, a very steep challenge. If he took it down, that would amount to a plea of guilty. After all, there were still a few backward people around the campus — bigots, hateful, almost certainly Christian, hopelessly outdated, who were something less than enthralled by the university’s newly won reputation as the purveyor of blow job techniques to seven-year-olds. What to do?
The minister wound up doing both–removing things from the site over time, item by item.
But a further question remained. What was to happen to Associate Professors Wells and Grace who created the site to begin with? Here too the same dilemma obtained. If Eggen fired them as consultants, he would be admitting he’d made a massive error in judgment. If he didn’t, the site might keep right on running similarly ghastly material, which the minister would have to somehow keep on defending. Again, he did both. He kept Wells, but no doubt on a much shorter leash.
Beyond all this, Wells had also helped develop another major project, the so-titled “Camp fYrfly?” It provided summer fun, games, treks, and discussion opportunities for sexual minority youngsters. It operated in two Alberta locales, one near Edmonton, the other near Calgary, both under the direction of the university’s education faculty. But by last year, the Edmonton camp became so torn by conflicts within the staff that it had to be closed down at mid-term with the surviving students moved to the Calgary camp. The university offered no explanation for the Edmonton controversy. Mention was made of “racism” and “misogyny” as the source of the trouble, but without any detail,
However, in the spring of 2017, there came another announcement that began gravely colouring the careers of Doctors Wells and Grace. Dr. Jennifer Tupper, education dean at the University of Regina, was appointed to the same job at the U of A. She has an impressive record in the bureaucracies of education. Any views she might have on “blow job” instruction and the like were not mentioned in the announcement of her appointment, though they now fell squarely within her jurisdiction.
She acted as fast as discretion would allow. It was quietly announced, one year to the day after she took office, that Doctors Wells and Grace had been placed on leave of absence from the U of A to do unspecified “research.” But what about their associate professorships? What about the sexual minorities institute? Who would run it? Two months later Dr. Tupper announced the appointment of a new executive director for the institute. As for the existing two “executive directors,” their continuing roles were spelled out unmercifully by Dean Tupper, namely that they aren’t going to have one..
“The institute is currently undergoing some restructuring.” she said, “which will see a new executive director hired in July 2018, and the current executive directors, Wells and Grace, move into research roles. The two current executive directors would be on committees, but would have much less control in their new roles.”
Two words, “Please Leave,” are the implicit message of her announcement, and Dr. Wells soon obliged. He crossed the North Saskatchewan River to Grant MacEwan University where he was triumphantly proclaimed as a member of their faculty for “child and youth care.” What exactly he would do there has not yet been decided. The MacEwan announcement took about three solid pages of type to list his academic accomplishments and credentials. Significantly, however, there was not a single mention of what he had accomplished at the U of A or of the 14 years he spent on the U of A summer camp program. Hardly surprising, his work on the school sex-ed website was also ignored
Meanwhile, where does Education Minister Eggen stand with this website? Is the Wells-Grace duet still among the “consultants?” Or has he too, like the U of A, abandoned their ship? Serving as the Grand Guru of the Gaiety is very wearing, Dr. Wells has no doubt discovered, especially in an unappreciative place like Alberta. Maybe he should actually do a little research, take a break, transgender himself for a week or so, clear his masculine mind so he can figure out how to get rid of Dean Tupper, much as she got rid of him. So keep tuned. I doubt that this story is over.
Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century, a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has aslo authored three little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters, The Revolution Nobody Covered and most recently The Time is Now. You can order copies here.