Concordia's president responds to sexual misconduct allegations at English department

Concordia University's president says he's disturbed by what he read in a blog post that makes sexual misconduct allegations against members of the English department.

Alan Shepard calls the allegations by blogger Mike Spry serious.

"I am disturbed by what I read in the blog post," Shepard writes in a statement issued on Monday. "These allegations are serious, and will be treated seriously.

"As virtually every news cycle now reminds us, our society is making a fundamental shift in its response to such allegations and behaviours. This shift is long overdue and critically important to all of us.

Shepard says the social media post makes specific allegations as well as general allegations of an abusive climate in the department's creative writing program. He also suggests the university's response to such allegations is a "work in progress".

Spry's blog post, also dated Monday, described the kind of "toxic masculinity" that he noticed in the Canadian literary scene, and particularly at Concordia's English department, since he returned to Montreal last summer after some time away.

"In my fourteen-year association with Concordia and CanLit I have been witness to and made aware of innumerable instances of unwanted affection, groping, inappropriate remarks, and propositions," the blog post reads. "When rejected by women, men in positions of power would engage in whisper campaigns denigrating and degrading those who had rejected them. I sat with these men, called them friends, allowed their actions through my inaction."