THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 6 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 9
What’s Kafkaesque is when you enter a surreal world in which all your
control patterns, all your plans, the whole way in which you have
configured your own behavior, begins to fall to pieces, when you find yourself
against a force that does not lend itself to the way you perceive the
world. You don’t give up, you don’t lie down and die. What you do is
struggle against this with all of your equipment, with whatever you have.
But of course you don’t stand a chance. That’s Kafkaesque.
—Frederick R. Karl1
Lindsay Shepherd is a brave woman. She keenly understands the
role of a university and has an intuitive knowledge of due
process and procedural fairness. But equipped with only bravery
and knowledge she did not stand a chance. A graduate student at
Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Ms. Shepherd found herself on the
wrong side of a complaint made against her under the university’s “Gendered
and Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures” policy. Hauled into a
meeting with two faculty members accompanied by the manager of Gendered
Violence Prevention and Support, Ms. Shepherd held her own.
Although reduced to tears, she stood up not to her accusers (for they were
never revealed to her) but to the firing squad she appeared before: the people
convinced of her guilt before they asked her a single question. Luckily
for Ms. Shepherd, that day her equipment included something her inquisitors
had overlooked: a surreptitious recording device.