CONTENT WARNING: This story contains profane, disturbing, sexual language.
Three UNBC students have come forward to the Citizen with disturbing allegations about Stuart Parker, their former professor.
On Thursday, Parker announced his intention to run for School District 57 board trustee in the Jan. 15, byelection. The event prompted a trans rights protest downtown because of the presence of outspoken anti-trans activist Chris Elston.
The students, who the Citizen is not naming, allege that during a third-year history class conducted on Zoom in September 2020, Parker appeared to be intoxicated while teaching the course. Multiple videos submitted to the Citizen show Parker speaking about sexually abusing children.
“It’s not really a crime,” Parker says in one of the videos. “Like, nobody ever gets in trouble for f--king a kid they know. People only get in trouble for f--king kids they don’t know.”
Parker continues to say the only reason people go to jail for sexually abusing children is because they are having sex with a child that was somebody else’s to abuse.
In a second video, Parker is seen referring to the female students in his class as "really hot white girls."
The students say that several students brought the videos to Parker’s superiors at UNBC, and he was promptly removed from teaching the class.
"I was facing extraordinary pressure in my domestic, professional and political lives," Parker said in a phone interview Thursday night. "As a person that suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, I experienced an episode of triggering (and) I don't recall most of what happened during the day in question. Following that day, I went to Vancouver to receive additional help with my PTSD and the way it had flared up."
As for whether he still feels he is qualified to be a school district trustee, Parker said it would be terrible if people were disqualified from holding public office for having a bad day or having a stress disorder.
"I'm not Rob Ford. There's no crack in the video," he said. "If we keep focusing on electing people who have never done anything embarrassing, I think we're going to continue to beat creativity out of our political processes and legislative bodies."
Parker resigned as leader of the B.C. Ecosocialist Party in September 2020 after several social media comments he made were denounced as transphobic resulting in public calls for his resignation, The Tyee reported.
A spokesperson for UNBC could not comment on the video, other than to say Parker no longer works at UNBC.
As of Friday morning, Elections BC had not listed Parker as an official candidate in the byelection. Audrey McKinnon of Prince George and Racheal Weber of Mackenzie were the only two candidates named on the list published by Elections BC.
In an interview on Friday morning, School District 57 chairperson Sharel Warrington said all trustees are expected to uphold the board's code of conduct and values. The duty of trustees is to respect and work on behalf of all students in the district, "those are the values we hold," she said.
"The video was disgusting," Warrington added.
The deadline for candidate nominations is Dec. 10.
The byelection, taking place on Jan. 15, is to fill the seats left open by the resignations of former board chairperson Trent Derrick and vice-chairperson Shuirose Valimohamed in September.
MINSTER CALLS FOR PARKER TO WITHDRAW FROM BYELECTION
In a statement issued on Friday, B.C. Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside called on Parker to withdraw from the byelection.
“The comments in this video are vile, deeply disturbing and harmful to children. They have no place in our society, let alone our education system,” Whiteside said in the statement. “I further condemn the anti-2SLGBTQ+ comments made at Mr. Parker’s campaign launch yesterday. The people and families of Prince George deserve elected representatives who stand for safe, inclusive learning environments – not those who promote dangerous views that jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of children.”
B.C. schools should be a safe place for all children, staff and families, and all members of the education system – including trustees – are expected to uphold that standard.
“Mr. Parker must take responsibility for his harmful speech, apologize unequivocally and immediately withdraw from this byelection,” Whiteside said.