The last extracts that I present are the responses to the question which Layton's fellow students formulated and tabulated in the class after Layton made his initial accusation in March 1993. The question put to fellow students in that class and in other classes was as follows: 'Do you think that Professor Robert O'Driscoll was guilty of 'anti-Semitism' in any of the lectures or seminars that you attended during the academic year 1992-3?' 47 replied in the negative; nobody replied in the affirmative; there were two abstentions:
No! I for one feel that the integrity of the teachers at this University as teachers is definitely going to be compromised if accusations such as this continue. They are going to make all the professors afraid of everything they say.
At no time have I felt that Robert O'Driscoll has made attacks on any group. In addition, I would like to add that I have read most of this book, The New World Order, and I feel that any charges are also unfounded. O'Driscoll is merely a scholar who documents information as he discovers-it. I have also spoken to the professor outside of class and he has never inquired or cared about my religious orientation.
By far, Professor O'Driscoll has been the most colourful, insightful, thought-provoking instructor whom I have ever had the pleasure of learning from. I consider myself very sensitive to issues of gender, and race, and I have never heard Professor O'Driscoll voice, or even hint at anything which would suggest he is guilty of anti-Semitism.
I have had a girlfriend for a full year, who is Jewish, celebrating every Jewish holiday, and sharing in her culture - you better believe I would be sensitive to it! This charge is absurd and not grounded in reality.
Professor O'Driscoll is a mover and a shaker. He brings up thought-provoking issues, and employs satire and subtle ironies which may escape comprehension by those who are hypersensitive, or easily rattled.
Any intelligent, stable, and reasonable intellect, having open ears, and an open mind, will dismiss this charge.
I think the student in question [Mr. David Layton] is very ill-informed. I am a student of anti-Semitism in the Religious Studies Department of the University of Toronto and in no way is Professor O'Driscoll guilty of this charge in any classes I have attended, nor in any discussions I have had with him. Said student - in my contact with him - has a very large ego, and dislikes not getting his way, or [having to suffer the humiliations of having] his views proven wrong.
Not once during the entire academic year did Professor O'Driscoll make reference to the Jewish People or their concerns. This charge seems needless and sets a possibly dangerous precedent for academia.
Professor O'Driscoll's personal beliefs and writings outside this class have had no relevance and should have no relevance in this class.
I think that these allegations toward Professor O'Driscoll are absurd! He is one of the best professors I ever had.He is simply one of the most interesting professors I've ever had the pleasure to have been taught by. Never has R. O'Driscoll ever expressed anything even resembling an 'antisemitic' remark.
Absolutely not at all! This allegation could hardly be more ill-founded. Professor O'Driscoll has always demonstrated an open mind to all peoples - regardless of race, gender, nationality, etc. in the two years of classes which I have taken with him.
Professor O'Driscoll has never to my knowledge, displayed, spoken, indicated, implied, discussed, coerced, etc.Professor O'Driscoll's lectures have been remarkable open and accepting of many points of view. He has always been ready to give a fair hearing to anyone's ideas, or, indeed, anyone's criticisms.
A charge of 'anti-Semitism' carries a great deal of fear with it, and should certainly be treated seriously, but I hope the University will not use Professor O'Driscoll as a scapegoat simply to avoid the charges altogether.
A ridiculous accusation!
Definitely not! In no way has he made any antisemitic comments in any lecture. In fact he is most careful of being nonjudgmental and non-biased and asks that his students be that way as well, in any references to religion - any religion.
I have only missed 3 or 4 of Professor O'Driscoll's lectures this year and at none of the lectures that I did attend was there, in either implicit or explicit form, antisemitic expression. I find these accusations somewhat of an assault on academic scholarship.
I personally cannot recall any comments at all referring to anti-Jewish, Catholic, or any other religion, culture, creed, etc. It is simply an English class! Although religion is often a popular theme in many English texts, nothing negative was ever spoken of. In fact, the class and the professor generate positive energy to the lectures and books studied.
I am both Russian and Jewish. I did not - ever - find the classes offensive to myself or any other racial group.
One of the two who abstained made the following comment:
I do not quite understand the need for this form. Professor O'Driscoll's views on anything and everything are only his views. I would like to emphasize that he has kept ALL of these views out of the classroom. I do not remember any mention of Jews or any semitic issues at all.
There are as well as the comments cited above some 300 assessments of my teaching and professional conduct in the files of the English Department, but despite repeated requests by both Mr. Roach (my lawyer) and myself we haven't been able to secure access to them for the preparation of this Response, even though my professional rights entitle me to see them. I do have copies of some of them in my office, but of course I am barred from my office. I did, though, examine them as they were completed each year, and I invariably scored, as I mentioned above, somewhere between 6.0 and 6.3, or 86% to 90%. The comments at the end of the assessments were positive 95% of the time - there are always one or two whom it is difficult to please at all.