By Jason Herring, March 8 2017 —
This story will be updated as more information is available.
According to members of the University of Calgary Wildrose on Campus student club, an email sent to club members on March 6 saying that “feminism is cancer” was composed by the club’s communication director, Robert McDavid. Former vice-president external Keean Bexte and former vice-president membership Don MacLeod said McDavid, a first-year student, was fired from the position after the incident.
McDavid had a Facebook account, with all visible posts dated March 7. The account identified McDavid as a University of Calgary Schulich School of Engineering student, featured a profile picture of Pepe the Frog and had a single status reading “Going on lockdown. SJWs are prowling.” McDavid’s account was taken down early March 8 after being reported to Facebook. The site said they removed the profile after finding it violated their Community Standards.
But after investigating the circumstances surrounding the WROC controversy, one question still remains unanswered — who is Robert McDavid?
The U of C registrar’s office searched for McDavid’s name in their database of active students. After the search did not reveal any student by that name, the office said there were three possibilities — that the student is registered at the U of C under a different name, that the student is in continuing education or that the person is not a U of C student.
When asked, the Wildrose Party confirmed that no one named Robert McDavid is a member of the party. The WROC constitution reads: “Members of the club shall be considered not to be in good standing with the club, should […] they be considered not in good standing as members of the [provincial Wildrose] party.”
Both listings for the McDavid surname in the Calgary Yellow Pages were unreachable. There are no McDavid listings in Grande Prairie, which is McDavid’s hometown according to his short-lived Facebook profile.
The Gauntlet reached out to members and past-members of the WROC to see if anyone knew McDavid. Former WROC president Jenn Galandy said she’d “asked people [herself], and no one seems to know him.”
Anika Burmeister, the WROC’s communications director until she quit due to the “incredibly misogynistic” atmosphere in September 2016, said she never met her successor and had never heard McDavid’s name until March 7.
“As far my understanding was, I didn’t even realize that there was a successor,” Burmeister said. “I know that the individual who was fired [due to the email] was Robert McDavid, but as far as I knew I haven’t been replaced and my position was being filled by Keean [Bexte].”
MacLeod declined to comment, saying his Facebook status speaks for itself.
“The words used were offensive and unacceptable,” the post reads.
When asked about McDavid, MacLeod said, “he exists. I can guarantee he exists.”
Bexte cited death threats against McDavid as his reason for not wanting to disclose any information about him. Bexte says the threats are currently being investigated by the Calgary Police Services.
When asked on March 9 whether any report of a death threat against Robert McDavid had been filed, the CPS said they were not able to find any such report in their system.
“That’s not to say that they couldn’t show up on our system at a later time depending on when and how they were made,” a CPS media representative said. “But at this time, I wasn’t able to confirm that a similar report has been filed.”
In a public Facebook post late on March 8, MacLeod clarified that he “cannot and will not guarantee that Robert McDavid exists.” He says that in the time since asked about McDavid by the Gauntlet, he reviewed club documents and found he did not know of any member of the club named Robert McDavid. He says he was mistaking McDavid for a member of the University of Calgary Conservatives club.
“Earlier this year, the U of C Conservatives appointed a new vice-president membership, who suggested a first-year friend of his join him on the exec,” MacLeod said. “It was this individual I was thinking of when [the Gauntlet] approached me in the line at Tim Hortons and asked about McDavid.”
MacLeod confirmed the first-year U of C Conservatives member is not McDavid.
However, MacLeod mentioned McDavid by name in a since-deleted Facebook comment the day before, on March 7.
In the comment MacLeod identified Robert McDavid as the fired WROC communications director. The Facebook post it was on is still online and is dated to March 7 around 2:45 p.m.
When asked about the comment, MacLeod said he deleted it when he realized it was inaccurate.
“I was told by the exec that the email had been sent by a first-year named Robert McDavid. That is why I posted his name,” MacLeod said. “I deleted the comment when I realized my information was incorrect.”
MacLeod said he couldn’t remember the name of the WROC executive member who told him about McDavid earlier this week.
If you have any information on McDavid, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.