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Queen’s track coach terminated following Scott-Thomas social media comments – Global News



A Queen’s track coach has been fired after making comments over social media about a former University of Guelph track coach who was let go due to alleged unprofessional conduct.

Steve Boyd, who has been a volunteer track coach for Queen’s since 2010 and was voted Ontario University Athletics women’s coach of the year last year, was given a termination notice Tuesday.

I actually recorded the conversation in which I was fired and I asked for specific clarifications to what the reasons were. Three times I asked, ‘is this about Guelph, comments on Guelph?’” Boyd said in an interview on Thursday.

And my athletic director who fired me said, ‘yes, it’s about that.’” 

University of Guelph alleges fired track coach Dave Scott-Thomas ‘lied repeatedly’ 

Boyd told Global News he was fired for a social media exchange discussing former Guelph track and field head coach Dave Scott-Thomas, once known as one of the most successful running coaches in Canada. He was let go from University of Guelph last year after a second allegation of an inappropriate relationship with a student athlete came forward.

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In a statement sent to Global News Thursday afternoon, Queen’s University said the social media comments in question “follow a pattern of objectionable social media commentary spanning several years, about which he had previously been formally cautioned. Mr. Boyd failed to heed repeated warnings from the administration to stop his reckless social media activities.”

A week ago, Boyd spoke out on Facebook, after a former University of Guelph athlete posted online about her feelings on the Scott-Thomas fallout.

In an exchange with several other athletes, Boyd discussed whether Guelph’s many track titles should be “vacated,” due to allegations of sexual misconduct made against Scott-Thomas.

His argument was that Guelph’s success in track and field was due its recruitment of the best athletes, which was based, in part, on Scott-Thomas’s stellar reputation as a coach.

A University of Guelph statement released in January of this year said Scott-Thomas was suspended in 2006 following a complaint from a family member of a student-athlete Scott-Thomas was coaching.

“It determined that some misconduct had taken place and, based on details available at that time, the University suspended Scott-Thomas for four weeks,” the statement read.

In 2019, the university received another complaint, which they had a third-party investigate.

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Dave Scott-Thomas, former track coach, removed from Guelph Sports Hall of Fame

“While the 2019 investigation was ongoing, the University received new information related to the earlier investigation that made it clear that Scott-Thomas had lied repeatedly in 2006 about several significant matters,” according to the statement.

This new information led to Scott-Thomas’s firing in December, 2019.

In his Facebook comments, Boyd suggested that if Guelph had fired Scott-Thomas years earlier during the first investigation, their track team would have been vastly different over the last decade. He then questioned if the university’s many track titles garnered under Scott-Thomas’ supervision should be withdrawn.

“Had they known what Dave had done in ’06, Guelph admin would have fired him, do you think that those titles should now be vacated? How many of you would have gone to Guelph had Dave been fired in ’06?”







Boyd then suggested that if the University of Guelph was keeping the information of Scott-Thomas’ alleged misconduct from potential recruits, it would amount to “recruiting fraud, ” something he suggested might warrant a sanction from National Collegiate Athletic Association.

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“Forcing programs that have won titles by fraudulent means (in this case, recruiting fraud — because recruits were unaware of a very important truth about the head coach) to vacate those titles is an established practice in the NCAA.”

Boyd also asked other Guelph athletes in the Facebook thread about their personal involvement in keeping Scott-Thomas’ alleged behaviour secret from potential recruits.

“In spite of the difficulties you and others claimed he created, and that you had to endure, many of you enjoyed the personal benefits of winning, and actively sought to enlist others to come and help you continue to win, all the while potentially exposing unwitting athletes to the abuse some of you were suffering.”

“Recruiting is, after all, a team undertaking, and recruiting is crucial to winning. What, if any, responsibility do Guelph athletes have where that is concerned?”

The Queen’s Gaels control their playoff destiny in OUA women’s hockey.

The Queen’s Gaels control their playoff destiny in OUA women’s hockey.

In an interview with Global News, Boyd said people reacted badly to his line of questioning, saying they thought he wanted the University of Guelph athletes to give up their titles out of a sense of rivalry with the school.

“That’s what set a lot of people off, that this re-traumatized them, because now I was devalued accomplishments and so on,” Boyd said.

In fact, it’s Queen’s University’s opinion that Boyd did just that.

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“Boyd made numerous statements on social media berating and blaming student athletes who were themselves victims and which only served to re-traumatize them.”

What Boyd said he was trying to suggest was that if the university purposely ignored allegations made against Scott-Thomas because he was an excellent coach, some kind of punitive action should be taken.

“If they covered up for Dave Scott-Thomas all those years and they knew they were doing it, they were doing it because there was something of value that he had to offer them, and the value was the team titles,” Boyd said in an interview.

Boyd also told Global News that Queen’s had warned him once before that he was not allowed to speak publicly about the Scott-Thomas controversy following posts on a popular track and field forum called Trackie.

So the first time it was after the complaint about the message board post within which I posed two basic questions like ‘Was Guelph covering up in ’06? And ‘Were they doing it again in 19,’” Boyd said.

University of Guelph’s track and field coach under review

He said the University of Guelph took screenshots of those comments and sent them to Queen’s. This, he claims, prompted his superiors at Queen’s to put a “gag order” on his public speech.

“The thing that troubled me the most about the gag order was that it was unlimited and it applied to every kind of speech. I was told I can’t leave a voicemail, I can’t send a personal email.”

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Boyd said he understands that his contract may allow Queen’s to terminate him for speaking publicly about certain issues, but he doesn’t agree that what he said was grounds for termination.

“There was nothing libelous. There was nothing. I didn’t harass anyone. There was nothing distasteful.”

Boyd said he’s been receiving quite a lot of support from people in the sports community, who feel as if his termination was unwarranted.

One of those people is Brogan MacDouggall, who posted on Instagram about the firing.

“Yesterday was a sad day for running as it lost an incredible coach. Yesterday was a sad day for Queen’s University as they chose to believe the cancel-culture mob over upstanding members of the Queen’s community who excel in sport, in school and in community service,” MacDouggall wrote.

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Yesterday our team was informed that our coach was being fired effective immediately. The reasons can be found in the Globe and Mail and for those of you asking if there is more to the story, unfortunately that was it. Steve stood up for what is right and demanded justice be brought to an institution that covered for a rapist for 13 years. Yesterday was a sad day for running as it lost an incredible coach. Yesterday was a sad day for Queen’s University as they chose to believe the cancel-culture mob over upstanding members of the Queen’s community who excel in sport, in school and in community service. This firing has so many ramifications: our team will likely lose funding as we did not comply with the administration’s “gag order”, I cannot see us competing in future cross-country meets and the financial burdens now imposed on several of us relying on scholarships will be costly. This goes beyond running, Queen’s has stifled freedom of speech and, as an institution, decided to silence people demanding accountability for the cover-up . If anyone in the running community or Queen’s community believes in their heart that this is wrong, I would strongly encourage you to send an email to the provost or the principal. There are power in numbers and the more people that voice their anger with the decision, the better chance we have to right this wrong. Finally, we need accountability from the institutions that were involved with this situation : @queensgaels @queensuniversity @gryphonsguelph @usportsca @ouasport @athleticscanada @athleticsont . We need more than the PR statements that have been given. We need to know there can be an open conversation about this without fear of institutional silencing. We need to do better than this.

A post shared by Brogan MacDougall (@brogan_macdougall) on Feb 20, 2020 at 7:45am PST

Now, Boyd says he’s hoping that Queen’s University top brass will choose to reinstate him.

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“They have the power to reverse this and set the thing right. Again, I care just about my athletes. I want to be one to be able to come back and do what I want to do for them.”

— With files from Matt Carty.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Social media giants monetise anger and trolling is the result. A crackdown is welcome – The Guardian



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Social media giants monetise anger and trolling is the result. A crackdown is welcome  The Guardian

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Princeton the focus of international media – the story on the story – Penticton Western News – Pentiction Western News



Over the past two weeks the community has been flooded…with media.

Princeton quickly became a focus for journalists across Canada and around the globe, following the devastating events that started Sunday, Nov. 14, when the Tulameen River breached its banks.

Last Thursday, correspondents working for The New York Times were trekking through muck on Fenchurch Avenue, interviewing residents who were starting the process of cleaning out their homes.

“In the town of Princeton, which was uncomfortably close to this summer’s wildfires and was hit by record heat, bands of volunteers of all ages were roving the streets and helping out,” wrote Ian Austen. “There are a lot of tears in Princeton and other communities right now, but they’re not all from grief over what’s lost. When flood victims described the kindness of those volunteers to me, some broke out in tears of gratitude.”

The U.K. based Guardian also reached out to area homeowners.

Ed Staples, from Coalmont, was interviewed.

“After a summer of staying indoors to shield his lungs from thick smoke, Staples said he’s sad to see the loss in his community so soon after the fires,” The Guardian wrote. ‘It’s heartbreaking, I get choked up thinking about it,’ said Staples. ‘These are real people who have lost everything and it’ll take months or years to get their lives in order.’”

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne has fielded hundreds of requests for interviews, and granted many.

“I’ve done so many interviews,” he told the Spotlight, “I don’t know who all I’ve interviewed with. It’s kind of been a blur to be honest…I was doing, by lunch time, about eight interviews a day at one point.”

Coyne said this has given him the opportunity to keep Princeton’s needs top-of-mind for government officials, who hold the purse strings for emergency aid. “If I’m not out there, Abbotsford is going to be the story…It’s getting us the attention we need.”

Coyne appeared live on the CBC’s The National, and on the television program Power and Politics. He’s spoken frequently with regional affiliates of all the major networks.

While he doesn’t particularly relish the limelight, Coyne is uniquely qualified to take on the press. “At one time I was a small town reporter. I worked for Black Press, I worked for (The Similkameen News Leader.)”

Recently a journalist writing for the Globe and Mail followed the mayor for an entire day, as he made the rounds of the community.

“Shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Mr. Coyne jumped in his yellow Nissan Xterra and began driving around town, checking on crew progress and speaking to residents about their needs. His cellphone rang constantly. He made a stop at the one-runway airport where the small lounge was crammed with people bringing in dogs and cats in animal carriers,” wrote Anthony Davis.

There’s been absurdity, attached to some of Coyne’s experiences.

“One interview, I won’t say what network and what show, they began telling me what I should be wearing in the interview and what the backdrop should be…like a bookshelf.”

Coyne eventually gave that interview, via his phone, wearing a high-visibility vest, while inside the Princeton fire hall.

During an interview with the BBC, he was asked about local temperatures. When the mayor reported the temperature was hovering at about minus 3 degrees Celsius, he was asked, “And why is that?”

After requesting the question be repeated, Coyne responded, “Well, it’s November. This is when we start to turn into winter.”

Coyne said he often prefers to communicate with local media.

“Local media has been invaluable, absolutely invaluable,” he stated. “I really appreciate the efforts of the Spotlight in order to keep accurate information going out.”

Related: Princeton’s water system hanging – literally – by a fire hose

Related: Princeton ‘as ready as it can be’ for the next 24 hours

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Local peer outreach team continuing without Northern Health, claims health authority lied to media –



A public outcry took place once it was announced funding was being cut. Schultz believes NH’s statement was an attempt to save face.

“Northern Health is committed to harm reduction and overdose prevention in Fort St. John, and working to improve existing services, and implement additional and expanded services. Peers play an important role in Overdose Prevention work, and Northern Health will work with peers to ensure this continues,” said Northern Health in a statement to local media.

The group was formed in April, providing harm reduction services and tackling the stigma surrounding drug addiction. In October, NH informed the team that they were restructuring the funding model.

There were 30 peers working for the outreach teams that were fired, and more than 20 with lived experience were employed by the group, said Schultz.

The peers helped offer food, hygiene kits, first aid, naloxone kits, harm reduction supplies, info on detox and treatment, and warm clothing for those in need. Afterwards, they were paid a cash honorarium, which is what NH has cut.

Schultz and another leader, Neil Bramsleven, were in contact with the health authority to work on the community mobile harm reduction program. Schultz describes the program as a mobile safe injection site.

They were the only ones contacted to continue working for the health authority due to meeting specific criteria, including being clean from drugs and alcohol, said Schultz.

“NH Leadership is in contact and discussion with the peer outreach team leaders to continue peer outreach services in Fort St. John,” said Northern Health in a statement.

Schultz has pulled her application for the mobile program following the release of NH’s statement.

“There are no outreach programs right now, and they have no plans of getting outreach programs.”

Schultz showed Energeticcity an email with an NH worker, which confirms there are no outreach programs in the city.

“They did admit that it was untrue about peer outreach continuing. They said they don’t talk with the person who deals with the media.”

Peers were previously paid by NH to go on patrol, but Schultz says they will now run on a voluntary basis.

“We will accept donations from the community, and we will get harm reduction from mental health.”

At this point, Schultz says the team doesn’t want anything to do with the health authority.

“Peers are real. Peers are honest. We have one passion, and that’s to help people. We’re not even going to work with Northern Health anymore. We will volunteer our time.”

Anyone looking to donate to the team can contact Schultz at 250-329-8374.

Eryn Collins, Regional Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations with NH, says the health authority is aware of the pushback and is working to get clarity on concerns being raised.

With files from Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News

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