Massey College professor resigns over racially offensive remark

Michael Marrus

Michael Marrus , a history professor who made a racially offensive remark to a Black student at the University of Toronto’s Massey College, has  resigned as a senior fellow at the school.

Marrus resigned  on Sunday  after nearly 200 students and faculty signed a petition demanding his removal.

In his letter of resignation, Marrus said he was sorry for what he said ” in a poor effort at jocular humour at lunch.”

On Tuesday last week, Marrus was sitting with three Junior Fellows, graduate students who live in residence at Massey College. Hugh Segal, the head of the college, who carried the formal title “Master,” came to join them. As Segal sat down, Marrus said to a female black student:”You know this is your master, eh? Do you feel the lash?”

The remark was widely viewed as a reference to slavery.

“What I said was both foolish and, I understood immediately, hurtful, and I want, first and foremost, to convey my deepest regrets to all whom I may have harmed,” Marrus said in  his letter of resignation.

An emeritus professor and Holocaust scholar, Marrus is retired from the University of Toronto but maintained an office at Massey College.

Segal, said that he will ask the college’s governing board to change his title and that he will go by “head of college” until the new name has been made official.