As part of an ongoing effort to improve academic representation, the University of Toronto Mississauga outlined several new courses that will be offered in the upcoming academic year. The Office of the Registrar released a statement explaining that each new course will be taught by a guest lecturer invited by the university.
The new courses are part of a broader administrative plan, which University of Toronto President Meric Gertler hopes “will expand academic discourse and encourage debate within otherwise unchallenged topics.” Gertler, who explained the administrative plan in a press conference on March 22, 2023, also expressed that many of the sessional instructors are personal friends, who he is certain “will provoke and enlighten the student body.”
The courses that will be introduced this upcoming September span several different programs and include:
- CHM394: Chemtrails and Population Control
- CCT487: 5G Internet: “Communication” Disguised
- ENV263: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Government Surveillance!
- POL355: Lizard People: The Real Leaders
- VCC287: Moon Landings and Other Optical Illusions
- PHY218: Flat Earth: What You Don’t Know About the Planet You Live On.
In the press conference, Gertler admitted that several of the sessional instructors did not receive a formal education. He argued, rather passionately, that traditional education structures often marginalize “unsuited” individuals, and that despite their lack of academic credibility, the instructors are experts in their respective fields.
In an effort to investigate the legitimacy of these courses, The Medium spoke with several of the instructors to better understand the scope of the material.
Alex Jones, the far-right conspiracy theorist and founder of the website Infowars, will be instructing CHM394: Chemtrails and Population Control. Jones has gained notoriety over the last decade for his controversial and often inflammatory statements, including his claims that 9/11 was a false flag operation instigated by the US government.
When asked about the course, Jones explained that he would “wake the class up” to the reality that the streaks left behind by airplanes are not water vapour contrails, but biological agents that the government deliberately sprays into our atmosphere. “The chemicals manipulate the environment for political and economic gain,” Jones said, adjusting the spaghetti strainer on top of his head.
“Chemtrails are part of a secret government initiative that controls the weather and manages population levels,” he added. “It’s a covert geoengineering operation that the CIA doesn’t want you to know about.” Jones declined to comment on the criticism he’s faced, amidst claims that his 69 previous head injuries sustained in various hang-gliding accidents have impacted his judgement and cognitive well-being.
When The Medium asked Jones whether it could be government manipulation that influenced him to believe in chemtrails (or “stratospheric aerosol injections” as Jones prefers), he rejected the idea, insisting that he “did [his] own research.”
Mark K. Sargent, the author of the book Flat Earth Clues, has been a prominent figure in the Flat Earth community since the early 2010s. The Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences invited Sargent to instruct a class on his radical beliefs. The course is titled PHY218: Flat Earth: What You Don’t Know About the Planet You Live On.
Sargent explained in a telephone interview that he would provide a foundation for students to understand the earth’s true composition. “Despite popular discourse, our planet is not a globe,” Sargent explained. “It is a flat disk surrounded by an ice wall.”
Sargent argues that the mainstream narrative of a “round Earth” is a deception perpetuated by governments and other powerful institutions for their own gain. When asked what that “gain” might be, Sargent did not provide an answer but said that he would sell us a copy of his book, which, he insisted, had all the answers.
Sargent’s relationship with Gertler began in 2014 when they both attended the Flat Earth International Conference, where Sargent routinely lectures about the follies of conventional knowledge and trusting your government. Gertler has routinely denied this claim, however, Sargent claimed the two spent the evening complaining about patronizing attitude of academics.
“If it flies, it spies,” said Peter McIndoe in an interview with The Medium. His upcoming course, ENV263: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Government Surveillance! will examine how the government replaced 12 billion birds between 1959 and 1971 with surveillance drones—which conveniently look exactly like birds.
“The bird-drones that spy on American citizens can do the work of a thousand ‘grounded’ cameras,” said McIndoe, who explained that the program was intended to improve surveillance capabilities amidst Cold War tensions. “Democracy depends on transparency, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of privacy,” he added.
McIndoe cautioned that much of the course material would depend on the success of a Freedom of Information request that he has filed with the US Government. “The secrets will be revealed,” he insisted, but they depend on certain classified documents, which are currently “out of reach.”
McIndoe will teach the course asynchronously as he is currently hiding somewhere abroad, presumably underground. He mandated that any student enrolling in the course use a VPN and complete their coursework using a cypher. When asked how the government supplanted 12 billion birds in 12 years without anyone noticing, McIndoe ended the call.
The Medium was unable to speak with the other impending faculty members, however, they likely echo similar sentiments. Some existing faculty members have spoken out against the university’s decision to expand its academic horizons, however Gertler, who has praised unconventional attitudes before, asserted that anyone unwilling to engage with perspectives that differ from their own clearly “does not understand the academic value of disagreement.”
Copy Editor (Volume 49) | email@example.com —Aidan is completing a major in Professional Writing and Communications at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He previously worked as the Associate Editor for the Arts and Entertainment section of The Medium, and currently works as the Copy Editor for The Medium. When he’s not catching up on course work or thumbing through style guides, Aidan spends his free time exercising (begrudgingly), singing (unmelodically), and trying (helplessly) to read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The latter of which has taken 3 years to reach the 16th page. You can connect with Aidan at firstname.lastname@example.org.