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Apologies After Philanthropist Cites 'Playboy'

October 31, 2018

Canada's Western University is apologizing for remarks by a philanthropist, Aubrey Dan, at a building dedication. Dan said that he enrolled at the university in 1983 because Playboy had declared women there "among the best in North America." He added that "obviously they still are." Many women on campus argued that the value of the university should not be measured by Playboy rankings on the appearance of women. Dan issued what he called an apology (but some have said was not an apology), saying, "My remarks were made to provide a context of what went through my 19-year-old mind when deciding back in 1983 to go to Western. Nothing to do with being sexist at all … My comment was in reference to a compliment and nothing else. I am an egalitarian."

The university issued its own statement: "Western values a respectful learning and work environment and we sincerely apologize to those who attended this convocation ceremony and all others who were offended by these remarks. Western has had a longstanding relationship with Mr. Dan -- that includes his tireless efforts to encourage and support thousands of students at Western -- and that dedication to Western was honored during the ceremony last Friday."

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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