Fanshawe professor refuses to wear a mask

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: HANNAH THEODORE
Masks are mandatory at all times while on campus, and any staff or students who refuse will not be permitted to stay at school.

Deven Taylor, A Fanshawe College welding instructor, has openly expressed his refusal to wear a mask while on campus.

The current College policy states that masks must be worn at all times at Fanshawe campuses, in accordance with public health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taylor’s public Facebook page is laden with conspiracy theories, including references to #Pizzagate, the Illuminati, and the Flat Earth theory.

Navigator. Londons student lifestyles magazine.

In a Sept. 18 interview with CBC London, Taylor stated that mandatory mask by-laws are “tyrannical” and pose a risk to safety while welding. According to the City of London, only children, people with disabilities, and people with underlying health conditions are exempt from wearing a mandatory mask (though no proof of exemption is necessary).

The College responded to Taylor’s claims, stating that Fanshawe’s priority is to protect the health and safety of students and staff.

“Under our Health and Safety protocols, non-medical face coverings must be worn at all times when in publicly accessible places, unless a person has a medical exemption,” said Fanshawe’s senior manager of corporate communications, Elaine Gamble. “This includes hallways, academic labs and classrooms, washrooms, reception areas and food services.”

Gamble added that staff or students who don’t follow public health protocols will be met first with education, followed by a warning and enforcement if necessary.

“Staff who refuse to follow protocols will be asked to leave campus and will not be allowed to teach,” she said. “While we can’t speak to the specifics of any one faculty or class, Fanshawe has ensured that all students arriving on campus have trained and experienced faculty to teach their classes.”

Students can also report anyone on campus who is not following public safety guidelines directly to security or through the Fanshawe Stay Safe app.

While the Ontario government has stated that the best way to avoid the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home and maintain social distancing, the wearing of masks and other face coverings may help contain the spread in areas where social distancing is not possible. Masks were deemed mandatory in all public spaces in London in July.

Interrobang reached out to Taylor for further comment but he did not provide an update on his state of employment or whether or not he would start wearing a mask to school. At this time, no other professors at Fanshawe have publicly refused to wear a mask.

If you wish to report any health and safety concerns on campus please refer to campus security at (519)-452-4400 or