Passings: Civil liberties champion Alan Borovoy taught at Glendon

Alan Borovoy, a faculty member at Glendon College, died late Monday of heart failure. He was 83 years old.

Mr. Borovoy worked on human rights issues for 60 years and was civil liberties champion who served as general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for more than 40 years.

Alan Borovoy
Alan Borovoy

Five years ago, he joined Glendon’s School of Public and International Affairs, after having taught for several years in the Canadian Studies undergraduate program at Glendon College. He taught the school’s popular seminar on human rights, and he gave regular colloquium presentations that were open to the public. As Mr. Borovoy was known to say, he did his best to “raise hell” on human rights, while staying within the confines of the law.

A dedicated teacher and true public intellectual, he often debated with the program director for many days before attributing student grades and he was already preparing his next colloquium presentation on a controversial question relating to civil liberties.

It is not by chance that he spent part of the last years of his life at the school helping students examine western liberal values in a rational and pragmatic manner, while constantly challenging political correctness. Among the recent spontaneous reactions from his students, one alumnus captures effectively a purpose that would have pleased him: “He can be sure his students will continue fighting the good fight for justice!”

Mr. Borovoy’s health declined rapidly in the last month. His death has saddened his many colleagues, current students and alumni who knew him. Although he could be demanding and sometimes difficult, his playfulness, kindness and intellectual brilliance, along with the constant jokes expressed in his characteristic Borovian drawl, will be sorely missed by all at Glendon’s School of Public and International Affairs.

There will be a graveside service at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park, Pride of Israel Synagogue section, on Thursday, May 14 at 10:30am. The address is 986 Wilson Avenue, Toronto, ON, M3K 1G5.
The University flags will be lowered to half-mast on Thursday, May 14, and will remain at half-mast until Friday, May 15 at 1pm in his honour and memory.