Nova Scotia Psychologist Rick Mehta Charged with Making Threats to Former Employer

August 14, 2023

An outspoken former psychology professor who taught at Acadia University (Wolfville, Nova Scotia) for a number of years has been charged with uttering threats.

According to an RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) news release, officers received a report from Acadia on Tuesday indicating that a threat had been made to cause harm to an employee of the university.

RCMP launched an investigation and arrested Rick Mehta, 52, of Coldbrook at his home Friday.

Cpl. Guillaume Tremblay, a public information officer with the RCMP, said Mehta faces three counts of uttering threats — the first allegedly occurring Aug. 5, with the other two relating to incidents Thursday.

“We received the complaint on Aug. 8," Tremblay said. "So, we began an investigation, and after that, two more incidents occurred.”

Due to the ongoing investigation, he could not say how the threats were communicated.

“The threats were through various means, and I can’t go into specific details as the investigation is ongoing right now.," he said. "But it was in more than one way or fashion.”

Long past with Acadia

Mehta was a psychology professor at Acadia between 2003 and 2018. A proponent of academic free speech, Mehta was fired on Aug. 31, 2018, by then-president Peter Ricketts.

According to a termination letter that Mehta provided to SaltWire, he was relieved of duty due to “just cause” — terminology Mehta takes issue with as he feels it allows for arbitrary dismissal. He says the term is not defined in the faculty collective agreement.

The letter notes there was a “wide variety of concerns and complaints” brought forward against Mehta, including failure to fulfil academic responsibilities, “unprofessional conduct, breach of privacy, and harassment and intimidation of students and other members of the university community.”

Leading up to his dismissal, Mehta made numerous controversial comments on social media and in class on topics such as gender politics, decolonization and immigration.

The university noted it had no other choice but to terminate Mehta's employment due to his “refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing, to take responsibility” for his actions, or to commit to meaningful changes in classroom teaching or interactions with students, colleagues and members of the university community.

In 2022, a judge dismissed a court case where Mehta was trying to sue an Annapolis Valley dentist and veterinarian for enforcing mask mandates during COVID-19. The judge noted Mehta believed the worldwide pandemic was part of a "global conspiracy against God and humanity."

Mehta remains active on social media, most recently tweeting about his arrest.

“I have really gotten under the skin of the powers that be at Acadia University. At roughly 9:30 a.m., I was arrested and charged with three counts of ‘uttering threats,’” he wrote in a post at 2:37 p.m. Friday.

Mehta noted he has been banned from the campus, as well as from communicating with anyone with an Acadia email address. At the conclusion of his social media thread, he promoted his book, Proven Innocence.

Mehta was released on conditions and is due to appear in Kentville provincial court Oct. 24. The charges against him have not been tested in court.

Ian Murray, a spokesman for Acadia, confirmed Mehta has been banned from the university's property. He said the school’s primary concern is the safety, well-being and health of its faculty, staff and students.

“We appreciate the swift actions taken by the RCMP today in what is a very challenging and unsettling situation,” Murray said in a phone interview.

“We know the individual involved and we know this has been a challenging number of months and years for many of our staff and faculty and we appreciate the actions taken by the RCMP.”

Tremblay said if anyone ever feels that their safety and well-being is being threatened and that they may suffer bodily harm, they should contact the police.

Source: Carole Morris-Underhill, “Controversial former Acadia prof charged with uttering threats,” SaltWire, Aug. 11, 2023, URL:  


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