York's David Noble dies - Macleans.ca

York’s David Noble dies

Prof noted for his criticism of technology and for his activism


Prominent York University professor and activist, David Noble, died suddenly of natural causes Monday evening. Noble, who specialized in the history of technology, was noted for his criticism of technological advancement on the grounds it limits the ability of workers to exercise influence.

He was also noted for several battles waged against universities. In 2008 he settled out of court with Simon Fraser University for being wrongfully denied a prestigious research chair in 2001. He alleged the university’s decision was motivated by his activism.

In 2004, he distributed a pamphlet criticizing York for being biased due to pro-Israel influences. The university responded by condemning the literature as “offensive” and implied the pamphlet was motivated by bigotry. Noble sued the university for defamation, but the courts were not expected to hear the case until next year.

He later filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, arguing that York’s policy of closing during Jewish holidays was discriminatory, a policy the university changed before it was heard by the Commission.

Noble was 65.

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York’s David Noble dies

  1. Great man and will be missed!


  2. The sad loss of a principled academic.

  3. i was lucky enough to take his courses and he was overwhelmingly the most influential professor of my career. he will be sorely missed.

  4. Prof. Noble was a real fighter and champion for Academic Integrity and Social Justice. he was very noble person, both in Name and in the essence of his character. he took the principled positions on many issues because it was the right thing to do without any fear, concerns about popularity and or any calculation for opportunistic and short term gains.

    He left us too soon, Canada and our universities are in dire need for people like him