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Will we ever see Norman Cornett at McGill again?
The administration’s unjust firing of the popular prof needs explanation and redress

Over three years ago, McGill dismissed without a word of explanation a knowledgeable and dedicated teacher, Norman. Nevertheless, his case has not been forgotten, because too many students still feel inspired by his creative methods. There has been a growing number of letters in The Daily (22) and the Tribune (16) demanding his return.

Thus far, McGill’s only response has been an open letter from Provost Anthony Masi published in Le Devoir (“McGill honore la liberté d’expression,” July 13). It must be recalled that the decision to fire Cornett was taken with undue haste – he was given only a half day’s notice to clear his office. This is chillingly reminiscent of the speed with which wartime executions are carried out for treasonous behaviour. Such worries were expressed by a former student: “Cornett’s story creates a climate of fear among university and college instructors.” Isn’t it time to ask which structures and mechanisms at McGill were involved in treating Cornett as the worst enemy?
At the lowest levels, some administrators might have become resentful after being overshadowed by Cornett’s growing popularity among students, top artists, politicians, and religious figures. His platform for transformative educational experiences connecting the most intriguing personalities with a young generation was working successfully and with great impact, but he arranged it without using McGill notables as interlocutors.

In doing so, he didn’t allow them to share the spotlight – especially when he invited such guests as a former prime minister or provincial premier. Instead of bruising their egos, he dared to outshine them from behind. Apparently, Cornett wasn’t aware of our administrators’ conversations at Senate and Board of Governors meetings about their personal chats with ministers or foreign eminences – or of their jealousy in such matters.

It is quite typical for go-getting people to boast about their strong networking. They simply feel less secure, and in McGill’s case, they try to develop closer links not only with superior institutions, but also with transnational corporations that are above politicians and governments. We can accept this approach; McGill might even profit from such individuals, if they are exceptional at lobbying for our school at higher levels. Unfortunately, such “achievements” are unstable and short-lived.

Similarly questionable are ineffective efforts to adopt corporate practices in running the university that usually disturb the work of more creative and independent members of our community. Their free spirits and nonconformity too often challenge McGill’s centralized power structures, composed of many well-connected but not necessarily competent administrators. This might explain the exodus of many autonomous thinkers and scientists over the last seven years, who went on to shine outside McGill’s walls. Unfortunately, among those eliminated was Cornett, who now organizes his amazing “dialogic” session in many places – but not at McGill.

So far, practically no one at McGill has addressed this problem, and only the francophone media have reported on how costly these departures have been. Now it’s time to correlate them – whether imposed or voluntary – with McGill’s significant drop in university rankings, revealed last week (though this trend was already noticeable in a smaller way since 2007). Our administration must learn to not control the community with structures – they must learn that by respecting and humbly serving the members of the McGill community, they will promote the key elements for potential improvements.

Allowing Cornett to return to McGill would represent a proper first move in the right direction of greater inclusiveness that can start healing many old wounds in our community.

Slawomir Poplawski is a technician in the Mining and Materials Engineering department. Contact him at slavekpop@yahoo.com.

The decline of broader education

Today’s world recognizes the importance of societies’ educational excellence in economic growth. It is even treated as a measurable commodity and some international agencies have established education rankings by country based on results of students’ tests for reading, science, and math. Asian nations are leading and Canada is at the bottom of the top ten. Should we be worrying about this?

This approach narrows the notion of education to the transfer of knowledge and skills in a few utilitarian fields at the expense of the liberal arts. Ignored is an increased transmission of values when pursuing a well-rounded education. Canada, with rich didactic traditions, is nowadays similarly overwhelmed by the promoted unification of educational systems, which makes it easier to enforce efficiency in teaching key fields, but compromises diversity. Similar processes are occurring at the university level.

McGill’s Humanistic Studies program, created forty years ago in the Faculty of Arts, was cancelled last August. The fate of a planned similar program, called Liberal Arts, is unclear. Nobody protested the cancellation, which indicates that now, even at the university level, people are paying less attention to a broad education. It is tempting to say that the ruling financial spheres that control the Board of Governors aren’t interested in investing in the arts and humanities, because they would rather see even the best universities as a production line of narrow-minded specialists. Humanities programs focused on exploring the meaning, purpose, and goals of human existence are not only expensive, but also make the masses more difficult to control. Consistent with this approach, we now see administrative technocrats converting McGill into disconnected research units that produce alienated specialists.

However, we must be careful with such generalizations and the demonization of political elements because even debates about pedagogy and the structures of our educational institutions are fraught with ethical uncertainties. Education is treated as a career-oriented and market-driven tool. It is very sad to see gifted students avoiding each other as competitors instead of developing warmer social bonds. Yet once the students are lured into never-ending dogfights, they are more susceptible to many social manipulations. In the present world, even Nobel Prize winners are often treated as flashy marionettes in the hands of the media and bureaucrats who control research centres or universities. Do the most educated and wisest people play key roles in our modern, globalized world? If not, what kinds of people control the masses and which criteria are used to select these people?

The most worrying is a devilish spirit of educational rivalry implanted in the earliest stages of education that pervades the entire school system. Unfortunately, many children from poorer families are more likely to fall into this trap of studying for a specific skill or profession, while a few richer students are more likely to select well-rounded studies designed to develop intellectual growth. The rivalry encourages top students to learn more, but simultaneously narrows their horizons and subdues the development of beautiful and free human minds. As such, many schools start specializing kids even from the middle of high school to maximize their educational achievements in narrowed fields. The consequences are catastrophic.

It transforms the student into a repressed, highly stressed, robot-like entity, who is easily pushed around by market fluctuations.

It is never too late, and these negative changes can be significantly defused in our universities by reinvesting in the arts and humanities. The Humanistic Studies program created in 1970 allowed students to build their own liberal arts program out of the humanities and social sciences. Unfortunately, their influence gradually eroded because of underfunding, and because of the diminishing interest of students, who began pursuing narrower specializations that offered them more stable careers. People with a well-rounded education can more easily predict and avoid dangerous future developments, but are also more tempted to lure others into such traps. Is it not clear that this system is built to exploit human weakness to enhance the fastest profits?

Before directly fighting the many deep social injustices at work here, we need to transform the army of alienated specialists into insightful experts united by complex knowledge of our world. This can be achieved by hiring more people like Norman Cornett who “marry” arts and sciences, and even engineering. Proof: Our top-ranked McGill Medical School in recent years prefers students from a unique “Arts and Sciences” program at Marianopolis.

Slawomir Poplawski is a technician in the Mining and Materials Engineering department. Contact him at slavekpop@yahoo.com.

An open letter 

Dear Mr. Strople,

I would be more careful with accusing students of negligence and making essential errors in their graphical depiction of the McGill Board of Governors (BoG) as you expressed in your Daily letter “Errata-city up here” (Commentary, Letters, November 12, page 7 – http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/11/letters-30/). Alongside the table’s picture it was clearly stated that they provided only profiles of “the fifteen that come from outside the University.” It should be asked, why? Let’s think logically.

Students represent a new generation that is smarter, thinking faster, and much better at filtering essential information than the previous generations. It has always been like that in our evolving civilization. If the students “neglected to include the ten representatives of students, faculty, and administrative and support staff” it should be carefully examined why they did so before attacking them.

In this case, students only wanted to know about those external members that are truly powerful and can present freely their opinions shaping McGill strategies. This approach simply protects their brains from unimportant details about those paid or graded by McGill BoG representatives. This minority is easily manipulated and in the last thirty years we have never heard about such representatives being forced to resign after opposing certain policies or presenting alternative views.

Loudly expressed different opinions with dynamic changes are only seen in more democratically organized administrative structures. At McGill, we enjoy something ‘better’ than unity – it is total silence. We never hear about elected BoG representatives meeting openly with their colleagues to present their reports or consult their future policies in this highest governing body. In this way, we have to fully trust the Secretary-General about their “invaluable contribution to the Board.”

How much more trust is needed at McGill without us compromising the value of tuition and salaries?

Slawomir Poplawski  Published in Daily on 15.11.2012 – http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/11/letters-31/

“Weinstein talks Campaign McGill” (News, October 15, page 6) should be seen from a perspective of two main achievements that can be used for further PR promotion of the University.

The first success concerns “the University’s five-year, $750-million fundraising campaign” that can be easily portrayed as the best in the art of begging in Canada and Quebec. This questionable ‘education’ starts in our public primary schools, where pupils are asked to collect single dollars among close neighbours or family members. It is continued in high schools with the teenagers collecting many times more dollars in shopping centres. At McGill, students learn that the art of begging for education can reach unlimited levels of top millions with a proud conclusion that the best achievers are supposed to represent the best university or vice versa.

The second success is that such competitive fundraising on all levels can be strictly correlated with the salaries of the principals on the all mentioned above and gradually raising levels.

The point is that after accepting this perspective we should feel proud that our principal Heather Munroe-Blum has the biggest salary and even demand a raise for her.

—Slawomir Poplawski

Published in McGill Daily on 12.11.2012 – http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/11/letters-30/

1).  A list of participants of a spontaneous discussion among almost 700 members of the McGill community is presented below.   These people witnessed this unusually free discussion that took place in our so intimidated community by the present principal (Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum) who in recent years costly hired and fired about 20 Vice-principals as other top ranking administrators.  That is why today people are so afraid to present their personal opinions.  It is not good for many reasons.  In this situation it is very important to expose this case and present the list of participants who can confirm that this free forum took place on Friday at 4:56 PM  in May 28, 2011 after receiving a provocative letter from the administration concerning hazardous materials.   They are the witnesses!   The Administration did not expect such debate involving many respected and famous professors who were not afraid to say openly what they think about mismanaged McGill.   This development was very spontaneous  as not controlled during weekend and caused very strange reactions of the Vice-Principals (Jim Nicell and Rima Rozen).  Their questionable responses are described in a letter to McGill Senate posted on May 18, 2011 “McGill University – Let us try to search earlier for the next principal: part 2” –  see two posts down.

2).  A link to a document issued by the present McGill Principal (Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum) from which was taken this quote: “submit (comments) by Monday, February 21, 2011. All submissions will be destroyed upon completion of the advisory process” was taken – http://www.mcgill.ca/files/secretariat/DeanofMedicineAdWinter2011.pdf

The term  “destroyed” has never been used before in such documents at McGill!!!  Quo Vadis McGill?

————————————————————————————–

*1).  These people below witnessed this interesting free discussion from a sociological point of view .  Can we see similar developments at McGill now?  Yes, it is a rhetorical question.

Sent:  Fri 5/28/2010 4:56 PM

Subject: Phase II of Hazardous Material Management Project

Cc:  Jim Nicell; Rima Rozen, Dr.; Louise Savard; Wayne Wood; Larry Tansey

To:

Ehab Abouheif, Prof.; Luis Agellon, Dr.; Zafer Ali-Khan, Dr.; Inteaz Alli, Dr.; Paul Allison, Dr.; Guillermina Almazan, Dr.; Mark P. Andrews, Dr.; Bernadette Nedelec, Dr.; Parisa A. Ariya, Dr.; Bruce A. Arndtsen, Dr.; Karine Auclair, Dr.; Malcolm George Baines, Dr.; Jake E. Barralet, Dr.; Jean Barrette, Prof.; Suzelle Barrington, Dr.; Francois Barthelat, Prof.; Nicole Beauchemin, Dr.; Jacqueline C. Bede, Dr.; Fiona Bedford, Dr.; Robin Beech, Prof.; Graham Bell, Prof.; Sarita Benchimol; Chawki Benkelfat, Dr.; Elena Bennett, Dr.; Gary J. Bennett, Dr.; Hugh P.J. Bennett, Dr.; John J.M. Bergeron, Dr.; Albert Berghuis, Dr.; Jeffrey Bergthorson, Prof.; Dimitrios Berk, Prof.; Daniel Bernard, Dr.; David Bird, Prof.; Saverio Biunno, Mr.; Vilceu Bordignon; Christian Bouchard; Maxime Bouchard, Dr.; Pascal Bourseguin, Mr.; Derek Bowie, Dr.; Andrew Boyd, Prof.; Philip E. Branton, Dr.; Peter Erich Braun, Dr.; Jennifer Marie Brecht, Ms; Mathieu Brochu, Prof.; Gary Brouhard; Daina Brumelis; Sonia Bujold; Thomas Bureau, Prof.; David H Burns, Prof; M. Catherine Bushnell, Dr.; Howard Bussey, Prof.; I.S. Butler, Dr.; Radan Capek, Dr.; Fernando Cervero, Dr.; Maurice Chacron, Dr.; Colin Chalk, Dr.; Tak-Hang Chan, Dr.; Colin Chapman, Prof.; Lauren Chapman, Prof.; Ronald Chase, Prof.; Martin Chénier, Dr.; Richard Chromik, Prof.; Vincent H. Chu, Prof.; Yogita Chudasama, Dr.; Grant Clark, Dr.; Paul Clarke, Dr.; Terence Coderre, Dr.; Monroe W. Cohen; Brian Collier, Dr.; Erik Cook, Dr.; David G. Cooper, Prof.; Ellis Cooper, Dr.; Gonzalo Cosa, Dr.; Isabelle Cossette, Dr; Sylvain Coulombe, Prof.; James W. Coulton, Dr.; Benoit Cousineau, Dr.; Roger I. Cue, Dr.; Claudio Cuello, Dr.; Kathleen E. Cullen, Dr.; Luciano Cusmich, Mr.; Andrey Cybulsky, Dr.; John Pius Dalton, Prof.; Masad J. Damha, Dr.; Eugene Daniels, Dr.; David Dankort, Dr.; Michel Daoust, Mr.; Jonathan Davies, Dr.; Elaine Caroline Davis, Dr; John M. Dealy, Prof.; David Dedeyne; Mario Della Neve; George P. Demopoulos, Prof.; Joseph Dent, Prof.; Ken Dewar, Dr.; Rajinder Dhindsa, Prof.; Matt Dobbs, Prof.; Becky Dolan; Danielle Donnelly, Dr.; Josée Dostie; W.J. Murray Douglas, Prof.; Brian Driscoll, Dr.; Bernardo Oscar Dubrovsky, Dr.; Thomas Duchaine; Raj Duggavathi; Gary Brian Dunphy, Dr.; Pierre Dutilleul, Prof.; Florence Dzierszinski, Prof.; Grace Egeland, Dr.; Adi Eisenberg, Dr.; Peter Enright; Frank R. Ervin, Dr.; Byung Chan Eu, Dr.; Francois Fagotto; Frank Ferrie, Prof.; James Finch, Prof.; John Finkenbine, Dr.; Elizabeth Fixman, Dr.; Marc Fortin, Prof; Sylvie Fournier, Dr.; Keith Franklin, Dr.; Dominic Frigon, Prof.; W. Robert J. Funnell, Prof.; Gregor Fussmann, Prof.; Robert Gagnon; Henrietta Galiana, Prof.; William C. Galley, Dr.; Imed Gallouzi, Dr.; Susan Gaskin, Prof.; Jean-Marc Gauthier; Raynald Gauvin, Prof.; Timothy Geary, Prof.; Ronald Gehr, Prof.; Kalle Burgess Gehring, Dr.; Elias Georges, Prof.; Subhasis Ghoshal, Prof.; Dennis Giannacopoulos, Prof.; Vincent Giguère, Dr.; Mladen Glavinovic, Dr.; James Gleason, Dr.; Gabriella Gobbi, Dr.; David Goltzman, Dr.; Andrew Gonzalez, Prof.; Yukiori Goto, Dr.; Matthias Gotte, Dr.; Jim Gourdon, Dr.; Derek G. Gray, Dr.; Katherine Gray-Donald, Dr.; David M. Green, Dr.; Michael Greenwood, Mr; Irene Gregory-Eaves, Prof.; Philippe Gros, Dr.; Samantha Gruenheid, Dr.; Laura Fiorita; Ali Pejmun Haghighi, Dr.; Barbara Hales, Dr.; Qutayba Hamid, Dr.; Mark Hancock; John W. Hanrahan, Dr.; Paul Harrison, Prof.; Ferri Hassani, Prof.; Christina Haston, Dr.; Allan Hay, Dr.; John F. Hayes, Dr.; Terry Hebert, Dr.; Siegfried Hekimi, Prof.; William H. Hendershot, Dr.; Janet E. Henderson, Dr.; Andrew Hendry, Dr.; Louis Hermo, Dr.; Andrew Higgins, Prof.; Reghan J. Hill, Prof.; Jing Hu, Dr.; Pascal Hubert, Prof.; Murray Humphries; Mihaiela Isac, Dr.; Ashraf A. Ismail, Dr.; Mimi Israel, Dr.; Suha Jabaji, Dr.; Armando Jardim, Prof.; Bertrand Jean-Claude, Dr.; Michael Jemtrud, Prof.; Timothy Johns, Dr.; John Joseph Jonas, Prof.; Elizabeth Jones; Russell Jones, Dr.; Steven Jordan, Dr.; David Juncker, Prof.; In-Ho Jung, Prof.; Mari Kaartinen, Dr.; Ashok K. Kakkar, Dr.; David Kalant, Mr.; Musa R. Kamal, Prof.; Patanjali Kambhampati, Dr.; Salwa Karboune, Dr; Robert Kearney, Prof.; Selim Kermasha, Dr.; Sarah Kimmins, Dr.; Peter Kirby, Mr.; Andrew Kirk, Prof.; Robert Kok, Dr.; Maia Kokoeva, Dr.; Svetlana Komarova, Dr.; Georges Kopp, Mr.; Kristine G. Koski, Dr.; Rudiger Krahe, Dr.; George J Kubes, Dr; Stan Kubow, Dr.; Harriet V. Kuhnlein, Dr.; Urs Kuhnlein, Dr.; Ajjamada Kushalappa, Dr.; Fabrice Labeau, Prof.; Nathalie Lamarche-Vane, Dr.; Raymond Langlois; Louise Larose, Dr.; Hans Larsson, Dr.; Paul F. Lasko, Prof.; Normand Lavoie, Mr.; Herve Le Moual, Dr.; Richard Leask, Prof.; Martin Lechowicz, Prof.; Byong Lee, Dr.; H. Timothy Lee, Prof.; John H.S. Lee, Prof.; Mark Lefsrud, Dr.; Serge Lemay, Dr.; Tho Le-Ngoc, Prof.; R. Bruce Lennox, Dr.; Larry Lessard, Prof.; Brian Leung, Prof.; David J. Lewis, Dr.; Marco Leyton, Dr.; Anne Marie L’Heureux; Chao-Jun Li, Dr.; Shan-Lu Liu, Dr.; Mara Ludwig, Dr.; Gergely Lukacs, Dr; Chandra A. Madramootoo, Dr.; Danielle Malo, Dr.; Orval A. Mamer, Prof.; Craig Mandato, Dr.; Robert Marchessault, Dr.; Gregory Marczynski, Dr.; Domnica Marghescu, Ms.; Milan Maric, Prof.; William D. Marshall, Dr.; James G Martin, Dr; Julio Martinez-Trujillo, Dr.; Greg Matlashewski, Dr.; Lynn Matsumiya, Dr.; Dusica Maysinger, Dr.; Bruce Mazer, Dr.; Stephen Edward McAdams, Prof; Christine McCusker, Dr.; Marc D. McKee, Prof.; Anne McKinney, Dr.; Edward McKyes, Dr.; Anna McNicoll; David Meek, Mr.; Paul Meldrum, Mr.; Zetian Mi, Prof.; Antonio Micozzi; Greg Miller, Dr.; Sandra Miller, Dr.; M. Saeed Mirza, Prof.; Arun Misra, Prof.; Denis Mitchell, Prof.; Hani Mitri, Prof.; Anthony Mittermaier, Dr.; Jeffrey Mogil, Dr.; Nicolas Moitessier, Dr.; Humberto Monardes, Dr.; Rosaire Mongrain, Prof.; Nam-Sung Moon; Tim Moore, Prof.; Carlos Morales, Dr.; Frederick Morin, Dr.; Jacopo Mortola, Dr; Khosro Mousavi, Mr.; William Muller, Dr.; Robert Murgita, Dr.; Monzur Murshed, Dr.; Sam Musallam, Dr.; Arif Mustafa, Dr.; Jay L. Nadeau, Prof.; Karim Nader, Prof; Bhushan Nagar, Dr.; Showan N. Nazhat, Prof.; Alain Nepveu, Dr.; Michael Ngadi, Dr.; Van Thanh Van Nguyen, Prof.; Laura Nilson, Prof.; Donald Niven, Dr.; Martin Olivier, Dr.; Sasha Omanovic; John Orlowski, Dr.; Valérie Orsat, Dr.; Ante L. Padjen, Dr.; Mary Fiorilli-St-Germain; Roberta Palmour, Dr.; Maria Panaritou, Ms.; Marilene Paquet, Dr.; Florence Paray, Dr.; Joel Paris, Dr.; Morag Park, Dr.; Arnim Pause, Dr.; Mihriban Pekguleryuz, Prof.; Jerry Pelletier, Dr.; Leroy Phillip, Dr.; Ciriaco Piccirillo, Dr.; Gerald Pollack, Prof.; Michael Porritt, Mr.; Barry I. Posner, Dr.; Catherine Potvin, Prof.; William S. Powell, Prof.; Satya Prakash, Prof.; Shiv Prasher, Dr.; Neil Price, Prof.; Roger Prichard, Prof.; Marek Przykorski, Mr.; Thomas Quinn; Peter Radziszewski, Prof.; Vijaya Raghavan, Dr.; Hosahalli S. Ramaswamy, Dr.; Dieter Reinhardt, Dr.; Linda Reven, Dr.; Paula Ribeiro, Prof.; Alfredo Ribeiro-da-Silva, Dr.; Anthony Ricciardi, Dr.; Monique Riendeau; Guy Rimmer, Mr.; Bernard Robaire, Dr.; Martin Rochette, Prof.; Colin Rogers, Prof.; Petra Rohrbach, Prof.; David S. Rosenblatt, Dr.; Richard Rossi, Mr.; Isabelle Rouiller; Simon Rousseau, Dr; Richard Roy, Prof.; Reza Salavati, Prof.; Maya Saleh, Dr.; Eric Salin, Dr.; Frieder Schöck, Prof.; Marilyn Scott, Prof.; Philippe Seguin, Dr.; Gale Seiler, Dr.; Patrick Selvadurai, Prof.; Phillip Servio, Prof.; Yixin Shao, Prof.; Inna Sharf, Prof.; Gordon Shore, Dr.; Alvin Shrier, Dr.; Kaleem Siddiqi, Prof.; Peter Siegel, Dr.; Pieter Sijpkes; John R. Silvius, Dr.; Benjamin K. Simpson, Dr.; Jaswinder Singh, Dr; Rob Sladek; Hanadi Sleiman, Dr.; Donald Smith, Dr.; Richard Smith, Mr.; Nahum Sonenberg, Dr.; David Speller; Terence William Spithill, Prof; Manon St. Louis, Ms.; Katrine A. Stewart, Dr.; Ursula Stochaj, Dr.; Laura Stone, Dr.; Ian Strachan, Dr.; Martina Stromvik, Dr.; Bjorn Sundby, Dr.; Thomas Szkopek, Prof.; Moshe Szyf, Dr.; Maryam Tabrizian, Prof.; Tomoko Takano, Dr.; Jason Tanny; Jose Teodoro, Dr.; Bahgat G. Tewfik; Louise Thibault, Dr.; David Y. Thomas, Dr.; Evgeny Timofeev, Prof.; Elena Torban, Dr; Simon Tran, Dr.; Michel L. Tremblay, Dr.; Normand Trempe, Mr.; Youla Tsantrizos, Prof.; Nathalie Tufenkji, Dr.; Theodorus G.M. van de Ven, Dr.; Frederik R. Van de Voort, Dr.; Srikar Vengallatore, Prof.; Juan Vera, Prof.; Silvia Vidal, Dr.; Claire Vigeant; Joseph Vincelli; Jacalyn Vogel, Prof.; Kevin Wade, Dr.; Marcia J. Waterway, Dr.; Alan K. Watson, Dr.; Douglas Watt, Dr.; Hope Weiler, Dr.; Tamara Western, Prof.; Joann Whalen, Dr.; Ivor Wharf, Dr; John H. White, Dr.; Norman White; Michael Anthony Whitehead, Dr.; Grazyna Wilczek, Dr.; Simon Wing, Dr.; Paul Wiseman, Prof.; Wayne Wood; Linda Wykes, Dr.; Yojiro Yamanaka, Dr; Xiang-Jiao Yang, Dr.; Viviane Yargeau, Prof.; Varoujan Yaylayan, Dr.; Jason C. Young, Dr.; Simon N. Young, Dr.; Stephen Yue, Prof.; David Zadworny, Dr.; Aghdas Zamani; Shahin Zangenehpour, Dr; Maria Zannis-Hadjopoulos, Dr.; Rachid Zerrouki; Monique Zetka, Prof.; Ji Zhang, Dr; Xin Zhao, Dr.; Hugo (Huanquan) Zheng, Prof.; Hans H. Zingg, Dr.; claudia.wever@mcgill.ca; Eve Bigras; Mark Romer, Mr.; Jennifer Ritchie, Miss; Carmelo Milo, Mr; Karine Gamache, Ms; Sylvie Gravel, Ms; jessica.fox@mcgill.ca; normand.lavoie@mcgill.ca; Rosetta Pantano, Mrs; Severine Audusseau, Ms; Julie Guay, Ms; Chunwei Huang, Ms.; Trang Luu, Ms.; Johanne Ouellette, Ms.; Viviane Pagé, Ms.; Adriana Ducatenzeiler, Ms.; Dominic Devost, Dr; Phan Trieu, Ms.; Johanne Théberge, Ms.; Francois Charron, Mr.; Ying Wang, Ms.; Annie Constantin, Ms.; Van Vn Nguyen, Mrs.; dominguezls@hotmail.com; Francis Rodriguez Bambico, Mr; Claire Turbide, Miss; Yaned Patricia Gaitan; Barry Sleno, Mr; Andre Laferriere, Mr; Albena Davidova; Mai Nguyen, Dr; Amy Ho Yee Wong, Miss; Normand Groulx, Mr; Sergio Di Marco, Mr; Colin Lister, Mr.; Isabelle Harvey, Ms; Carol Miyamoto, Ms; Annie Boucher, Mrs.; Annick Michelle Guyot, Dr; Claire Brown, Dr.; Zun Chang Liu, Dr.; ana.palijan@mcgill.ca; Tian Tian Wang, Dr.; Neola Matusiewicz, Ms.; Brigitte Pie, Ms.; christopher.schuetze@mcgill.ca; Loc Bui, Mr; Lina Naso; Eduardo Pereira, Mr.; valerie.hay@mcgill.ca; christopher.ngthowhing@mcgill.ca; dmonic.martel@mcgill.ca; Wen Wei Zhang; Josée Chabot; danice.albert@mail.mcgill.ca; Danica Albert; jin-song.chen@mcgill.ca; Cindy Baldwin, Mrs; Joan Papillon, Miss; Lamine Aoudjit, Mr; Jennifer Wallace; Emilia Antecka, Ms; alfred.cuellar@mcgill.ca; You Nan Liu, Mr; shanxunying@hotmail.com; Alanna Smith, Ms.; Hershey Warshawsky, Dr.; Bama Dayanandan, Ms.; Aisha Mousa, Ms; sksears@eps.mcgill.ca; Nathalie Bedard, Ms; Vilayphone Luangrath, Ms; Lydia Vladimera Malynowsky, Ms; jibinzeng@hotmail.com; william-tyler.tran@mcgill.ca; Christine Fagotto-Kaufmann, Ms.; Yi He, Dr; delorme_danielle@hotmail.com; Robert L’Heureux, Mr.; rachel.bissonnette@staff.mcgill.ca; sarah.james@mcgill.ca; John Bartczak, Mr.; christopher.martoni@mcgill.ca; Ross Wagner, Dr.; Anna Louise Hillberg, Dr; glenna@eps.mcgill.ca; geochem@eps.mcgill.ca; artas@eps.mcgill.ca; constance@eps.mcgill.ca; donb@eps.mcgill.ca; lang@eps.mcgill.ca; donp@ece.mcgill.ca; vahid@cim.mcgill.ca; yiannis@cim.mcgill.ca; Joshua David Schwartz, Mr; shih@ece.mcgill.ca; cprachacs@cim.mcgill.ca; Frank Caporuscio, Mr.; Andres Graffe; Leonie Rouleau, Ms; Kathleen Dickson, Mrs; stefano.stefani@mcgill.ca; lyne.bourbonniere@mcgill.ca; tphilie@yahoo.com; Frederic Marion; icasti1@po-box.mcgill.ca; Hee Eon Park, Mr; Ellie L McCrea, Ms; Farzaneh Jalili; Wael Dabboussi, Mr; Sam Goroshin, Dr.; Stuart Price, Dr.; Jonathan Laliberte; Ziwei Li, Dr.; Lynda Mainville, Ms.; Julie Coursol, Mlle; ivan.skelin@mail.mcgill.ca; Nella Serluca, Ms; Claude Guerin; Christian Therrien, Dr.; levine@cim.mcgill.ca; clark@cim.mcgill.ca; jer@cim.mcgill.ca; cathy@cim.mcgill.ca; xqma@cim.mcgill.ca; wjgross@ece.mcgill.ca; rose@ece.mcgill.ca; kabal@ece.mcgill.ca; champagne@ece.mcgill.ca; leibh@ece.mcgill.ca; farzad.jalilian@mcgill.ca; Luis Enrique Calzado, Dr.; Pierre Vermette; Helen Campbell; hilke@physics.mcgill.ca; liuxd@physics.mcgill.ca; crawford@physics.mcgill.ca; vincentp@physics.mcgill.ca; orchard@ugrad.physics.mcgill.ca; Steve Godbout; heinzek@physics.mcgill.ca; leo@physics.mcgill.ca; Richard Talbot; bourqueh@physics.mcgill.ca; Paul Mercure; Matthieu Nannini, Dr.; Michel Beauchamp; Dominic H. Ryan, Prof.; Slawomir Poplawski; jan.vanheiningen@elf.mcgill.ca; Alain Gagnon, Mr.; Behnam Azadi; Donna Leggee, Ms.; Evan Nitschmann, Mr.; Sedigheh Zarayan; Ebrahim Noroozi, Mr.; Darwin Lyew, Dr.; tgachovska@yahoo.com; Yvan Gariepy, Mr; Terry A. Wheeler, Dr.; Helene Lalande, Ms.; Sung Hun Yi; Jacqueline Sedman, Ms; quedebijoux@hotmail.com; tyuan2@mail.mcgill.ca; claudia.maios@mcgill.ca; Kathy Keller, Ms.; Normand Cyr; apilar@po-box.mcgill.ca; mleimanis@hotmail.com; Jenny Eng; natalie.clairoux@mcgill.ca; Gaetan Mario Faubert, Prof.; plee@po-box.mcgill.ca; Serghei Dernovici, Mr.; Akinbode Adeyemi Adedeji, Mr; miron.teshler@mcgill.ca; Antsar Rih Hlil, Ms; Mykola Kondratenko, Mr; Csacs Chemistry; daniel.black@mcgill.ca; alisonlpalmer@hotmail.com; Tony Azzam, Dr; Annie Castonguay, Dr; Rami Hourani, Mr; Blythe Fortier-Mcgill; Frank Rothwell, Mr; Patricia Dawn MacLeod, Ms; Janice Lawandi, Miss; Wayne Mah, Mr; kylie.luska@mcgill.ca; ashenhurst@gleason.chem.mcgill.ca; Badawy Sha’ath, Mr.; samual.sewell@mail.mcgill.ca; robertdonga@hotmail.com; william.gallet@mcgill.ca; Roya Mortazavi, Ms; Louis Godbout, Mr; simona@lennox.chem.mcgill.ca; gregory.chauve@mcgill.ca; Thomas Dominic Lazzara; fred.morin@mcgill.ca; zhicheng.xia@mcgill.ca; Tara Sprules, Dr.; Magda Akadiri, Ms; Seyed Hashemi-Aghchehboody, Mr; lajones27@gmail.com; Caroline LeBlond, Ms.; Damon Kiperchuk, Mr.; Heather Barwick; Sharen Roland; wei.li8@mail.mcgill.ca; Renée Bernatchez; donna.sinett1@mail.mcgill.ca; Pamela H Cameron, Miss; David Logan Burk, Dr; Luc Choiniere; Line Roy; Angelika Rosenauer, Miss; jessica.rothman@mcgill.ca; marie-eve.carrier@mcgill.ca; Christiane Lacombe; Robert Morawski, Mr; fortunato.manganaro@mcgill.ca; jing.j.li@mcgil.ca; Caroline Thivierge, Ms; Mary E Sutherland, Miss; anil.kamar@mcgill.ca; Shaolin Li; Guillaume Lesage, M; Elke Küster-Schöck; Geraldine Grace Gabriel, Ms; janice.lawando@mcgill.ca; Tahereh Mousavand, Dr; Victor Dumas, Mr; huan.chau_pham_dang@staff.mcgill.ca; mckenzie@eps.mcgill.ca; Mykola Kondratenko, Mr; rochao_uv@hotmail.com; rochoa_uv@hotmail.com; Stanley Henry, Mr.; Robert Paquette; george.karpati@mcgill.ca; tang.luu@mcgill.ca; Ian Lorentz; sylvia/levine@mcgill.ca; Sylvia Levine; julie.berube@mcgill.ca; nadim.sadde@mcgill.ca; Philippe Tetreault-Pinard, M; Pierre Hudon; Roxana L Atanasiu, Dr; Majid Ghahremani, Mr.; Johanne Bourdon; Severine Audusseau, Ms; Claudia Wever, Miss; Caterina Russo, Mrs; Jessica Fox; Normand Lavoie, Mr.; Nedjma Baya Zitouni, Dr; Greg Miller, Dr.; Jean-Francois Theberge, Mr; Dennis T Takayesu, Mr; Sergio Di Marco, Mr; Rose Szittner, Mrs; Yolande Bastien, Ms.; Lisa Krawec, Ms.; Marceline Côté, Mlle; Dana Murchison; Ronald Sheppard, Mr.; Carole Emilie Baddour, Ms; Dominic Sauvageau, Mr; Carol Allen; Sam Goroshin, Dr.; Gary Savard; Bantwal Rabindranath Baliga, Prof.; Brigitte Dionne, Ms.; Mariette Lavallée, Ms.; Julie Alice Boyle; Mario Della Neve; Raymond Langlois; Ian Strachan, Dr.; Anwer Ali Ayad; Atef Nassar, Mr.; Serghei Dernovici, Mr.; Gordon Bingham, Mr.; Ebrahim Noroozi, Mr.; Salwa Karboune, Dr; Kamaleldin Bashir Said, Mr; Paula Kestelman; Mike Dalva; Annie Dorris, Mlle; Annie Dorris, Mlle; David Duford; Inna Perepichka, Dr; Alexander Sean Wahba, Mr; Joan Power, Dr.; Normand Trempe, Mr.; Alfred Kluck, Mr.

Her censorship exposes a still not answered letter to her mailed on April 1, 2011:

From: poplawski slawomir <slavekpop@yahoo.com>
To: heather.munroe.blum@mcgill.ca
Cc: susan.aberman@mcgill.ca
Sent: Fri, April 1, 2011 10:19:50 AM
Subject: McGill recently censored your Town Hall meeting of March 11, 2011

Montreal, March 31, 2011

Prof. Munroe-Blum,

I want to inform you that somebody at McGill recently censored your Town Hall meeting of March 11, 2011. He/she/they removed my question addressed to you taking 2 minutes and 57 seconds. Exactly this length of the recording is extracted after the 42nd minute from the webcast. The tape of 1h 27:49 min was available until my latest publication in Daily http://www.mcgilldaily.com/201… . The present length is 1h 24:52 min what means 3.6% reduction and see at: http://bcooltv.mcgill.ca/Viewe…

I assume that you are not aware of this. If requested, I can provide you this cut part for your comparison. McGill needs more dialogues instead of new overreacting censors and only your personal intervention can guarantee implementing such policies.
Regards,

Slawomir Poplawski   <slavekpop@yahoo.com>

See also these links:

1). http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2011/03/let-us-democratically-elect-mcgill%E2%80%99s-next-principal/

2). http://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/1466 ,

3). http://www.delitfrancais.com/2011/03/15/town-hall-agite/

This letter below was emailed to over 100 McGill senators on May 18, 2011:

May 18, 2011
Dear Colleagues,
Life at McGill is becoming more stressful and our community is feeling forced to accept many problematic changes. At the same time, fear and gossip are replacing open debates; people are quickly adopting a cautious approach when sharing information and opinions about crucial issues concerning their work. Similarly evaporating are the Senate/BoG’s discussions and responses to challenging questions from the floor. At these difficult times we can’t help by refresh our memories of senators like Prof. S. Noumoff, Prof. A. Paré and others who have bravely worked to protect the respectful treatment of our community. Here is a sample from his many recorded questions: “Professor Noumoff asked the following supplementary question: Are we to assume then, that the Provost believes that it is appropriate to make decisions in an arbitrary and capricious manner, in a way that does not permit the person being judged to know what standard it is that they should meet?”
McGill is systematically converting itself into an authoritarian institution with limited freedom of speech. A couple of years ago, it was impossible to imagine such rude and unprofessional treatment of professors and researchers, but now it is accepted and nobody protests. Last year more than 700 members assigned to the “Hazardous Material Management Project” openly discussed, over a weekend, the nonsense administrative decisions pertaining to this topic. Instead of answers to their legitimate concerns and suggestions, the whole group was scorned by two Vice-Principals. They accused renowned and hard working professors of sending a “flurry of emails”, in number “of over 25,000”, and depicted this as “not a productive use of anybody’s time”. It was done without appreciating that the most productive researchers are also in labs/offices during weekends when the top administration rests. In fact it was these extra hours of work (distinguishing truly successful researchers from our relaxed administration) that allowed for the discussion to last from late Friday afternoon until Monday morning: something unrecorded by the authorities.
Who appointed these administrators and instructed them to act so harshly? Who can currently voice professors’ reflections when even the McGill “Reporter” stopped publishing letters/opinions from the community six years ago which. When does the senate have a voice?
I addressed these matters to one professor, who after my latest letter to Senate’s and BoG’s members (see at the end) gave me this advice: “If you are able to open debate and reflection at McGill keep your mouth shut”. He explained to me that people here are not used to open discussions (which I try to instigate) and instead prefer more discrete coordinated group actions that allegedly work better. This person also informed me that after such an initiative, a powerful departmental chair was forced to resign (effective May 31, 2011). He was parachuted about two years ago by a dean from one of the biggest McGill faculties. I am skeptical about this example, as it stirs intrigue instead of an open democratic process, but it is worth reporting. After verification, it appears that most people believe that democratic two voting ousting was the cause of his parting with McGill – the minority believing it was his self resignation. In any case let us wait for the official version that the administration will now be forced to announce.
20 months ago the incoming chair received the highest salary, as well as a costly move from abroad, after being deemed a distinguished professor. It was done against the will of professors who earlier elected someone else to be their chair. McGill paid an enormous price after riskily employing, for strictly manipulative reasons, the best paid professors from outside into a permanent position. The problem is that professors recruited in this way only later realize that they are playing the role of external administrators (or literally of Trojan horses) implementing repressive policies from above. In a very similar scenario the top librarian (with her unqualified husband installed as the bookstore’s director) left McGill last year. It is crucial to notice that this pattern occurs so often at McGill. The dean now accepts the enforced resignation the departmental chair that was hired by himself in similar circumstances. This dean replaced a popular local candidate earlier elected by over one-hundred professors in an important research oriented faculty. It was ordered by the principal who came from another university and did not want to deal with a strong dean-partner that protected the interest of its faculty. Of course, after such brutally enforced replacement the alien dean also did not feel secure and in a domino effect ordered costly replacements of the almost all chairs in his faculty.
Such parachuted administrators are not only better paid, but also extremely well protected when they later face problems. This protection is expressed by generous severance checks if they are asked to leave silently or by extended protection from above if the problems or scandals they caused are still manageable. We should remember our Provost’s personal letter to our community defending the troubled dean (by “sex allegation”) about two years ago.
Sadly, exactly the same developments are seen in other universities.
We should pay attention to the growing picture that educational institutions push to implement rules of plutocracy – all with a backdrop of eroding democracy and a concentrating financial power. The priority on the political scene is to protect the interests of corporations and their representatives. It explains the government’s silent acceptation of the skyrocketing salaries of the universities’ top administrators and recognizing them as a separate class of specialized CEOs acting similarly to politicians. The governments prefer to deal with uniformly ruled universities as interacting with monopolized media or key corporations that control insurances, banks, pharmaceutical industry, drugstore etc.
Consistently with the progressing centralization there emerges a class of trained functionaries to play role of the top executives who supervise the administration of the major governmental and private structures. Among them are also included the universities’ notables. So far, nobody dared to categorize it as an emerging “globalized nomenclature system” that slowly but surely establishes narrow groups of people as the only candidates for key social and professional positions. I was surprised that one of the best-known professors treated this interpretation as something obvious to themselves. This issue is quite complex and probably worth a separate discussion. I only mentioned it for enriching our ongoing discussion about a proposed more open election of our next principal.
Some opponents of this proposal told me that open debates with the principal candidates will eliminate participation of the mentioned above “nomenclature” promoted by the BOG. These networked people do not want to be known to the public as the participants in the selection procedures. It’s only the winners who do not mind being treated like famous soccer stars after expensive transfers. This implies never admitting participation in un-finalized moves. That is why our community is never allowed to know about all the candidates, as well as their order during and after selection of McGill principals. It is only known that during the last of the selections, better placed candidates refused McGill and instead of dynamic changes our slow BOG agree to lower standards of the third candidate. I strongly believe that McGill can easily break from these inflexible and secretive habits and announce to the world its readiness to openly elect the next principal. It will represent change and elevate McGill’s position as a truly evolving educational institution that is able to oppose manipulated politics and support openness. Allegedly George Orwell once said, “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”.
McGill’s finances are now insecure. Without constantly increased PR expenses our boosted aureole of greatness will quickly disappear. The importance of selecting a balanced principal with strong ethical values is unquestionable. At stake is breaking the vicious cycle of costly expenses and scandals which ruin reputations. True Biblical Plagues can be imposed upon McGill with progressively more serious consequences after not critically vetting all the candidates for the top position. We must be fully aware how costly the hiring and firing of so many of the higher-ranking administrators was. The French press reported only two such cases with a price tag over $1.5 million. I recall about 11 abruptly replaced principals, 4 deans and about 13 chairs. The numbers are probably higher and a truer picture will inform further discussions. We should remember many famous professors who were costly ‘imported” from the best research centers and treated like Nobelists and went on to only stay 1-2 years before running away after experiencing McGill’s bureaucracy and inconsistent policies. These add a lot to the budget’s losses. Three people discussed this issue over a year ago and in their estimation the wasted money varied between $25 – 40 million for the last 7 years. We must also remember the issued controversial extra payments to keep professors in an MBA program. In effect, it not only caused a governmental fine of around $2.1 million after rising 900% tuition fees, but also mobilized more ambitious and self-respecting professors in other fields to formulate similar demands. A Pandora’s Box with escalating monetary demands has already opened.
In terms of recent news, we should pay attention to this year’s unusual announcement concerning the possible reappointment of a Dean of Medicine earning over $ 0.5 million/year: “submit (comments) by Monday, February 21, 2011. All submissions will be destroyed upon completion of the advisory process”. This declaration about destroying documents was never used before in reappointing and appointing procedures and this opens doors for much manipulation. Now it will be never possible to verify what was sent and why 7 weeks later we were informed that the present dean “has decided not to seek reappointment”. Opinions such as, “he opposed the principal” or “questionably used his computer” can emerge. This person will never be able to protect its good name. How tricky is the present administration?
His replacement will be extremely costly with many repercussions. There are also other categories of costs. This top case “resignation” of lower ranked of similarly parachuted administrators, and mentioned at the beginning, shows the human tragedies caused by the manipulative treatment of people. I asked many members of our community about these two administrators and nobody said a bad word about them. It seems that they were simply lured into a very difficult situation after coming from outside. I know very well what people can feel when forced to leave offices in secrecy and not allowed to express openly their true opinions.
The message is that all the higher-ranking administrators coming from outside to McGill need to contact earlier and more directly with our community. It means that the proposed open debates with the candidates for the principal’s position are in everyone’s best interest. Also in the best interest of the McGill community will be demands that the local candidates participate in the election on equal terms with the external competitors.
Sincerely,
Slawomir Poplawski (Mining Department)

P.S. The previous letter to senate (April 27, 2011) can be viewed at: https://spoplawski.wordpress.com/ at this post “McGill University – Let us try to search earlier for the next principal: part 1”
Please send your opinions to: slavekpop@yahoo.com or post comments on the blog https://spoplawski.wordpress.com/