In case you haven't heard, this is what's been happening at the University of Manitoba. A professor protested the university's decision to award the doctoral degree to a student who failed his comprehensive exams twice. He also failed to complete the required graduate courses. The university bent over backwards in order to convince itself that the student should be accommodated. Requirements were lowered, comprehensive exams were waived, undergrad courses were accepted as if they were graduate courses with no extra work involved. The brave professor who protested this insanity was ostracized and punished. He was suspended for three months without pay just for believing that a PhD degree has to be earned. What a monster.
This craziness perpetrated and defended by the University of Manitoba (which used to be a respectable institution of higher learning)
led Prof. Lukacs to seek a court injunction in September against the awarding of the PhD. In doing so, the university alleges he continued his “insubordination” and “harassment,” and violated the student’s privacy by filing court documents that refer to the anxiety disorder. For this, Prof. Lukacs was suspended without pay for the rest of the year, a penalty his union is contesting. A threat of further punishment followed his filing of a supporting affidavit from a colleague. The doctorate was in fact awarded to the student, and so in some ways the case is now moot, even as its next court date looms later this month.Imagine that. The only professor on campus who still remembers what the words "academic standards" refer to is accused of "insubordination." Apparently, the university's administration feels they are a military institution or something like that. They forget that it is supposed to be a professors job to have opinions and even - oh, horror! - voice them from time to time.
I have observed a while ago this tendency towards handing out degrees to complete ignoramuses who barely know how to read. What we need to remember is that, in its push to reward incompetence, stupidity and laziness, the administrators effectively rob their current, past and future students. As their degree begins having an ever-lessening value, alumni and current students of the University of Manitoba and other similar institutions will have nobody else to blame but their administrators who have been handing out degrees to every passing idiot and punishing those who have the courage to question this insanity.
Shame on you, University of Manitoba, for doing so much to lower the standards of the system of higher learning in Canada. Shame on you for making Canadian degrees (including mine) an international joke.
* Thanks to my reader V., a professor in Canada, who sent me the link to this article.