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CANADIAN PROFESSORS STRIKE FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM

Richard Gordon gordonr at cc.UManitoba.CA
Fri Nov 3 08:39:03 EST 1995


The cancellation was because we overposted. There are 1000 of us on 
strike, each walking picket lines 2 hrs/day. Today the snow is thick and 
it's -17 deg C. Please send more letters of support. They help keep us 
warm. See below, and recirculate this selectively. (We don't want to 
become an Internet nuisance.) -Dick Gordon[Nov.3,95]

On Thu, 2 Nov 1995, Jim Manhart wrote:

> In article <DH4IGI.s0 at midway.uchicago.edu>, mg16 at midway.uchicago.edu wrote:
> 
> >         Given that the initial post, which I saw in all the bionet.*
> > newsgroups on my site earlier on Friday, 27 October 1995, has apparently
> > been CANCELLED, one wonders whether this faculty strike issue is a hoax,
> > or something the UManitoba administrators have censored.
> 
> 
> 
> You can get an update at "http://www.Xpressnet.com/umfa/"
> 
> -- 
> Jim Manhart 
> Dept. of Biology
> Texas A&M University
> College Station, TX 77843-3258
> email:  J-Manhart at tamu.edu
> 
SUBJECT: CANADIAN PROFESSORS STRIKE FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM

On October 17, 1995 Professors at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, 
Canada, went on strike in a bid to stop their administration (fully 
supported by a Conservative provincial government) from destroying 
academic freedom at our university. This strike is not about money. UMFA 
(University of Manitoba Faculty Association) has already offered to 
accept reduced wages sufficient to meet the difficult financial 
circumstances. The government is demanding the right to downsize by 
laying off staff in any department in an arbitrary manner. The proposed 
changes to our contract would allow the administration to fire individual 
professors who are challenging conventional wisdom, academics who speak 
out on public issues, and faculty who criticize the administration. 

WE ARE A TEST CASE AND IF WE FAIL, YOUR UNIVERSITY COULD BE NEXT. PLEASE, 
GIVE US YOUR SUPPORT. 

For more information please consult http://www.xpressnet.com/umfa 
Letters of support to umfa at xpressnet.com
Letters of complaint to: Premier Gary Filmon FAX: 204-949-1484 
(preferred) 
or premier at leg.gov.mb.ca       ABOVE BEING SENT WORLDWIDE ON INTERNET
****************************************************************
From: Winnipeg Free Press (Canada), Wednesday, October 25, 1995, p. A11.
Condom critic fears reprisals
I'm one of those professors who does unpopular research, and thus needs 
the protection of academic freedom. (My 7 graduate students and I are, 
for instance, working on imaging methods for detecting small breast 
tumors, which are not enamored by the cancer establishment, and I'm the 
guy who showed that condoms are inadequate protection from AIDS, contrary 
to government advertisement [WFP March 7, 1987, p.7].) The UM [University 
of Manitoba] administration would like the right to pick me off as an 
individual, without explanation or meaningful appeal, which is why I'm on 
strike. 

I did a little snooping in the UM archives to see what was behind their 
claim of "no money". It certainly isn't lack of customers: from 1980 to 
1993 the number of students rose from 19,026 to 24,759, or 30%. There may 
have been a small dip recently (not yet published by the UM Office of 
Institutional Analysis), but the trend is up. Over this same time, the 
total faculty numbers increased from 1,273 to 1,289, or 1%, so we've 
increased our teaching efficiency in proportion. Meanwhile the number of 
administrators rose from 338 to 373, or 10%. That's 1 administrator 
watching over every 3.4 faculty sheep, quite a bit higher than our 
modern, slim corporations. I would have liked to read salary expenditures 
and recent raises for administrators, but they are (literally) a state 
secret, not part of the current round of UM budget cuts. I guess it's 
better to follow than to lead in these matters. As the once Dean of 
Medicine Arnold Naimark [now President] posted at the entrance to his 
office: "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; and those who can't 
teach become deans." Und so weiter*. But at least they're well paid for 
their efforts.

Now I've taught personalized classes of up to 250 students, and so-called 
"labs" designed originally for hands-on experience that consisted of 
showing old documentary video tapes, so I suppose our uncomplaining 
students don't mind a 30% increased class size every decade or so. Who's 
to notice? Cut our numbers by removing the loud mouths, put us on video 
tape, and the engine of higher education could run more smoothly, and 
quietly, and irrelevantly. Who needs us professors anyway, in a world 
where a high school education is enough. Or is it? Can we find a cure for 
breast cancer without higher education? Sure, try it! While you're at it, 
swallow that government line about "safer sex" being good enough.
Richard Gordon, Ph.D. [Professor of Radiology]         [*And so on: 
German & Yiddish]
[Adjunct Professor of Physics and Electrical & Computer Engineering]
[GordonR at cc.UManitoba.ca, (204) 787-1076, fax: (204) 783-8565]




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