Raelians ‘Mostly Harmless’ unless you’re CatholicRe: Editorial Jan. 20. Long before their latest cloning stunt, the Raelians attracted media attention for their anti-Catholic activities. In an article titled “Montreal schools try to ban anti-Catholic group” (October 2002), the CBC recounts how the Montreal Schools Commission has had to apply for a permanent injunction against the Raelians to protect their Catholic students from being harassed. This is a group which distributes vehemently anti-Catholic materials and has gone so far as to publicly burn crosses!Because of these activities, the Quebec Government’s Minister of Revenue, Guy Julien, has undertaken an investigation of the Raelians’ religious/charity status in that province. Of course the Raelians have the freedom to speak at U of T, but they must adhere to the laws of Canada and the university’s policies concerning distribution of materials likely to expose individuals of a specific group to hatred.Toronto Hate Crimes Squad and the university’s race relations office have been made aware of the potential for hate-mongering at this event. For the sake of tolerance and respect, let’s hope they stick to the issue of cloning.Michael ConnellCommunications DirectorCatholic Civil Rights LeagueCan the ’tude, Ms. Neuman
On Thursday Jan. 16, during one of the “Town Hall Meetings” organized to facilitate discussion of the University’s Green Paper on Academic Planning, the Provost, Shirley Neuman, responded to a question about the proposed change in the rate of tenure by telling the following anecdote: She had known a graduate student who wrote a good thesis. At some point, however, it became clear that the student was not as strong as Ms. Neuman and others believed her to be (the provost suggested that the woman’s supervisor had done too much to polish the thesis in question). Nevertheless, the student, now a job candidate, managed to charm members of the university at which she was interviewed for a tenure-track job. This charm seemed to have a lot to do with what Ms. Neuman referred to as “wiggling her pert little behind” when she bent over to pick something up during her job talk. The punch line of the story seemed to be that the woman was hired by the university in question, and owing to the high rate of tenure at this institution, she now has tenure and “they are stuck with her for thirty years.” The anecdote was presented as if it spoke for itself in answering the question about tenure policy. Tenure is a very serious issue and deserves scrutiny and careful consideration. The possibility that tenure policy at this university might be determined by someone whose understanding of the issues appears to have been shaped by a bitter and offensive personal contempt for one particular academic is astonishing. That this contempt should have anything to do with the woman in question’s “pert little behind” is mind-boggling. Shirley Neuman is the Provost and Vice-president of the University of Toronto and her anecdote, in my opinion, was completely inappropriate.A concerned faculty member,Name withheld for fear of professional recriminations