Why I’m getting my PhD from the ‘University’ of Manitoba | James Delingpole

August 30, 2011

Gabor Lukacs: GUILTY of trying to maintain standards (pic: David Lipnowski)

Gabor Lukacs: GUILTY of trying to maintain standards (pic: David Lipnowski)

Hey, everybody, I’ll have none of that disrespectful “Mr Delingpole” from you lot any more. From now on it’s Dr Delingpole, got that? Though I admit I haven’t actually picked up my PhD yet, I can speak with considerable confidence that it’s in the bag. That’s because I’m planning to get my doctorate from the “University” of Manitoba, Canada. And just check out this story about what an enlightened attitude this august seat of learning has to people with “disabilities.”

The University of Manitoba said it is reviewing its policy on how to accommodate students with disabilities despite winning a victory in court this week over a controversial decision to grant a PhD to a student who failed his courses due to “extreme exam anxiety.”

Gábor Lukács, a former child math prodigy who started university at age 12 and was a professor by age 24, sued the university over its decision to grant the student, identified only in court documents as A.Z., a PhD in math although he had twice failed his comprehensive exams and was missing a graduate course.

Thursday, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Deborah McCawley rejected Mr. Lukács request that the court intervene and rescind the degree, saying he didn’t have standing to take the case to court.

The university had defended its decision, saying it was legally required to accommodate a student’s disability, in this case, exam anxiety.

Mr. Lukács had argued that the university had damaged its credibility and was at risk of turning into a “diploma mill,” a claim the judge said was “unsubstantiated.”

My disability, in case you wondered, is that I’m allergic to countries which are colder than England, which have big, beaver-infested lakes in them and where they pronounce “about” “aboot”. When I explain this to the “University” of Manitoba authorities, I’m sure they’ll grant me the necessary compassionate exemption from doing any work.

Has anyone else noticed the Last Days of the Roman Empire flavour to this story? Here we are living in times so intellectually decadent, so agonisingly in thrall to the suicidal values of the Gramsciite left, that in a toss up between a substandard, academic inadequate and a gifted professor genuinely committed to maintaining standards, the university choses to take the side of the inadequate.

The case, which dates back to 2009, has bitterly divided the school. Administrators suspended Mr. Lukács, now 29, for three months without pay last year after alleging that he had gone public with the student’s name and revealed private information about his disability.

Supporters of the professor launched an online petition, collecting nearly 200 names of students and academics from as far away as Israel. Another 86 mathematicians from around the world signed a letter of support. The university’s faculty association sided with Mr. Lukács, while the graduate students association applauded the school’s decision to suspend him.

Graduate students of the “University” of Manitoba, eh? What a bunch of intellectual heavyweights they must be.

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4 thoughts on “Why I’m getting my PhD from the ‘University’ of Manitoba”

  1. Frank Tavos says:30th August 2011 at 2:28 pmI have 2 degrees from the U of M. I think I’ll send them back in protest. I got them, however, in the 1970’s, before the rot had set in.
  2. Ryan says:30th August 2011 at 8:11 pmI agree with your article on this being ridiculous, to a point.If it is isolated, and the school strongly feels this young man was intelligent enough and had the aptitude required for Math to graduate, it is up to them. There are people out there that do suffer from exam anxiety. It has been proven that some people cannot write exams well. I used to ace all of my assignments, but then turned around and would flunk exams to a point the teachers wondered how it was possible I was the same student. They did tests on me, and discovered that if given the same exam orally (multiple choice — this was English) I would ace the test. But, sit me down to “read the test, then answer” changed the outcome. Now, this was when I was in grade 6, but, I do believe that in this particular case I was passed because they could prove I understood the material and would be fine in the “real world” of applying it.

    I don’t think everyone learns the same, it does not necessarily mean they are not as intelligent. So, while this is a touchy subject, I think if it is truly isolated for this man and the professors decided he was worth the Phd, then I suppose they other babies in the school whining about this, and draging someones name through the mud, should grow up.

  3. Manitoba Professor says:31st August 2011 at 2:40 amThe point is that the professors did not decide, they had offered to modify the exam to accommodate the student. However, the administrators simply waived the exam (in defiance of the recommendation from disability services) along with a required course that had not been completed. They then proceeded to falsify the Motion before Senate, which is the governing body of the University that grants the degree, when they failed to alert that body to their “accommodation.” When the degree was approved by Senate it was without any knowledge of the circumstances. Now the august Manitoba Court says we can do nothing about it, it is none of our business and universities may conduct their credentialing in whatever manner they chose, even when they commit fraud or act outside their jurisdiction. Decline of the Roman Empire indeed.
  4. Patrick says:31st August 2011 at 11:34 amI think I’ll stick with my Doctorate from the Unseen University. I actually had to answer three questions to get it. So now I hold the distinction of being “Doctorus Adamus cum Flabello Dulci” and entitled to eat big dinners and snooze in my study.I got a rather snazzy certificate with it as well …

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