August 30, 2011
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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