A Student Response to Malcolm Butler…

Hi Malcolm,

I would like to thank you for your email, while it did not address all of our questions and was not reflective of the tone in our meeting, tangible communication with the administration has been very difficult to come by. It is wonderful that so much work has been accomplished since we first raised the many issues associated with this project, however, it has been very apparent that this is a bottom-up planning process where we have constantly had to identify problems and requirements repeatedly in order to have them acted on. With less than four weeks to the move date there are still many, many details not yet finalized and it is highly evident that planning for this displacement did not begin until students began raising issues.

Research can often run into difficulties, antibodies may not work, treatments may not have the desired effects or, another lab may scoop your results and publish first. These are all inherent risks which are acknowledged and accepted when conducting research. Capricious laboratory demolition is not. The sudden, poorly-planned eviction of a laboratory would more closely resemble the extraordinary circumstances of a natural disaster such as a fire or flood. Given that this was planned (albeit poorly) by the university, in secret, without adequate notification or consultation and will have a significant impact on graduate students research output, which is directly correlated with our grant potential, I feel Carleton University has a very real responsibility to compensate my lost work.

Each year I pay close to $11,000 in tuition to Carleton University. I selected Carleton based on its faculty and research programs to carry out my research in preparation for post-docs and my future career. As a graduate student I take very few classes thus the vast majority of this tuition represents what I pay for direct access to my supervisor and the ability to carry out my research in its entirety at Carleton University. Both of these two services are being disrupted by this planning fiasco (I will have much less access to my supervisor, whom I work with in person daily and have access to less flexible lab and animal space with which to continue my experiments). On top of this my daily commute will be greatly extended and, the still incomplete plans suggest that once the lab space at HSB is ready we will lose the wet-lab space at OttawaU forcing me to commute back and forth several times per day and force me to halt the majority of my molecular work until the two facilities are once again in the same building. To state that compensation is inappropriate or that these delays could have occurred without the intervention of the university is completely false and unacceptable.

While I could continue to bring up reasons and better explain the differences between unexpected disruption and negligent, purposeful planning, I hope that as a senior member of the university you can see for yourself the error in Carleton’s position and work to rectify it, if not perhaps the other senior members of the university included in this email can figure it out together.

thanks in advance,

{a neuroscience student}