Another Student replies to Malcolm Butler

Dear Dean Butler,

I am gravely disappointed, to say the least, by your response regarding compensation for disruption in research (first) and depletion of student morale (second) in the process of this unprovoked and severely aggressive displacement of the Neuroscience department.

Many aggravated students, including myself, were told to patiently wait as discussions were in progress and surely some sort of compensation (as a mere apology) was a tangible hypothesis. To our surprise (an unpleasantly reoccurring theme), you announced that “the university is not able to consider any sort of compensation or refund associated with this situation.” A situation that you have forcibly, despite our relentless and exhaustive protests, placed us in.  A situation that I, and many other students with previously outstanding offers elsewhere (expiring at the beginning of the semester), could have avoided. Surely, the possibility of research disruption and untimely displacement did not suddenly arise in November (when the department of Neuroscience was notified), well into what is undoubtedly a multi-year project. Yes, like you mentioned, disruptions are a plausible thing in research and are met with an equal amount of disappointment, but seldom do they jeopardize the welfare of an entire department at once.

Rarely do I get involved in politics or voice my concerns over big-‘pharma’ agenda, but when I feel this cheated, I can’t help but speak out. I chose Carleton for my graduate studies specifically for the Neuroscience department and the learning opportunities it promised. However, after seeing the blatant disregard this administration has had for our needs, priorities, and goals, I find myself rapidly losing faith in the administration and enthusiasm for what once was my dream school. Now I will be forced to commute from my apartment (conveniently, but now inconveniently, located right next to Carleton) to a school that I did not apply to and had no desire of attending.

While to you this may seem like a matter of personal preference or luxury, it affects students in so many different ways. Many of us are TAs, expected to perform on-campus duties, while balancing experiments (now taking place in scattered buildings across town), and often part-time or even full-time jobs. Add to this, the stress of getting accustomed to a new environment, recalibrating all equipment, and reassessing the feasibility of experiment plans, all the while working with certain uncertainty about our return to our home at Carleton. Where, need I emphasize, we will encounter these same issues all over again. Personally, I have been dealing with disabling anxiety over my ability to complete my experiments in a timely manner in order to acquire publishable data and further my career in academia. After making a closely calculated and well considered decision to stay, I was met with a blunt and careless disruption to my plan and ambiguity regarding the possibility of future endeavours.

I do understand that this building was visualized to accommodate the rapid expansion of the deservingly popular Neuroscience program, but the students this institution has already committed to should not fall victim to this growth. The legacy here should not lie on a shiny new building or a developing program, it’s in the students you’ve promised to foster and support across the finish line, to go on and do prodigious things and speak of fond experiences at Carleton. Much like the alumni you commemorate with banners across campus. Will this be something worth putting on a banner 75 years from now?


A disheartened student