Another Student response to Malcolm Butler

Re: Answers to Questions Posed in December?


While I understand that you have spent the last two months focused on ensuring that Neuroscience students and researchers have places to continue their research (in as much as they can with limited animal facilities), this does not waive your responsibilities to ensure students are fairly compensated for the lost personal time, stress and disruption to their research.

Had the administration consulted with the staff and students, from the start of this endeavour back in May, you would not have been scrambling in the last two months to find space for us and our equipment at the 11th hour. Indeed, the impact on our work could have been greatly reduced as we would have had time to plan our studies around the move, and perhaps had time to devise better options for continuing our animal studies.  Instead, students have been working nights, weekends and holidays to curtail key studies and complete experimental procedures ahead of schedule due to the uncertainty around future facilities and access to samples.

After my conversation with Michel Piche in December, in which he assured us that none of our requests were unreasonable, I am most deeply disappointed by this statement:

“On the matter of compensation, the reality is that there are many things that can interrupt/disrupt research.  As such, the university is not able to consider any sort of compensation or refund associated with this situation. “

If you are likening the administration’s lack of planning to a natural disaster, I can see the similarities in impact, but the latter is an “act of god”, and the former is an act of negligence.  Unforeseen circumstances can be accepted – but this is not the case with our situation. There was plenty of time to plan for the possibility of the ARISE funding and consult with the department to minimize impact.  Students should not suffer because the administration chose NOT to consult and start the planning process when they developed the grant application.

As students, we must accept the institutions “terms of offer” which dictate our behaviour and responsibilities to the institution. While there is no written statement of the Carleton’s responsibilities to us, there is an implied social contract wherein the institution is expected to deliver the education we were promised and have paid for, free from capricious changes and disruptions.  We expect the administration to live up to its commitments, including providing adequate notification of interruptions to studies and access to the research facilities that we signed up for when accepted our offer of admission.  A waiver of some portion of the tuition fees for the affected students/semesters would go a long way to showing consideration for the significant stress and toll this situation has taken, and will continue to take, on our personal and professional lives. Moreover, it is the decent thing to do given the circumstances.