As you know, in 2007, Norman Cornett was dismissed without explanation from his position at McGill University after 15 years of loyal service. I have come to know Cornett since this event. I am a teacher and an artist in Montreal. Cornett was a valuable member of my 2008 MFA thesis committee at Concordia University, and provided essential input. Since this initial encounter, he has remained a loyal and enthusiastic supporter not only to me, but to many students and artists in Montreal. He is a force for enlightened intellectual and creative development in our community like none other that I have met in Montreal. The incredible outpouring of support both from his former students and innumerable members of Montreal’s creative, political, and intellectual communities combined with the deafening silence on the part of the McGill authorities indicate that much further work must be done to ensure that there is justice for Cornett. We must insist that McGill explain their behaviour and that this story be brought out into the light of day. What type of precedent does this action set for the future treatment of professors in Canada?
What’s more, what do their actions say about respect for professional and academic freedom in this country?