I have great respect and admiration for McGill University. It runs in my family. My father was a McGill graduate of both the engineering and medicine faculties. He was also a great believer in humanity, in justice, and in critical thinking.
I am convinced that if my father were still alive he would share my dismay about Norman Cornett’s dismissal in 2007. Cornett encouraged open and lively debates on many issues. Our society should welcome debates. Our universities should take the lead.
McGill’s silence regarding the reasons for the dismissal is suspicious, and leads many of us to the conclusion that the problem was the occurrence of one particular debate: Israel and the Palestinians. Cornett’s story creates a climate of fear among university and college instructors like myself. Maybe this was the intention. In the eyes of the powerful, the notion of “human rights” does not include the Palestinians’ rights.
I would be very happy to be proved wrong about my understanding of the situation.
Mary Ellen DavisPart-time instructorConcordia University