News  Department of Biology affected by MUNACA strike

McGill biology professors condemn administration's conduct

Thirteen professors from McGill’s biology department have signed a letter condemning the conduct of the McGill administration during the non-academic workers’ strike. The document details how the strike, which has been in effect since September 1, has affected the department.

The letter is signed by a third of McGill’s biology professors, and warns that, as the community enters the midterm season, “logistic problems that we are likely to face may well degenerate into chaos.”

Louis Lefebvre, the department’s program director, presented the letter at a press conference, seated beside representatives from MUNACA, SSMU, and MUNACA’s parent union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).

“We need to not turn our backs on people that are our friends and colleagues,” he said.

Labs, he said, are “abnormally short or modified,” without lab technicians and “people we rely upon.”

The letter cites troubles with research funding and the increased risk of “epidemics in the McGill Phytotron,” a centre for research in experimental plant biology, which “could cause long term damages to our plant genetics program.”

The letter goes on to say that the professors fear for the “long term and bitter fragmentation of our social network” and criticizes McGill for seeking an injunction against the strikers.

According to VP (Administration and Finance) Michael Di Grappa, the University sought the injunction because “picketing infringed on the University’s right to remain open.”

When asked about the professors’ letter, Di Grappa wrote in an email to The Daily that the gesture was premature, given that the conciliation process had not been allowed to “bear fruit.”