I have reviewed the statements on the website of the University of Manitoba (U of M) relating to the University's conduct in the awarding of a contested PhD. Although there are numerous inaccuracies in the statements, I would like to focus on the three most significant ones.
"The graduate studies committee indicated its preference for a waiver of the exam as opposed to an oral exam in this unique situation. [...] [P]revious suggestions made that the Dean of Graduate Studies made a unilateral decision, without consultation, are simply false and irresponsible."
- Dr. Doering rejected the joint proposal of the Math Graduate Studies Committee and others that A.Z. be given a third chance to write his Analysis exam, that A.Z. be given twice the usual time, and that the exam be divided into two parts to be taken on two different days
- Dr. Doering directed the Math Department to "give some oral exams to [A.Z.] to let him pass the exam", and the Math Graduate Studies Committee "refused to set such an exam because it could not keep the standard of the comprehensive"
- Dr. Doering announced to the Math Graduate Studies Committee his decision to waive the comprehensive exam in Analysis for A.Z., and took "credit" for the move
- Dr. Yong Zhang, the Associate Head (Graduate Studies) at the time, distanced himself and the Math Department from Dr. Doering's decision, and wrote to Dr. Doering: "Since this is your decision, I expect that you will inform [A.Z.] yourself."
- Dr. Fereidoun Ghahramani resigned from the Math Graduate Studies Committee over Dr. Doering's decision
- Dr. David Gunderson, the current Head of the Math Department, opposed the reappointment of Dr. Doering, because Dr. Doering "waived preliminary exam requirements for a student (contrary to the wishes of the local deparment graduate committee!), perhaps due to political pressure"
- Six faculty members of the Math Department signed a petition to call a special meeting of the Department Council to discuss the controversial decision of Dr. Doering
- Dr. Whitmore gave a gag order to the Department Council, and prohibited any discussion about the case of A.Z.
- More than 20 members of the Math Department Council voted to request that the Senate of U of M rule on the jurisdiction of Dr. Doering to waive academic requirements
- Dr. Ghahramani, the current Associate Head (Graduate Studies), wrote to Dr. Gunderson about A.Z. that: "In fact this person has not completed some of the requirements for a Ph.D. degree."
"[T]his doctoral student was provided with an accommodation by the University of Manitoba to complete their degree based on consideration of this student's disability."
- Dr. Doering waived major academic requirements for A.Z., which goes far beyond the "reasonable accommodation" required by the law, or recognized by the Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy and Procedure
- A.Z. completed a Master's, and never requested to be accommodated prior to the exam in Analysis, but claimed his disability after he failed the exam for the second time
- The Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy and Procedure of the U of M require students to declare their needs "before or at the time they register for, or are admitted into, a program"
- Dr. John Doering "upgraded" (XXXX link removed) an undergraduate course of A.Z. to a doctoral-level course in just eight (8) days of extra work to enable A.Z. to graduate in October 2010—what does missing a course have to do with having a disability?
"It is my understanding that this student is an exceptional student who has achieved outstanding success and is fully deserving of the PhD conferred by the University of Manitoba."
- There is no marginal failure at the PhD level: One either passes or fails—A.Z. did not only twice fail his comprehensive exam in Analysis, but was also missing coursework required for his PhD, and was not recommended for a degree by the Mathematics Department
- Judgment as to who "deserves" a degree should be made by qualified experts of the discipline, and should be confirmed by the University's top academic body, the Senate—University administrators cannot and should not make these decisions
- Dr. Doering usurped the Senate's role as the University's highest academic authority by failing to disclose to the Senate that A.Z. failed to satisfy major academic requirements
- By the University of Manitoba Act, the Senate has exclusive jurisdiction to decide whether a student who is missing some (usually minor) academic requirements can nevertheless receive a degree—why did Dr. Doering not ask the Senate that A.Z. be granted a "Degree Notwithstanding" based on his "outstanding success"?
- A.Z. has no single-author publications, although he co-authored XXXXXXXXXXXXXX a few papers XXXXXXXXXXXX —whether that is above-average depends on the topic
- A.Z. has no single-author publications, although he co-authored a few papers - whether this is above average depends on the topic.
- Comprehensive exams measure breadth and general competence, while research (thesis and publications) measures depth—students seeking a PhD degree in a discipline must demonstrate both
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