Letter: Seriously, stop it

Editor, the Gauntlet, [Re: “Professor wins suit against U of C,” Darlene Seto, Sept. 28, 2006]

I am a professor emerita of business law at Virginia Commonwealth University, and professor Peter Bowal has long been a respected colleague and friend of mine. He has brought much pride and many accolades to the University of Calgary, and I have always been honoured to know him as a friend.

In addition to his quite admirable internal teaching awards, Peter is a Fulbright Scholar, as prestigious an award to which an academic can aspire. Perhaps we American lawyers and legal academics are more aware than Canadians of the stellar recognition that a U.S. Supreme Court fellowship represents, but we all know how competitive and how coveted these grants are. Quite limited in number, these fellowship decision-makers are quite parsimonious and selective in determining the recipients. Such awards as the fellowship and the Fulbright require not only an objectively excellent teaching record, but also an outstanding curriculum vitae with regard to scholarship and publications. They reflect very positively upon the U of C, which is fortunate indeed to have a faculty member so highly regarded in his field as is Peter.

Many of Peter’s colleagues have been indirectly aware since its inception of the university’s unlawful and mean-spirited mistreatment of this friend, a faculty member who has served this institution so well. It came as no surprise to us that he was victorious in this legal action, one that I know personally he did not relish feeling compelled to file. All of Peter’s professional colleagues know him to be a most honourable person of impeccable ethics and principles. I am proud that he forged ahead with this action, an unpleasant task he shouldered not primarily for himself but in order to set a precedent for others of us who, but for the legendary “grace of God,” might have found ourselves in a similar position.

We who know and admire Peter, both professionally and personally, are pleased that this ordeal on behalf of academics in general has concluded, and we owe him much gratitude. We lawyers have a Latin phrase that seems appropriate to reference in this situation: Illegitimi non carborundum.

Carol Daugherty Rasnic

[Ed. Note: illegitimati non carborundum is a psuedo-Latin phrase understood as, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”]

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