Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/12/2010 (3970 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It began as a nasty little dispute over degree qualifications within the mathematics department at the University of Manitoba. It has since grown, first to include the school's administration, then to draw in the courts and now threatens to engulf the university in an academic scandal that is echoing through the academic world internationally.
At issue is the university's decision to grant a PhD in mathematics to a student who failed to complete all the requirements for his doctorate. Notably, he failed one compulsory examination twice, which, under normal circumstances, would have disqualified him from continuing. The university, however, decided to change the standards -- they waived the requirement for that exam -- and he passed on the grounds he has a disability. He reportedly suffers from "extreme examination anxiety," a condition recognized by both the University of Winnipeg and the U of M.
The U of M's administration has attempted to justify this unusual step, saying the doctoral student at the centre of the issue aced the first two of his three comprehensive exams, came within a hair of the A grade required to pass the third and then failed again due to anxiety. U of M president David Barnard said the student wrote an exemplary thesis. Mr. Barnard's defence of the decision, however, clearly has failed to persuade the international group of 86 mathematicians, who warn the U of M's reputation hangs in the balance. Mr. Barnard must now review the decision, determine why it has failed to pass this international test and then determine how that will be corrected.