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McGill Reporter
April 25, 2002 - Volume 34 Number 15
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Letters

To the editor:

With respect to comments contained in "A meeting of managing minds" in the April 11 Reporter's On campus section, the deans of the Faculties of Arts and of Science applaud and fully support the recent initiative by members of Management Forum to encourage the University to increase the number of administrative and support staff positions.

As deans, we are acutely aware of the crucial importance of the administrative and support staff to the performance of McGill's mission. We also see every day the added stress that the welcome new initiatives such as the CRC and CFI programs have created for our administrative and support staff colleagues. And we know first hand the realities of Banner system implementation and the burdens this entails.

In recent months, the level of support staff infrastructure has also become an academic staff retention issue. Our professors are acutely aware of the pressing needs in this area. They are not only comparing their salary levels with those of their colleagues across Canada but also the relative levels of administrative support in their units relative to those in other major universities.

Renewal of McGill is not only renewal of the professoriate but also renewal of the administrative and support staff. If we are to maintain excellence, the University must fund more much needed support staff positions.

This is why both the Faculties of Arts and of Science and other faculties ranked administrative and support staff renewal as a high priority in their 2001 budget request last April.

In response, the University allocated $1,400,000 in discretionary funding towards support staff renewal in the 2001/2002 budget. We greatly appreciate this partial funding of our needs. This year Arts and Science both renewed their requests by once again naming Administrative and Support Staff Renewal as a funding priority for 2002/2003.

The Faculties of Arts and of Science support the renewal of the administrative infrastructure at McGill and we encourage the senior administration to continue to support reinvestment in this essential human resource.

Dean of Arts Carman Miller
Dean of Science Alan Shaver

To the editor:

I'd like to reply, reluctantly, to the editorial comment on my McGill Reporter letter (March 21), about the McGill study on alcoholism among green vervet monkeys, briefly described in the March 7 Reporter.

The London Telegraph article on the study was reprinted as a front page story in The Gazette on March 6. It says that the monkeys are kept in cages, where they are given a choice of alcoholic and other drinks, and that 1,000 individuals are involved.

It is as unethical, in my opinion, to force nonhuman animals into experiments as it is to force humans. Tragically, huge numbers of mammals die, alone, within a culture of secrecy, in university labs everywhere.

When I was at McGill and took psychology, we read about rats subjected to electric shock, rhesus monkey infants removed from their mothers and isolated, chickens reared in darkness. This was supposed to have been pure research, designed to answer intellectual questions. The ethics of this was never questioned in any of my classes, but it is today.

The front page story of the March 21 Reporter deals with McGill environmental issues. I'd like to suggest another issue for discussion: that of the use of mammals in McGill labs.

Shloime Perel
Alumnus 1966

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