Letters to the Editor

Research and time, Back and forth, and More research needed

Research and time

Re: “Leniency for limits”

Dear Editors,

I am writing in response to the editorial titled “Leniency for limits” that appeared in the March 22nd edition of The Journal. The editorial contains several misperceptions about the recently-revised policy on time-to-completion for graduate students, some of which I will address here.

First and most importantly, the policy does not impose a hard limit on time-to-completion at two years for a Master’s degree and four years for a PhD. Indeed the policy recognizes there may be reasons why a student may not complete his or her degree in the minimum required time including, as noted in the editorial, that in research ‘sometimes studies go awry’. In view of this, flexibility must be built in to provide a straightforward means of extending programs while also ensuring that a plan for progression to completion is in place. Departments review annual progress reports completed by students with input from their supervisor, and on this basis may grant a one year extension. Should additional extensions be required, the student submits a request to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) along with the recommendation from the supervisor and department. The extension policy will be addressed by the Graduate Studies Executive Council in April. The SGS has received feedback from faculty, staff and students that minimal administrative burden is desirable – as an administrative unit, we couldn’t agree more.

Another point to clarify is about consultation. The revised time to completion policies have been discussed at all graduate councils and committees since October and, in turn, in departments. Feedback from students, staff and faculty has resulted in modifications to the policies and in addition has underscored the importance of the many initiatives undertaken to support achievement and timely completion. The promotion of excellence in graduate studies including timely completion requires access to relevant and effective support services, good supervision and mentorship, funding, and policies and practices that support success. Queen’s and the SGS remain fully committed to the promotion of excellence in graduate education.

Brenda Brouwer

Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies

Back and forth

Re: “Co-operation over strife”

Dear Editors,

Firstly, I would like to thank Mr. Yeomans for his nuanced comments; however, there are a few things I wish to speak to. He began by saying, “Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) just ended, but the conversation … needs to carry on.” I find it troublesome and disturbing that IAW is classified as ‘conversation’ and ‘dialogue’ when the impact of the week (whether it is a defined end, or merely a result) is to delegitimize and demonize the other side of the conversation.
IAW does not seek to (nor can it) reflect a constructive dialogue on the substance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It seeks to take a very complex and gray conflict, and cast it in an overly simplistic, black and white portrayal. Israel has legitimate, and substantial security concerns, and any lasting peace must resolve them. Campaigns such as IAW, which seek to discount this fact, all the while demonizing and delegitimizing the state and people of Israel along with all those who support it, cannot be considered constructive. Only a respect for both sides, including the plights and hardships that both Israelis and Palestinians have endured (and continue to endure), can bring about a dialogue that will work towards building a successful resolution to the conflict.
At many schools across this country, a breach of this respect has occurred under the banner of IAW, where the Jewish and Pro-Israel students are intimidated, and as a result a blackout in discourse has occurred. This has left many students and observers to feel that IAW has transcended the realm of legitimate criticism, to the point where it is destructive to discourse and open dialogue.
Lastly, I wish to comment to Mr. Yeomans' remarks that asking Israelis to leave Israel “would mean ejecting them to seek a new homeland, which just recreates the situation all over again!” Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, where on more than three occasions the Jewish people have created sovereign states and exercised their national self-determination. The Jewish people, like the Palestinians, have the right to national self-determination in their historic national homeland; there is no other place. In conclusion, Mr. Yeomans is correct: Israel is not going anywhere. Nor should it.

Alexander Rotman
President
Queen’s Israel on Campus

More research needed

Re: “Views on climate change vary”

Dear Editors,

I'm writing in regards to your article in the most recent issue of the Journal "Views on climate change vary; Temperatures may be rising but this doesn't necessarily mean negative implications for all" which is outstandingly poor researched and an exemplar how media can distort scientific issues.
Climate change means negative implications for everyone. If you had done any research, you might know that a global increase of more than 2 degrees is predicted to have irreversible negative impacts on the planet.

I don't know if Dean Foster realizes that by 2070, if climate change continues at this rate, you won't be able to growth maple trees in Ontario. Ecological communities are being ravaged and destroyed by climate change, and one year of bumper crop maple syrup doesn't make this impact less terrible.
I would strongly recommend the Journal do more research, and perhaps talk to some of the actual experts at this university, before writing a piece on such a serious global issue.

Thanks,

Evelyn Popiel

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