I confess. I seriously considered stealing your “A measure of excellence” issue on universities (Special Report, Oct. 21) from my doctor’s office because I could not find a single copy at a newsstand. I finally had to board an airplane to read one of the airline’s complimentary copies. Now I see why it was so popular. Maclean ’s really shines when it does investigative journalism like this.
Robert S. Mclnnes, President, Alpha East Province, Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Toronto
Outraged. Embarrassed. Hurt. Those are some of the emotions I felt upon learning that Carleton University was ranked 44th of 46 Canadian universities by Maclean’s. Among its accomplishments, Carleton pioneered programs in journalism, public administration and Canadian studies. At Carleton, I was able to study architecture and develop as an individual. Today, I have an established architecture practice. And my story is not unique. Carleton alumni are successful in all walks of life.
Peter C. Pivko, President,
Carleton University Alumni Association,
Your articles on Canadian universities were great. Even if you were only 80 per cent right, you’re right on. Please do it again next year.
Guy Dalcourt, Toronto
Having the highest faculty-to-student ratio in Canada contributes significantly to the quality of our undergraduate teaching. But we ranked lower on issues that were inappropriate or irrelevant in our context. We have more resident beds than the student population requires, yet you rank us 30th in that category. You did not count our provincial scholarships, but more than 80 per cent are held here. Because we are this province’s only university, we accept all qualified students. We disagree emphatically with the notion that this ranks us 46th in measures of quality of our student body. We regret that we have to give you a D on your ranking system, and suggest you try again.
A. W. May, President, Memorial University, St. John’s, Nfld.
Your important ranking of Canadian universities, chiefly at the undergraduate level, will no doubt stir debate. But I should point out that an excellent undergraduate teacher is not necessarily the dedicated researcher whose work is supported by the grants you take into consider-
ation as criteria for undergraduate teaching. Secondly, I was surprised that the relative strength of research libraries was not one of the criteria for your survey.
Prof. Joseph Shaw, University of Toronto, Toronto
Your universities feature was superbly done. But as a retired professor, I have a firm conviction that universities must be judged by individual faculties, not the total institution. As well, an intellectually curious, hardworking student can benefit enormously from instruction even in a second-rate institution.
William Read, Don Mills, Ont.
A MISTAKEN ADDITION
Your explanation of the federal proposal for amending the Charter of Rights and Freedoms seems to contain a significant addition (“Signposts to survival,” Cover, Oct. 7). It states incorrectly that any use of the notwithstanding clause “would last only three years— instead of the current five—before it would have to be renewed.” Your people have been misinformed, although how this could have happened defies comprehension. Presumably, they have access to the official publication, which is very clear and explicit. There is no such restriction in the federal proposals.
James De Monte, Toronto
Letters may be condensed. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Write-. Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7. Or fax-. (416) 596-7730.
THE BUSINESS OF UNITY
Peter C. Newman’s Oct. 7 Business Watch column, “A daring strategy—and bold execution,” serves only to reveal an enormous propaganda apparatus that has been set in motion once again to meet Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa’s agenda instead of Canada’s. The Meech Lake accord was an offensive attempt to amend the Constitution. Yet people of influence, politicians of all stripes and the media joined the government’s massive effort to sell it to Canadians. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, backed by a submissive party, countless sycophants and an army of public relations types, is poised to absorb and smother dissenting opinion with his latest constitutional proposals. This is a gross and callous violation of democracy.
R. F. Harrow, Holstein, Ont.
I found it interesting that in your Sept. 30 issue you devoted one page to the B.C. election campaign (“Back to the future,” Canada), two-thirds of a page to the Saskatchewan election (“The harvest campaign,” Canada) and two full pages to the Democratic presidentialnomination race in Iowa (“Democrats battle despair,” World).
Teresa Kokotailo, Pense, Sask.
PORNOGRAPHY FOR THE MASSES
A few years ago, social critic and novelist Tom Wolfe noted that “pornography has become an everyday affair.” So it should hardly strike us as unusual that the royalties from TV talk-show host Geraldo Rivera’s erotic memoir are being set aside for the benefit of underprivileged children (“Conquest in Central Park,” Opening Notes, Sept. 16); or that crime families are making charitable donations to hospitals (“Taking money from gangsters,” Fred Brüning, An American View, Oct. 7). We are in the process of giving a whole new meaning to the oft-used phrase “the banality of evil.”
Orest Slepokura, Strathmore, Alta.
FORGIVING THE UNFORGIVABLE
Words fail to express my utter disgust and astonishment over the suggested invitation of Japanese pilots to a proposed remembrance of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor that took place 50 years ago (“Saying ‘no’ to reconciliation,” Opening Notes, Oct. 14). The idea to forgive and forget with old enemies is OK, but let us not confuse good taste with bad.
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