Media Query

Obtained both from an Access to Information Request and as documentation supplied by the Senior Faculty Administrator during a grievance hearing, emphasis is mine

From: [weekly columnist]
Date: Friday, August 17, 2007, 6:05 PM
To: [Senior Faculty Administrator]
Cc: [Secretary to Senior Faculty Administrator]
Subject: media query

Dear [Senior Faculty Administrator],

I am a weekly columnist for the [newspaper]. I am presently working on a column revolving around the general issue of standards of academic integrity, that is to say, I am looking at the seemingly high tolerance nowadays for cheating and plagiarism amongst students, with specific reference to the Engineering student of Prof Jeremy Cooperstock who will be graduating this fall because Prof Cooperstock's failing grade for him was upgraded to a pass without Prof Cooperstock's consent. I am hoping to write the column for publication on Sept 5.

I do not know or care to know the identity of the student. However, I would very much like to interview you with regard to your role in, and your opinion about, the events surrounding this case. I am leaving tomorrow on vacaction, but would be able to call you for an interview during the week of Aug 27. Is there a particular day and time during that week when I amy call you? Thank you for your attention,

From: [weekly columnist]
Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 7:02 AM
To: [Director of Media and University Relations]
Subject: RE: Query

Hello [Director of Media and University Relations],

I will call you today, but before we speak you should probably have all the backgorund to this case. I would not so much call it as a cover-up, first of all, as the dept of Engineering [sic] simply ignorning what is not, by the way, an allegation, but a fact. Please check out This is Artificial Intelligence Prof Jeremy Cooperstock's meticulously documented story of what steps he followed in order to ensure that a student who had palgiarized an assignment (amongst other shortcomings in his class) pay the penalty of failing the course. As you will see from the story, which is on the Itnernet and therefore accessible to all and sundry (that is why I don't think it can be called a cover-up) Prof Cooperstock did everything required according to McGill's own standards and directives. He got no satisfaction, and the student will graduate this fall. I do not know the name of the student, and it is irrelevant to me.

Prof Cooperstock has put in an incredible number of hours on this. He has also been the subject of escalating verbal abuse and even implied threats by the student, as documented in a series of 17 e-mails, which all concerned know about.

You should also know something else. Prof Cooperstock is on the record as saying that although he has given failing marks to a number of students over the eyars, the only students who remained failed are those who accepted the grade. Every student who protested the grade had his mark revised and he passed.

I also have comments from another professor who teaches Engineering students at McGill who is on the record saying he has been intimidated and harassed by Engineering students who do not accept their marks in math, and those who complain to the dept heads or other authorities often get thier marks revised upward.

I should add that this is not a witch hunt against McGill. It is a coincidence that this professor came to me and also works at McGill. I am quite sure the same story applies to many universities across Canada. However, there are very few professors with Prof Cooperstock's tenacity and sense of injustice who are willing to expose thier colleagues in an effort to change the system, and to suffer the loss of friendships and collegial warmth over a principle.


Last update: August 24, 2008
by Jeremy Cooperstock