(This article is taken the February 23rd, 1988 issue of The Ubyssey)
MONTREAL (CUP) – February 23, 1988
Requiring professors to outline the positive and negative aspects of their research will now be part of McGill University’s new policy to monitor its military research.
Amendments to the University Regulation on Research Policy were adopted following charges that McGill is restricting the publication of findings from the school’s research on fuel-air explosives for the Department of National Defense (DND).
But the amended policy, adopted February 10 by the university senate, was criticized as “totally ineffective” by political science professor Sam Noumoff.
‘We would be deceiving ourselves if we thought we had addressed the problem of military research through this document, said Noumoff, who was the only senate member opposed to the policy.
“There are no criteria at all laid out for monitoring research. The individual is responsible for judging the ethics of their research for themselves.”
Education professor Eigel Pederson, also a senate member, said the proposal would provide “some protection” against illegal military research which was better than “none at all”.
“This is an issue on which we will never be able to get consensus,“ said Pederson.
The senate reviewed McGill’s monitoring policy following accusations by graduate student David Schulze that publication of research findings could be limited by clauses in the school’s fuel air explosives contracts.
‘What the DND has retained is the right to restrict publication of any idea, process or invention,” Schulze said.
According to associate dean of research Bitten Stripp, the clauses only apply for a 12-month period.
“If there are open-ended restrictions on publication, we will not make the contract,” she said.
The fuel-air explosives contracts, worth over $225,000, were awarded to the McGill engineering department by the Defense Research Establishment, a unit of the DND. The contracts have been the target of several student protests, including a six-day occupation of the administration offices in March 1987.