Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, May 14, 2010 --- A French student of Arab descent is living without income and without support in the city of Sherbrooke after being subjected to unfair treatment by his professor since September 2009.

Mr. T.M., a 31 year-old Muslim, came from the University of Bristol, UK, in August 2008 to enroll in a doctoral program at the Department of Physiology and Biophysics within the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sherbrooke. Through an annual scholarship of $ 20,000, he conducted his research on the role and distribution of sodium currents in cardiac function, under the supervision of Professor R. D. The duration of a doctoral research program of this type normally extends between 3 and 5 years.

After a few months, however, he began to experience problems with his supervisor and coworkers, particularly following the arrival of another student of French origin. Already feeling marginalized and lacking support in his work, Mr. M. was formally advised of his poor performance by his advisor and imposed with strict performance requirements, which were not imposed on the other French student. Later in September 2009, the supervisor terminated Mr. M's research position, depriving him a place to research, means to pursue his career and an income to survive. He has no family in Quebec or a way to find work on his current student visa.

Realizing that his dismissal was arbitrary and violated faculty regulations (including a requirement for three written notices prior to removal, while there was only one in his case), Mr. M. enlisted the assistance of the University's Student Rights Protector, Ms. Soucila Baroudine.

Subsequent to investigation, Ms. Baroudine released a damning report was released in December 2009, where she noted the failure of the University to comply with several procedures in the case of the termination of Mr. M.'s research. She said he:

1) “had not been able to develop in an environment conducive to academic success and was not able to benefit from proficient learning and studying conditions”;

2) “did not have the benefit of a just and fair assessment” and

3) “did not have the opportunity to rectify the situation within a timely and reasonable manner, which violates the definition of a quality environment”;

As compensation, the Student Rights Protector recommended that the University:

1) honor the financial commitment made by Mr. M.'s supervisor in the original annual grant agreement signed in August of 2009;

2) pay the tuition that he had to pay during the fall semester of 2009 and

3) “provide him the necessary conditions to continue his doctoral studies in an environment conducive to his academic success.“

Mr. M. was surprised to discover that in her report, the Protector noted that his colleagues claimed, he “has a choppy flow of language requiring more effort and attention from his interlocutors“ (he speaks with a French accent). In addition, she reported that his colleagues, it seems, believe that Mr. M. "is not fully integrated", due to interpersonal incompatibility within the research group, where his Muslim faith made him marginalized and excluded him from many social occasions.

As of April 2010, Mr. M. was still awaiting a response from the University, despite several attempts in vain to contact members of the University's management since January. Meanwhile, he cannot pay his rent and does not possess the means for survival or even return to France.

In light of the fact that his ethnicity and faith were so closely linked to the difficulties he experienced with work and studies, and the obvious violation of faculty regulations and administrative procedures, Mr. M. asked CRARR to file a discrimination complaint on his behalf against the University of Sherbrooke, claiming more than $ 100,000 in damages for discrimination, lost opportunity and neglect.

“Once a research scientist with a promising career in Europe, after a year in Quebec, I was suddenly an incompetent person, "not integrated", "having a choppy flow of language", unemployed, without income and soon to be out in the street“, lamented Mr. M., who felt his trust and hard work undermined.

“The University of Sherbrooke's discriminatory violations of administrative procedures, not to mention inaction and lack of leadership in the face of my victimization, have ruined my career. Arab students who want to pursue their academic specialization in Quebec must be careful: Think ten times before coming here!“