Latest letter to Italian Ambassador Re: David Aliaga's Italian PhD

David Aliaga (
14 Aug 1995 09:30:16 -0600

July 18, 1995

Mr. Andrea Negrotto Cambiaso
Ambasciata D'Italia
21 Floor
275 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Mr. David Aliaga

Your Excellency Negrotto Cambiaso,

Recently, the case of Mr. David Aliaga has been brought to my attention.
I would like to add my voice to that of his colleagues and friends, by
expressing my profound concern over the lack of due process and unfair
treatment to which he was exposed, during his period of study in Italy.

It is my understanding that Mr. Aliaga was promised funding for three
years, but only received an eight month grant. I believe that in order
to maintain integrity in graduate studies that if funding is promised
to a student, then every attempt to make that funding forthcoming should
be made. This is especially important in the circumstances of a foreign
student, who is unable to work in the host country and who must rely on
such funding.

Secondly, the circumstances surrounding Mr. Aliaga not being notified on
time of the date of his final examination (Relazione Finale), and the
committee members not showing up for there-scheduled examination date, are
completely inequitable and unprofessional. I commend Mr. Aliaga's
determination in contacting committee members himself and arranging the
August 7 examination, however, I am distressed that the candidate was given
insufficient notification of his examination and that no attempt was made
to provide him with the addresses of his committee members so that he could
send his final report to them. The fact that there appears to be no appeal
procedure for this matter in the Italian University, causes me great alarm
an is a situation that would not be tolerated at a Canadian university.

And, finally, I would like to call into question the evaluation procedures
of Italian Academia. Mr. Aliaga has a number of letters praising his
excellent scholarship and research and yet his final examination committee
gave it a negative evaluation. This lack of consistency is troubling, and
is an issue that needs to be addressed before it harms other graduate students.

These problems would seem to indicate to me that there are a number of
serious issues that need to be resolved when a Canadian graduate student
enrolls at an Italian university. I hope that Mr. Aliaga's case can be
resolved as expeditiously as possible and I am gravely concerned that
similar events do not occur to other Canadian graduate students who are
studying in Italy.

Yours sincerely,

Mayja Embleton
President, Graduate Students Association
University of Calgary

cc. Mr. David Aliaga
Mr. Giorgio Salvini, MInister of Universities and Scientific Education
Carole Noel, Chair, Canadian Graduate Council

Mr. Aliaga's determination in contacting com