David Aliaga (
20 Sep 1995 12:48:48 -0600


Esteemed Colleagues:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the very serious
academic problems I have experienced during my doctoral studies
in Italy.

I am a citizen of Canada who graduated from the University of
Calgary in Alberta Canada in June of 1986. Soon after, I
decided to continue my studies at the University of Calabria,
becoming the first Canadian ever to have enrolled in a
Dottorato di Ricerca program in Ethnoanthropology in Italy.

My Italian-born wife, children and I struggled to overcome
enourmous financial and emotional obstacles in order for me to
complete my studies. I received only eight months of financial
grants, despite the earlier promise of three years of assistance
by Dott. Magno Clarizia, Il Capo Div. Aff. Gen of the
University of Calabria. Furthermore, I received virtually no
advice, or instructional support from my Italian academic
supervisor Dott. Luigi Lombardi Satriani. Nevertheless, I was
able to succesfully complete all the requirements for my
Dottorato di Ricerca, which is equivalent to a Canadian PhD.

My family and I had to leave Italy due to dire economic
circumstances (fully attested by a letter from our embassy in
Rome) following the completition of my studies. Before we left
Italy I gave a letter to Dottssa. Scalera e Dott. Di Lisio of
the Office of the Dottorato di Ricerca at The Ministry of
Universities. In the letter I asked the ministry for an
extension of a few months of the deadline for submitting my
final report (Relazione Finale), this, due to all my
difficulties in obtaining financial aid and our decision to
leave Italy.

I returned to Rome for an oral examination at the time and date
designated by the Office of the Dottorato di Ricerca. The entire
examination committee failed to appear on the scheduled date
(July 25,1991). The oral examination was subsequentely
rescheduled due to my insistence for August 7,1991. Immediately
prior to my return to Italy I was notified via telegram from
Dott. Di Lisio that the original members of my commission had
been replaced. The new commitee members where not acquainted
with my academic work and two of them did not receive my final
report on time due to the fact that the Office of the Dottorato
di Ricerca did not send me a notification in time or with the
addresses of the new commission members.

I remained optimistic about my ability to succesfully obtain my
Doctoral degree in spite of the many bureaucratic frustrations
and wrong doings, for I had received excellent evaluations of my
academic work throughout my period of study at the University of
Calabria. Also, I had received an excellent evaluation and
praise of my final report by the President of the first
commission and very well known international anthropologist
Professor Tullio
Tentori, who also happened to be the President of the
Ethnoanthropological Association of Italy at the time.

Unfortunatelly, I was later informed that I have been rejected
as a candidate for the title Dottore di Ricerca on the basis of
the oral examination. I was subsequently denied all rights to an
appeal. To date I have not received any explanation of why the
commitee rejected my work. The members of the commitee failed
entirely to conduct an investigation or to explore the huge
discrepancy which exists between my university of Calabria
oustanding records, and their evaluation of the examination.

I have made repeated attempts to correspond with the Ministry
of Universities and Scientific and Technological Research, but
my efforts to rectify the situation have been without result.
The massive bureaucratic entanglements in Italy threathen to
negate any possible resolution of my situation.

My academic career is seriously jeopardized by my inability to
appeal the decision. My requests for an academic inquiry into my
case have been continually ignored by the honorable Minister of
Universities Giorgio Salvini Commitee members: Signorelli
Amalia, Universita di Napoli, Castelli Gattinara
Giancarlo,Universita di Chieti, e Atzeni Paola, Universita di
Cagliari, refuse to accept any measure of accountability for the
unethical an inhumane treatment to which I have been subjected.
My attempts to negotiate the right to an academic appeal will
only be succesfull if other concerned scholars join me in my
efforts to challenge the decision taken by the Ministry of

There is growing public awarness about my situation. I am
fortunate in that many academic leaders, in Canada, USA, Italy,
and Wales have written letters of support on my behalf to both
the Italian Minister of Universities and to the Italian
Ambassador to Canada. I have also received the support of many
important organizations such as the Canadian Anthropology
Association, The Canadian Archaeological Association, The
American Anthropological Association and the Association of
Graduate Students at the University of Calgary. Municipal,
Provincial and Federal Politicians have also written to the
officials involved. I am currently accessing the media in order
to demand the attention of the Italian Minister and Italian
academia about the unfairness of the situation.

I am committed to the goal of initiating a change in the Italian
Ministry's policy to deny access to an appeal process. While I
have only great admiration and respect for the oustanding work
of many Italian scholars and researchers, I find myself forced
to challenge the Ministry of Universities because of their
examination procedures, which without an appeal process are
unaccountable and unjust. I hope to ensure that no other foreign
student experiences the frustrations and disappointment inherent
in such an unfortunate circumstance.I am convinced that I have
the right to confront academic injustice, if only to set a
precedent from which others stand to benefit.

I am requesting your understanding as academic colleagues in my
attempts to challenge the decisions taken by the Ministry,
which denies the basic principle of any truly democratic
process: accountability.

I believe that together we may force the Italian Ministry of
Universities to address my situation with more seriousness. I
have documented all the particulars with regard to my case, and
I have an extensive file of letters written by many supporters.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you whish to be of
some assistance in my quest for a resolution of my situation.

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Dott. David E. Aliaga

PS: a) A full account plus letters of support can be found
at: URL:

b)Please write in support to: Mr. Giorgio Salvini, Minister
of Universities and Scientific and Technological Research,
Lungo Tevere, Thaon di Revel #76, Rome,00153, Italy; or
to: Mr. Andrea Negrotto Cambiasso, Italian Ambassador,
Italian Embassy, 21 Floor, 275 Slater Street, Ottawa,
Ontario, K1P 5H9, Canada.

c) If you decide to help me please send a copy of your letter
to: Dr. J. Scott Raymond, Head Archaeology Department
University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW,
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4, or
Fax it to: 403-282-9567.