To the editor:

Congratulations on the September 24 issue. I was particularly pleased by the science reports by Bronwyn Chester. I found them instructive, well written and amusing.

Mario Bunge
Frothingham Professor of Logic and Metaphysics
Department of Philosophy

To the editor:

In the McGill Reporter of September 24, in the article "Universities urged to collaborate on courses," Professor de Takacsy implies that statistics courses could be taught by departments other than the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. We agree with him, but feel strongly that these courses should be taught only by faculty members who are trained statisticians or biostatisticians. In the Joint Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and of Occupational Health, which Professor de Takacsy cites as an example, all statistics courses are taught by faculty who have been formally trained in statistics or biostatistics. Moreover, statistics is not merely a "tool integrated to other disciplines," but is itself a discipline with many subtle ties and nuances.

Georg Schmidt
Department of Mathematics and Statistics

To the editor:

On October 8, 1998, you published an article entitled "Remembering Humphrey." While I hesitate to criticize any article which lets us know of John Humphrey's contribution to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially one so laudatory of my own role, it contained errors that I feel must be corrected. Indeed it seems to be based in part on a well-intentioned but hyperbolic article in The Ottawa Citizen last June that has been something of a source of embarrassment to me. I would suggest the following corrections:

1. The Elgin Street Human Rights Monument was not officially opened last June to mark the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. It was opened some nine years ago by the Dalai Lama and Humphrey himself. Only a plaque recognizing Humphrey's contribution was dedicated this September by Nelson Mandela and Margaret Humphrey. Canada did a number of things to mark the 50th anniversary including the National Arts Centre exhibit and the Humphrey stamp released on October 7.

2. René Cassin did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968 for being the "author of the declaration." He received it for a lifetime's work dedicated to the cause of human rights and for his role in the development of the Declaration, which at that time was believed to include the authorship of the first draft although this fact was not mentioned in the citation. It is true of course that Cassin had frequently been given credit for developing the first draft when in fact this was Humphrey's work.

3. I did not receive the hand-written drafts from a research assistant cleaning out Humphrey's office. The drafts were part of a batch of papers that Humphrey gave to the Law Library after his retirement from the UN in 1966. They were found some fifteen years later by the then Law Librarian Michael Renshawe, who placed them in his filing cabinet in acid-free envelopes. They were pointed out to me during my first week on the job as Acting Law Librarian in 1988 by the Associate Law Librarian, Louise Robertson, who at the time was looking for something else. My only contribution was actually writing about these things -- others had already preserved the documents for posterity. They are now in the McGill University Archives.

Yours in our never-ending search for accuracy,

John Hobbins
Associate Director of Libraries

Mr. Hobbins' instincts are correct -- we did indeed base much of our report on The Ottawa Citizen article in question, importing several errors along the way. Our thanks to Mr. Hobbins for revealing the truth -- it seems to be something of a specialty of his.