Lukacs leaves U of M

A year-long, controversial battle between the University of Manitoba and math professor Gabor Lukacs has ended with Lukacs leaving the university.

A joint statement released Nov. 10 explains that the university and Lukacs “have entered into a fair and mutually agreed upon settlement,” where all disciplinary actions against Lukacs have been rescinded and all outstanding legal proceedings terminated.

The statement also reads that both parties have “agreed that it is to their mutual benefit to end the employment relationship.”

Details of the settlement are confidential and will not be disclosed, the statement says.

Lukacs declined to comment on his reaction to leaving his position at the U of M or on how he felt about his experience at the university.

However, according to his personal website which details his career in mathematics, Lukacs wrote that he cherished his time at St. John’s College “for its intellectually stimulating atmosphere, the diversity of the fellows’ disciplines, and the sense of community, respect, and tolerance that it offers.”

In an email to the Manitoban, Lukacs said, “I am determined to continue my career in mathematics, that is, teaching and researching mathematics, which is what I love the most.”

He said he is hoping to gain employment at another university in Canada, but is also considering moving to the U.S. or Europe.

At the moment, Lukacs said he is working on two papers, with two different co-authors, which he plans to submit for publishing. He is also supervising a PhD student at Cornell University.

“I have a number of topics that I gave conference talks about, but have not had the time yet to properly write them up for a paper, and so that is also on my to-do list,” he said.

On the topic of filling the spot left vacant after Lukacs’ departure, John Danakas, director of the Marketing Communications Office at the U of M, explained that the university does have a process for filling sudden vacancies.

“It wouldn’t be the first time; there are sudden absences that do take place so we do have a process to deal with that,” he said.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the settlement was reached just hours before the two parties were set to enter back into arbitration over a grievance filed by the University of Manitoba Faculty Association over Lukacs’ reprimand and suspension without pay last fall.

Lukacs had been preparing to appeal to a court decision that ruled he did not have the right to challenge the awarding of a PhD to a student that had not completed a comprehensive exam requirement; the student claimed to suffer from extreme exam anxiety.

Lukacs was suspended without pay for three months in late 2010 after filing an application for judicial review of the decision. The university had argued that the professor violated the student’s privacy by including their name in court documents, and that they were obligated to accommodate the student’s disability.

photo by leif larsen