Professor broadcast his rage world-wide

Andrew Brown
Thursday 27 August 1992 23:02

A PROFESSOR charged with killing three of his colleagues at a Montreal university on Monday had broadcast increasingly desperate accounts of his bitter disputes with academic colleagues on a world-wide computer network before the shootings.

Professor Valery Fabrikant, who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1979, sent to at least 40 people electronic copies of correspondence with Concordia University, documenting a series of disputes with colleagues at its engineering faculty.

These were forwarded on to a global mailing list and discussion area accessible from most universities world-wide. It usually contained inquiries from students about the best ways to study particular subjects.

Professor Fabrikant complained that named colleagues were exploiting students and others by insisting they be included as co-authors on scientific papers on which they had done no work.

He filed a lawsuit demanding that the two men withdraw their names from 35 papers that he had published, and acknowledge that they had not contributed to them at all. They had apparently counter-sued for contempt after he began to pursue his campaign with mass electronic mailings.

His messages were prefaced with a note that said: 'Dear Colleague: the events I want to tell you are so outrageous, that one should see to believe . . . I have little time left because on 25 August I will be in jail for contempt of court so I need to do the mailing really fast . . . I shall not be able to fight the battle. I need your help. Speak up.'

The first message from a reader, describing his reams of supporting documentation as very tedious, was posted at around the time the news of the shootings broke.

Only one victim of the shootings appears among the names in the correspondence that Professor Fabrikant copied to the world. The two main villains, as he saw it, were not even wounded.

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