Professor criticizes Montreal massacre memorials

An e-mail by a professor, comparing memorials for victims of the 1989 Montreal massacre to Ku Klux Klan propaganda, is drawing anger from students and staff at the University of Toronto.

Charles Rackoff, a computer sciences professor at the U of T, responded to an e-mail announcement of a memorial service by writing: "It is obvious that the point of this is not to remember anyone. The point is to use the death of these people as an excuse to promote the feminist/extreme left-wing agenda.

"It is no different, and no more justified, than when organizations such as the Klu-Klux-Klan (sic) use the murder of a white person by a black person as an excuse to promote their agenda.

"(Even the KKK, as far as I know, has never suggested that all black people should wear white ribbons to apologize for the collective sins of their race.)"

A university spokesperson called the timing of Rackoff's remarks ghastly.

Rackoff sent his e-mail as memorials were held across Canada to remember 14 women killed by a crazed gunman at Montreal's cole Polytechnique in 1989.

Marc Lepine then killed himself, and left behind a note that said feminists had ruined his life.

Rackoff, who's taught at the university for 26 years, says he's anti-feminist, not anti-women. 

Rackoff says his problem was with those who were making political points about the Montreal massacre.

"Why are so many people unwilling to accept disagreement?" he asked. "There are a lot of people who agree with me."

University spokesperson Sue Bloc-Nevitte said she doubted there would be any censure. "The university takes a fairly broad view on issues of controversy," she said.

But she predicted that Rackoff would have a "rough day" Thursday when confronted by other faculty members and students.