U of T Withdraws from Telescope Project

The University of Toronto announced in early January that it has withdrawn from the Columbus telescope project on Mount Graham, Arizona. Most readers are probably familiar with this project, which has been surrounded with controversy from its inception. A major concern is that the mountain is regarded as sacred by the Apache people, who view the construction as an act of desecration and a threat to their cultural survival. There has also been concern about the possible ecological impact, for example, on the endangered Mount Graham Red Squirrel. The University stated that its decision to withdraw is based primarily on financial considerations, although it agreed that the project is very controversial and there were mounting protests from human rights and environmental activists on campus. More than 20 other institutions in North America have withdrawn from the project.