U of O Watch mission, in the words of Foucault...

"One knows … that the university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class. … It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them." -- Foucault, debating Chomsky, 1971.

U of O Watch mission, in the words of Socrates...

"An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all." -- Socrates

video of president allan rock at work

Thursday, November 1, 2007

VP-Academic Robert Major explains gender equity and representative democracy

In a recent issue of the student newspaper The Fulcrum U of O VP-Academic Robert Major explained gender hiring equity at the U of O: “But is it that appealing for women to be working 24 hours, seven days a week as the president does? These jobs are time-consuming. Women have family issues and many personal responsibilities.”

So we learn that President Patry has a 168 hour work week. This may explain the President’s recent written decision to refuse sign-language interpretation services to hearing-impaired hopeful participants of the Ottawa Cinema Politica, a film and discussion series offered by the University as a service to the community?

In the same week, VP Major explained one of the finer points of university democracy to graduate student Severin Stojanovic.

Stojanovic was first told in writing by the Secretary of the University Pamela Harrod that neither the University Senate nor its Board of Governors had jurisdiction to intervene when a dean repeatedly violates his faculty’s By-Laws in running (chairing) the Faculty Council. Stojanovic therefore asked the Faculty of Science Dean’s direct supervisor, Mr. Major, to intervene.

Major replied by explaining in writing that it was OK for the dean to violate faculty By-Laws as long as Faculty Council members approved by voting down any complaints about such violations. He added that this was obvious; that the student’s request was “frivolous and vexatious,” with the entire Council in cc.

Dean of Science André Lalonde has repeatedly applied an ad hoc veto of Council member Stojanovic’s agenda item proposing that the possible creation of a second year activism course be discussed. A third attempt to hold a Faculty Council meeting without the Stojanovic agenda item is scheduled for Tuesday November 6th.

A student on-line petition calls for the forced resignations of Lalonde, Major, and Patry for their roles in barring the first year activism course.
[Photo credit: University of Ottawa]


Anonymous said...

L'Université canadienne est un carnaval!

Jane Scharf said...

I already knew by direct observation that the u of o administration was top heavy which is causing its unfairness and unreasonableness. And I respect and support the work of Denis and others who are trying to establish reform. I myself was permanently barred from the university because I attended a faculty council meeting where the dean shut down the meeting because we had a video camera to film this public meeting. There was no disruption of the meeting and it was never commenced because of their refusal to allow media filming of a public meeting.What they did not want on film is there constant violation of university bylaws which occurs regularly in these meetings. In the previous meeting I saw the dean violate the bylaw that gives the student on faculty council the right to raise issues for discussion.

In spite of my experience with the u of o admin I was blown away with VP Major's throwback comments about woman which amount to the old keep them in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant. I am old enough to have heard these kinds of comments many times. And I am smart enough to know that these attitudes still exist. But I really didn't think anyone would be stupid enough to say them out loud to the press especially a top ranking administrator of a so called institution of "higher" learning. Such arrogance and sexism offends to my core. I would like the u of o admin to understand that we know 1) that men have an equal responsibility in the home and 2) woman have a human rights code right and a constitutional right not to mention a basic human right to EQUAL treatment 3) equal treatment obviously includes equal opportunity in employment at the u of o.

Philippe said...

Mr. Major has repeated his argument from six months ago that a student complaining for breach of the Faculty by-laws can issue a "challenge to the chair" at Faculty Council.

As I've told him six months ago, a committee member can only challenge the chair on interpretation of the rules of procedure during the meeting. The assembly can even vote to suspend the rules of order. Obviously the assembly cannot vote to suspend the by-laws which govern it. If Faculty by-laws are breached, the only way to address this is to appeal to an higher level (VP-Academic or even the whole Senate). There is also the option to do an external judicial review.

Feminist Catalyst said...

I am not a uOttawa student but as I have said in my interview with Jane and in our talk on Friday night, I am sure that Carleton University's administration's position is much the same.

How great of him to think of the reality of womyn's lives! How thoughtful of him to consider womyn's responsibilities! How great of him to give womyn career advice! Ugh.

He's only able to work so many hours because a womyn is running the rest of his life for him.

- Julie (Co-chair of Miss G__ Ottawa)