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

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Censorship is a serious matter – explains Professor Keith Benn

Professor Keith Benn (Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa) has recently joined Professor Jeremy Kerr (Biology, University of Ottawa; see PREVIOUS POST) in attempting to protect the University of Ottawa from out-of-control radical professor Denis Rancourt (Physics, University of Ottawa).

Benn “take(s) serious offence” at Rancourt’s November 30th 2007 email accusation of censorship practiced in the Faculty of Science. Dean of the Faculty of Science André E. Lalonde immediately responded in accordance with the responsibility of his position by initiating yet another formal disciplinary investigation of Rancourt in this serious matter. (We’ve lost count of the number, but it’s well over a dozen.)

All relevant documents (Dean’s initiation of discipline, Benn’s formal letter of complaint, Rancourt’s November 30th email, and the censored document) are posted HERE or HERE.
Highlights of the Benn complaint are as follows.
I take serious offence to the accusation of censorship that is contained in the following passage […]
Rancourt must know that the term ‘censorship’ is a highly charged one that carries some awful baggage in the public psyche. Tossing about accusations of administrative censorship in widely circulated emails [to members of the Faculty Council] […] is reckless and reprehensible, and shows a profound lack of respect for our institution and for our colleagues. It is especially troubling that such an accusation should be made within our University [Canada’s University] and it is unacceptable that it go unchallenged. If such an accusation should go unchallenged then the clear message […] is that the accusation has merit, i.e., that discussion of important issues facing our Faculty and our University are being suppressed.

Benn continues: “Rancourt’s accusation of censorship, if unchallenged, could do long-term damage to the reputation of our institution.

[…] if the accusation were found to be unjustified, then Rancourt should apologize to his victims. […] At the very least, an apology from Rancourt should be forthcoming and recorded in the public record.

UofOWatch vows to record any such apology when it is forthcoming, to help rectify this violation of the public trust.

UofOWatch trusts that the Dean’s investigation will be thorough and professional, will leave no stone unturned, and will establish whether or not censorship was indeed practiced in the Faculty of Science, as brazenly reported by Rancourt.

Censor n. 2. official with power to suppress whole or parts of records/documents on ground of obscenity, seditiousness, etc. 6. v.t. act as censor (sense 2) of; make deletions or changes in. (Concise Oxford, Seventh Edition)


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