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, September 27, 2008

It’s Unanimous! The University’s Intellectual Property Must Be Protected


























In a letter dated September 23, 2008, the dean of the Faculty of Science, André E. Lalonde, informed Professor Denis G. Rancourt of the September 11, 2008, decision of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors (EBOG) in the matter of discipline for having robed the University’s intellectual property.
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See uTube video HERE.
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The dean proudly announced “The Executive of the Board of Governors accepted the Dean’s recommendation [to discipline Rancourt]. The decision was unanimous.”
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Bloggers and news media beware: The University of Ottawa will take whatever means necessary to bar the use of its pictures that it makes public on its web site.
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In this case, it has disciplined one of its own professors with an unpaid suspension for having posted properly-credited uOttawa.ca images on his (this) blog (UofOWatch), even though the blog is part of the professor’s work for the University.
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Just think of what the University will do if you are not one of its professors using the images for University work…
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If the blog were not part of the professor’s work, then the University could not have disciplined the professor using labour law but would have needed to sue the professor under copyright law.

But wait. All the pictures are still up on the blog? The University has not protected its intellectual property. By its own logic, the University has no choice but to discipline Rancourt further and more severely for continuing to rob the University’s intellectual property. But is the University willing to push its insanity further…?

The University had given Rancourt permission to use its copyrighted images “for the positive promotion of activities related to the University of Ottawa” but then agued that UofOWatch is not “positive.” (LINK) Rancourt explained that the best way to make-positive negatives (such as VPs and deans lying or falsifying documents: LINK, LINK, LINK) is to report the mistakes, and to criticize, so that those who need to learn from their mistakes do. Rancourt explained that criticism is positive, as is being seen to allow criticism, and that, therefore, the images are being used “for the positive promotion of activities related to the University of Ottawa.”

In addition, the UofOWatch blog itself is a positive activity of the University of Ottawa and the pictures positively promote the UofOWatch blog.

Hello… The University is adopting a copyright practice regarding its web pictures that is straight out of Orwell’s 1984. “Canada’s university,” that bastion of freedom of expression, intellectual inquiry, and critical discourse, is limiting its copyrighted resources to those who can wear plastic smiles and who are willing to serve its Communications Office.

For some reason, the student and mainstream media have not caught on to these subtleties in their coverage of Rancourt’s EBOG adventure. (LINK) To be fair, these subtleties also unanimously escaped the EBOG members, the Dean, and the University Legal Counsel, to name a few.

The unanimity of thought within the University administration suggests that only individuals that are capable of incisive analyses in complex cases attain the higher positions within the institutional hierarchy. (LINK) Not.

The Dean’s letter [POSTED HERE] made no mention of which of the twelve EBOG members were present at the September 11th meeting or whether President Allan Rock (Vice-Chair, EBOG) was in the room or how many of the members were present in addition to Secretary Pamela Harrod.
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The public was banned from attending the EBOG September 11th meeting and Rancourt was not allowed to address the committee, not even to obtain clarification of his procedural concerns. The letter and email exchange between Rancourt and EBOG Secretary Pamela Harrod is POSTED HERE.

Security guards and locked doors were used to keep Rancourt and the public from entering the board room: See a report and a video HERE.
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U of O EBOG Members:
Yves Tremblay, Chair
Allan Rock, Vice-Chair
Pamela Harrod, Secretary (non-member)
Jeffrey M. Dale
Ruth Freiman
Abdo Georges Ghié
V. Peter Harder
Marc Jolicoeur
Richard L’Abbé
Louise Lemyre
Julia Morris
Louise Tardif
Carmen Prévost Vierula
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[photo credit: University of Ottawa]

LINKS to media:

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

In addition, the UofOWatch blog itself is a positive activity of the University of Ottawa and the pictures positively promote the UofOWatch blog.

Whether the 'blog is a positive activity' is surely subjective, as is whether it is in fact an 'activity of the University'.

Whether the 'pictures positively promote [the] blog' is up to you I guess. Personally, I think the layout of this blog is godawful and looks like something a 5-yr old might have put together. The content, at times, seems to match, but I suppose that's a topic for another day. In my opinion the pictures, used in such a shoddy fashion, do nothing to help your blog.

Less subjective is the insinuated contention that the pictures, or anything else on this blog, positively promotes the University, I think it's fair to say that's nonsense.

The implication of course in your language (and thinking I suppose) is that you are the University. This is not true. You may be part of the University community (albeit an unpopular one), but the community is larger than you, sir.

And thank goodness for that.

the voice of the university said...

anonymous states:
[1] Whether the 'blog is a positive activity' is surely subjective, [2] as is whether it is in fact an 'activity of the University'.


[1] Yes.
[2] No.

2. Whether or not the UofO Watch blog is an activity of the University of Ottawa is not subjective; it either is, or is not. The UofO Watch blog is formally recognized by the University of Ottawa as part of Prof. Denis Rancourt's professional workload, and in this way the UofO Watch blog is formally an activity of the University of Ottawa.

According to the APUO Collective Agreement (CA) Section 22.1.1.3, "a member's workload includes the activities set out by the dean in accordance with [...] all the tasks the member carries out in the performance of her functions and responsibilities as described in articles 20 [Academic activities] and 21 [Rights and responsabilites]."

The Dean of the Faculty of Science, Dr. Andre Lalonde, affirms that the UofO Watch blog constitutes part of Prof. Rancourt's workload. The Dean could not discipline Prof. Rancourt under Section 39.4 of the CA for activities related to the UofO Watch blog, unless the UofO Watch blog was a formal university activity.

1. Whether or not the UofO Watch blog is a positive activity is, however, subjective. And whether or not it is a positive activity is the central point surrounding the suspension of Prof. Rancourt. Prof. Rancourt has formally stated his position that "Criticism is positive, healthy, and necessary to produce change. Congratulatory niceties only support the status quo. Not exposing known problems encourages their continuation. Criticism is vital work that needs to be encouraged rather than censored and attacked." . The University of Ottawa has formally stated its position that the "U of O watch blog site [has] not been used for positive promotion of activities related to the University of Ottawa." However, the University of Ottawa has not provided any justification for its belief that the UofO Watch blog is not a positive activity. On Sept 11 2008, the day of Prof. Rancourt's disciplinary meeting, approximately fifteen students, professors and community members walked to Tabaret Hall to meet with the University of Ottawa's administration and learn the logic behind their anti-UofO-Watch-blog views, but the governance facility was fortified by protection officers , and the public was barred from observing the deliberation, which concluded by unanimous decision to suspend Prof. Rancourt.

By suspending Prof. Rancourt for operating the UofO Watch blog (under the pretense of unauthorized use of copyrighted images), the University of Ottawa has demonstrated that it practices political censorship. Political censorship is a method of thought control common amoung terrorist groups, syndicates of organized crime, fascist regimes, and racist governments.

By practicing political censorship, the University of Ottawa is not furthering the betterment of society.

Anonymous said...

"positive promotion the University" is subjective, and it is silly for an institution of knowledge and critical thinking to put such an absurd condition for the use of its pictures

it is even more silly to use that policy detail to discipline a professor rather than dealing with any real issue

Anonymous said...

The Dean of the Faculty of Science, Dr. Andre Lalonde, affirms that the UofO Watch blog constitutes part of Prof. Rancourt's workload

This is a lie, even in the implied sense that you use. Nowhere in that letter does the Dean affirm the blog as an activity of the University, not even in the implied sense that you derive. Read section 39.4.1 of the document you link to.

It is however, typical of the types of arguments oft-used here by what I can only assume are law school flunkies.

Anonymous said...

Read section 39.4.1 of the document you link to.

"The employer may reprimand in writing, suspend or dismiss a member for a just and sufficient cause other than such cause as is referred to in 39.2 and
39.3, subject to the provisions of this section"

And you think this implies the employer can discipline a member for something outside work? Come on, do you think labour law allows your boss to discipline you for what you do at home?

Anonymous said...

Rancourt's comments seem like pure propaganda.

At this point, given his obvious interest in abusing colleagues and the position he was trusted with, he's damned lucky to be getting off so lightly.

For the record, spreading propaganda and disinformation is not "constructive". In Rancourt's case, it seems more like "psychopathic", since the absurd misrepresentations he presents always seem to serve his interests and cast him as a kind of underdog hero. If only. Instead, it's way more likely that his ego has simply escaped completely and he no longer believes can ever be wrong.

It's worth noting that the arbitrator, in sustaining the university's letter of reprimand, commented rather sarcastically about Rancourt's inability to detect his own lies. "Fine and discerning mind"... apparently not, eh?

At this point, it would be nice to put the old Rancourt to rest and rediscover a constructive colleague. I hope this is not too much to hope for. Although he has probably burned his bridges with a good many profs, who probably just couldn't bring themselves to trust him, there are probably lots more who would be willing to try again. Perhaps that is absurdly optimistic, given all of Rancourt's past abuses, but perhaps not.

And yes, given the abuse Rancourt and his tiny band of vitriolic followers seem keen to dish out, I will remain anonymous anon.

-Anonymous

Alain St-Amant said...

Hi All,

I'll briefly come out of my retirement (just like Favre, and BTW 6 TD passes today and I sat him on my fantasy team's bench so I could play Romo!!) and state 3 quick things:

1) I have never posted, or will never post, as "anonymous"

2) though I understand why someone would fear posting their name, I have to admit that DGR and DGR's supporters are essentially harmless if you stand your ground (in my opinion)

3) as for something being on a person's workload, each year on May 1st I get from the Dean's Office an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of white paper with black 12 point font type that states what my workload for the next year will be...I bet that UofOwatch was not on DGR's 8.5 by 11 inch piece of white paper with black 12 point font type that he received on May 1st from the Dean's Office. Just an observation that might be a bit pertinent given the affirmations that it was indeed part of his "workload".

So, just like Michael Jordan, I announce my second and final retirement and I fade into the sunset (blogging wise).......

severin said...

the voice of the university, you state at the end of your post:

"By suspending Prof. Rancourt for operating the UofO Watch blog (under the pretense of unauthorized use of copyrighted images),"

I disagree with you. I don't think that DGR was "suspended" for "unauthorized use of copyrighted images". Rather, I believe the EBOG suspension was a result of insubordination by DGR to Dean Lalonde's imperative to remove the photos.

In this way, DGR can continue to use the photos (as he is doing) without suffering further reprimands. If Dean Lalonde ceases communication with DGR on the issue of the photos, then DGR cannot be further reprimanded, i.e. be insubordinate to Dean Lalonde's imperative. There has never been an official ruling about the photos and the EBOG meeting was not about the photos per se.

factcheck said...

It is exact that the cause of discipline, according to the Dean's letter, is "insubordination".

It is also exact that the Collective Agreement does not contain the word "insubordination".

Anonymous said...

So yeah subjective seems about right.

Anyhow, regardless of whether the UofOWatch is an activity of the University or not, if the University wishes to exert what rights they have retained (e.g. copyright) for those materials, they are surely entitled to.

Further, under section 39.4.1, it seems that DGR could indeed be sanctioned for activities outside his professional workload. This is not at all unusual (most sanctionable acts are NOT part of the workload, if you think about it for 2 seconds) and beyond that, working for many private and public organizations entails standards for behavior in the community, as does membership in most professional organizations.

severin said...

factcheck, the CA does not have to contain explicit reference to "insubordination". All that is necessary from labour law is "just cause" for the employer. In addition to insubordination, other examples are absenteeism and lateness, misconduct, incompetence, and to a certain extent frustration such that the employer-employee relationship has broken down and the employer has already done all that it can to accomodate the employee within the human rights code.

None of these items need to be explicitly mentioned in the CA. What is required is that they be demonstrable by the employer.

The problem for the University in this case is that it is the instigator of not being able to maintain a healthy working relationship with one of its employees, DGR. If this were not the case, and if all that DGR blogs about is in fact not the truth, then the University would have more than just cause to dismiss DGR. It's not a semantic matter of whether "insubordination" is written explicitly in the CA.

What the University is doing is actually illegal. It is because the prof. union (APUO) is in bed with the University that the University can get away with what it is doing. The only way for DGR to make any real progress with all of this is to file a formal complaint against the APUO with the Canada Labour Relations Board. Otherwise, all we get is entertaining media coverage.

Personally, I don't think DGR has it in him to take it up to this notch. But I hope I'm wrong!

Anonymous said...

Wow, it is incredible and absurd how DGR’s followers are deforming reality. Let me ask you this: what good are you really doing? What did your activism actions really given you in the last few years/months? Have you really moved forward? I think not! What are your goals? Anarchy?

DGR is now completely isolated in his little corner. He has lost all credibility with the faculty and his own colleagues, the Administration is fed up with his dishonest tactics, the APUO is not supporting him and even the media isn’t catching on his lies anymore. If I were DGR, I would just quit and be done with it. What do you say Denis?

Philippe said...
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Philippe said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey, no offense or anything, but since Rancourt sycophants tend to start shrieking, suing, and complaining formally about anyone who stands up and disagrees, why subject oneself to their absurdity? Anonymity is the only way forward in their brave new world.

More importantly, why do they engage in such blatant hypocrisy? They're not really interested in free speech, despite their carefully composed lies claiming that they're really just a weird, 21st century version of St. Sebastian. They are interested in warping reality to achieve purely self-aggrandizing aims.

Since the "truth", as they choose to misrepresent it, always seems to fit with their view of being underdog heroes, I'll stick with the observation that the best description for them is simple: psychopathic. They don't give a damn who they disparage, who they trouble, what damage they do, so long as their screaming fit lasts just a little longer.

It's not cowardice to avoid the only thing Rancourt and his sycophants dish out, it's just common sense. Were there less hypocrisy so obviously in evidence, people who disagree with them (virtually everyone, I guess) would probably identify themselves. But look at the long list of people the especially rabid sycophants have tried to drag through the mud or issued public complaints about, lying about nearly everything all the way.

God, the histrionics are just so absurd. It is the best kind of comic relief. Particularly since they're losing. OOOOh, I forgot, lying is "constructive criticism" of the institution.... right.... And stealing from student photographers is ... what? ... freedom of speech?

Back to reality.

-Anonymous. Still.

Philippe said...
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hot-linker said...

"Hey, no offense or anything, but since Rancourt sycophants tend to start shrieking, suing, and complaining formally about anyone who stands up and disagrees, why subject oneself to their absurdity?"

"It's not cowardice to avoid the only thing Rancourt and his sycophants dish out, it's just common sense."

I'll stick with the observation that the best description for them is simple: psychopathic.

"Were there less hypocrisy so obviously in evidence, people who disagree with them (virtually everyone, I guess) would probably identify themselves."

Anonymous said...

I think student activism has been useful at the University of Ottawa level at least, in the next few years. [...] And I apologize if you think my use of biological metaphors for political issues is too crude, but as a scientist I've personally found those links to be very helpful in first analysis.

As a scientist I find your understanding of past, present and future to be lacking.

Philippe said...
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Philippe said...
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Anonymous said...

Well at least now I know where all the 'comment deleted' are coming from.

Didn't you learn to use ink in science? Ever wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Berkeley USA, right? You're just as hypocrite as DGR. Let's hope the next earthquake is the end of you.

hot-linker said...

"You're just as hypocrite as DGR."

"Let's hope the next earthquake is the end of you."