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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Grievance Victories Tabulated: From dean Christian Detellier’s “class attack” to chemistry-chair Alain St-Amant’s enthusiasm for exposing the “truth”…

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The web site rancourt.academicfreedom.ca about the Denis Rancourt case at the University of Ottawa has recently published a chronological summary of all twenty five (25) labour law grievances filed by Rancourt against the University and their outcomes to date >>> HERE.

The grievance and settlement process is exceedingly slow. However, outcomes for some grievances from 2005 and 2006 and one grievance from 2007 have now been determined.

All the grievances assumed by Rancourt’s union have lead to arbitration rulings or settlements or outcomes in favour of Rancourt: Six (6) straight victories >>> see HERE.
  • Dean Christian Detellier’s 2005 “class attack” against the first activism course (see December 2005 YouTube video HERE) resulted in a Memorandum of Settlement in which the University expressed regret for the Dean’s in-class outburst.
  • In 2005 dean Christian Detellier falsely alleged the existence of a student complaint about Rancourt’s CHUO 89.1 FM radio show (The Five O’Clock Train) and used this to pursue a contrived disciplinary attack against Rancourt. The University retracted all of its written allegations and its disciplinary venture.
  • Dean Christian Detellier formally forbade Rancourt and all professors in the Faculty of Science from using the Satisfactory/Non-Satisfactory (S/NS) grading method in their courses. A Memorandum of Settlement resulted in which the dean’s instructions were withdrawn and the University de facto admitted that the Dean could not violate academic freedom in this way.
  • In 2006 the University constructed two more bogus disciplinary campaigns against Rancourt: One about a complaint from teacher assistants regarding a professional criticism made by Rancourt and the other involving unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism from the U of O Jewish Student Association against an invited speaker and professor in Rancourt’s 2005 activism course. By Memorandum of Settlement, the University was required to effectively remove and declare void all documents in its disciplinary campaigns.
The disciplinary campaigns had been formally condoned by both former VP-Academic Robert Major (now retired) and former VP-Research Howard Alper (currently the Chair of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council).
  • In 2006 Department of Chemistry Chairman Alain St-Amant participated in many unethical and unprofessional communications (news media, blogs, and emails) against Rancourt and those who supported the activism course. Rancourt’s grievance against St-Amant’s abuses pressured the new dean André E. Lalonde to intervene: He met St-Amant several times, instructed St-Amant to stop, and sent Rancourt a letter (2007.Nov.06) of assurance that St-Amant's behaviour had and would stop. This significantly curtailed St-Amant’s enthusiasm for “setting the record straight”.
Interestingly, in relation to the latter point, St-Amant made a complaint to dean Lalonde against Rancourt. Although the dean never initiated discipline against St-Amant for the chemistry chairman’s quite remarkable and extensive contributions to the “truth”, the dean did initiate a disciplinary process against Rancourt on the basis of St-Amant’s bogus (and incomprehensible) complaint against Rancourt.

During the latter disciplinary process, Rancourt insisted that the required investigatory meeting be recorded and asked to be told by the University in plain language what he was being accused of by the University. Rancourt asked the dean if the accusation was for “unethical behaviour” of the type for which the dean had been obliged to intervene regarding St-Amant. The University immediately dropped its discipline charge without ever clarifying what the discipline was about; despite Rancourt insisting that the disciplinary process foreseen by the rules should follow its course (to prove his innocence).

You can’t even be disciplined when you want to be!

[Photos, top to bottom: Christian Detellier, Alain St-Amant, Andre E. Lalonde, Robert Major, Howard Alper.]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crown drops criminal charges against student Marc Kelly - University loses face


The power of a public letter - again...

On October 19th 2009 the Student Appeal Centre (SAC) of the Student Federation University of Ottawa (SFUO) wrote a public LETTER to former federal Minister of Justice and now university president Allan Rock which in no uncertain terms instructed the University to back off. The SAC asked Rock to instruct University Legal Counsel to petition the Crown in favour of physics-mathematics student Marc Kelly.

The University had urged the Ottawa Police to arrest Kelly at a December 1st 2008 meeting of university Senate because some Senate members did not want to be video taped by Kelly. False charges were laid and the University cooperated with the Crown to prosecute the student to the fullest extent of its power.

An undertaking was imposed under duress that banned the registered student from campus. Breaches of the undertaking when the student participated in his study program and in campus activities (such as registering for courses) were monitored by campus police and sent to Ottawa Police to have the student further arrested and served with seven additional criminal charges. This was seen as a pressure tactic to intimidate Kelly to abandone his right to a trial of the Senate charges.

The SAC letter broke the standoff. The University Legal Counsel Alain Roussy had stated that it would be unethical for him to intervene on behalf of Kelly but it appears that he or his office did just that when instructed to do so by Rock.

As a result the Crown formally dropped the Senate charges today in court explaining, after 12 months of playing hard ball and many court appearances and legal fees, that "since it would take four days of trial to prove [its] case", it decided that "there is no public interest in maintaining the charges". Ahumm?

In addition, the Crown explained that, having been contacted by the University, it was prepared to offer that the seven additional criminal charges also be dropped in exchange for a Peace Bond in which Kelly would sign that he agrees to "keep the peace" for 12 months. Kelly responded that he wished the additional charges to be stayed by the court. Another court date was scheduled for two weeks later.

Also, the Crown immediately dropped the campus restrictions on Kelly who has been allowed back on campus since last Friday. The forcefully imposed undertakings are off.

Kelly has done nothing but keep the peace and be a responsible and politically engaged citizen. It is the University that called the Ottawa Police into its Senate to have Kelly cuffed and dragged off while the student's colleagues vehemently protested.

It's nice to see the University walk away with its tail between its legs in a case such as this one. But it is shameful that it can command this kind of cooperation from Police and Crown in its political repression.


RELATED LINKS
SAC-SFUO letter to Rock
Math student between a Rock and a hard place
Call for the resignation of Nathalie Des Rosiers
Previous public letter result at U of O
University of Ottawa and the courts - political repression (CANWEST article)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Call for the resignation of Nathalie Des Rosiers from the CCLA


RECENT DEVELOPMENT: Des Rosiers' answer in 2010, LINK.


Dear Nathalie Des Rosiers (and CCLA Board members):

I write in a matter of capital importance. I write to ask that you resign from your position as General Counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). Failing that, I hereby ask that the CCLA Board of Directors and its executive investigate this matter in view of requesting your resignation. I am prepared to cooperate with this investigation.

In your recent capacity as VP-Governance/Secretary at the University of Ottawa under the administration of President Allan Rock you participated in and allowed some of the most egregious violations of civil liberties seen in recent decades in the academic context.

Each of the items listed below constitutes a fatal flaw of judgment and action (or inaction) on your part that should preclude your contributions to the respected Canadian organization that is the CCLA. A professional of your calibre and influence cannot on the one hand participate in civil liberties violations in her professional functions and on the other hand occupy a volunteer directorship of a civil rights organization. Otherwise the cause of civil rights and liberties in Canada is harmed and the credibility of the CCLA is diminished.

(1) POLITICAL FIRING OF A TENURED PROFESSOR WITHOUT DUE PROCESS

You participated in person (with the Dean and the VP-Academic), on December 10, 2008, in what amounted to summarily firing a tenured professor without ever being heard by a committee of his peers and without due process. The reason alleged by the university (attributing high grades irrespective of student academic performance), even if it were true (which it is not), is in contravention of the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel adopted by Canada and established norms in the university workplace.

My dismissal and conflicts with the university are being investigated by an Independent Committee of Inquiry of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT); but your inside knowledge and knowledge of the law are such that you should not required an independent investigation to know that my civil and professional and academic freedom rights were being violated by the Rock administration. My public statement in this regard is posted here:
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/component/content/article/25.html

(2) BANNING AND TRESPASSING A TENURED PROFESSOR FROM CAMPUS

You participated in person (with the Dean and the VP-Academic) in the university’s banning of me from campus on December 10, 2008, while I was a full and tenured professor at the university, again in contravention of the UNESCO Recommendation and established norms in the academic environment. You continued to enforce the ban despite my reasoned appeals to you:
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/Data/Documents/DGRtoCCLA-2FEB2009-NDR-exchanges-002487.pdf

Among other things, this led to my handcuffing and arrest for trespass when I attended the weekly social issues film and discussion series that I ran for several years. (Those charges were dropped by the Prosecutor in Court.) It also separated me from my six graduate students and barred me from the campus radio station where I have produced and hosted a social justice show for many years, which has been critical of the university administration.

(3) POLITICAL REPRESSION OF A STUDENT

You negotiated an agreement for several months with student Marc Kelly, a known student activist and student politician, only to have the university change the agreement at the last hour before the start of fall 2009 classes to include not previously mentioned clauses that indefinitely trespassed the student from campus and that barred the student from applying to the school for graduate studies or any other program. The University’s mistreatment of and political discrimination against student Marc Kelly, including your contribution, were recently publicly denounced by the Student Appeal Centre (SAC) of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO):
http://uofoappeals.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-and-why-university-of-ottawa-got.html
… as has been reported in the student media (both main newspapers and radio).

(4) POLITICALLY-MOTIVATED CENSORSHIP OF STUDENT POSTER

You allowed the Rock administration to ban a poster about Israeli Apartheid Week, while you were VP-Governance. Surely, a strong voice from a university VP concerned about civil liberties would have been enough for the Rock administration to come to its senses on this high profile question of great public concern? You were a member of the executive that enforced this poster ban which was strongly condemned by the CCLA that you now represent. Did you intervene? Did you resign your post in protest? How can one reconcile your inaction from a position of influence on this issue with the CCLA’s strong stance on the same issue? The CCLA’s public position on this issue is expressed in a public letter to President Rock here:
http://ccla.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009-02-26-letter-to-ottawa1.pdf

(5) IMPLEMENTING A REQUIRED SNITCH-LINE FOR ALL UNIVERSITY STAFF

On June 9, 2009, as VP-Governance, you sent a memo to all University of Ottawa staff informing them that the university was implementing an electronic snitch-line system for required anonymous reporting of “any incidents of wrongdoing,” where these reports would be sent “directly to the Office of the VP-Governance” (your office):
http://uofowatch.blogspot.com/2009/06/1984-is-coming-to-campus-near-you.html

After staff outcry against and media coverage of such a regressive practice that directly targets civil rights in the academic workplace, you withdrew the implementation of this policy:
http://uofowatch.blogspot.com/2009/07/nathalie-des-rosiers-explains-policy-92.html

(6) REFUSAL TO INVESTIGATE OR DENOUNCE THE COVERT SURVEILLANCE OF A PROFESSOR’S POLITICAL AND ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES

On June 26, 2009, I sent you (and posted) an open letter requesting that you follow university Policy 92 that you (as VP-Governance) were responsible to enforce, by investigating, as required by the policy, serious incidents of wrongdoing involving unprecedented university violations of civil liberties on a Canadian campus:
http://uofowatch.blogspot.com/2009/06/u-of-os-policy-92-ensures-highest.html

The incidents were cases where documents obtained by access to information (FIPPA) showed that the university administration has hired reporters to prepare and analyse transcripts of my talks given at other universities.

You never acknowledged or replied to my June 26, 2009, request; nor has the university ever responded to my many questions (supported by documentary evidence) about its extensive surveillance of me. Were you instructed by the President to not respond? Did you investigate the matter? Did you ask to be informed? Why did you not respond to my letter?

(7) IRRESPONSIBILITY OR ETHICAL MISCONDUCT?

On November 26, 2008, you sent me a letter, responding for President Allan Rock, relating to an incident of unannounced lockout from my laboratory, and I responded to President Rock on November 27, 2008. See both communications here:
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/Data/Documents/DGRtoAR-NDR-27NOV2008-lies-about-foot-in-door-004141.pdf

In your letter you made false statements and concocted a false accusation against me. The accusation is so absurd (and is contradicted by eye witnesses, police presence, detailed video evidence, and a media report with picture) that at best it leaves one with the impression that you simply wrote what you were told or selected from what you were told (in this case an accusation of criminally doing harm to a person) without questioning the facts or the motives for such a tale. At worst this puts you at the centre of serious ethical misconduct.

(8) PUTTING THE RULING AHEAD OF THE TRIAL

On March 10, 2009, as VP-Governance and speaking for President Allan Rock and the University, you answered the February 24, 2009, letter from the Graduate Student Association of the University of Ottawa (GSAED) protesting the university’s political firing of me. See both letters in this PDF file:
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/Data/Documents/NDRtoFedC-10MAR2009-on-DGR-001556.pdf

In your answer, you made claims against me that were more damning then even the Dean’s unjustified allegations against me that were at the time actively under investigation by the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors, including: that I attributed grades irrespective of the value of student work, that I had committed academic fraud, that I practiced a conscious disregard for collegial decision-making, and that I did not treat all students with respect in their quest for knowledge and excellence.

Does it seem to you in standing with civil rights for the University to make such statements to a student association while a formal investigation is underway and before my formal Supplementary Brief in the matter had even been submitted? It appears from your letter that the University made the decision to dismiss me before the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors met to make the decision and before this body had studied all the documents. Why did your concern for civil liberties not prevent you from participating in even the appearance of such a mockery of justice? (Not to mention that the entire matter has both not yet been arbitrated and is under independent inquiry.)



I have previously alerted the CCLA to some of these matters (e.g., email with attachments to former CCLA General Counsel Alan Borovoy dated February 2, 2009, with student media and you in cc):
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/Data/Documents/DGRtoCCLA-2FEB2009-NDR-exchanges-002487.pdf
I did not receive any replies from the CCLA. Please inform me of the fate of my previous communications to the CCLA.

I ask that the CCLA or you inform me about your decision regarding resignation by November 25th.

Sincerely,

Denis Rancourt
(Former professor of physics at the University of Ottawa)

Cc:
Marc Kelly

Cc:
CAUT-ICOI, APUO, SAC-SFUO, GSAED, Democracy Watch, FAIR Canada, media

Cc: All CCLA staff –
Abby Deshman, Graeme Norton, Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Danielle S. McLaughlin, Christian Pearce, Caitlin Smith, Donna Gilmour, Johanna Grönberg, A. Alan Borovoy

Cc: All CCLA-BOD executives and members –
Marsha Hanen, Jamie Cameron, Susan Cooper, Giséle Côté-Harper, Michael de Pencier, Marlys Edwardh, Edward L. Greenspan, Patricia Jackson, John D. McCamus, Delia Opekokew, The Hon. Howard Pawley, Kenneth P. Swan, Dr. Joseph Wong, Sydney Goldenberg, Elaine Slater, Frank Addario, The Hon. Warren Allmand, Bromley Armstrong, The Hon. Ronald Atkey, Frédéric Bachand, Joseph Boyden, The Hon. Edward Broadbent, Leah Casselman, The Hon. Saul Cherniack, Dominique Clément, Jane Cobden, Michael Conner, Dr. Debby Copes, David Cronenberg, Fernand Daoust, Brian A. F. Edy, Susan Eng, Mel Finkelstein, Robert Fulford, Vicki Gabereau, The Hon. Constance R. Glube, Katherine Govier, Louis Greenspan, Hussein Hamdani, Shirley Heafey, Harish Jain, Mahmud Jamal, Janet Keeping, Joy Kogawa, Anne La Forest, Cyril Levitt, Andrew Lokan, A. Wayne Mackay, Ken Mandzuik, Jon Oliver, Penelope Rowe, Paul Schabas, Marvin Schiff, David Schneiderman, Eric L. Teed, Walter Thompson, The Very Rev. Lois Wilson

[photo credit: CCLA; Nathalie Des Rosiers]

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS:
Author calls on CCLA to repudiate...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On Rock's corporatization of campus governance


The University's President Allan Rock has boasted to student media about his role as CEO of the corporation that is the University of Ottawa. He stated that this was his first posting as CEO of a corporation and that he took setting up his new executive team as an important challenge...

The following is a letter to the editor that appeared in the October 28, 2009, issue of the student newspaper
The Fulcrum.


On the important question of corporatization


THE ROCK ADMINISTRATION has initiated and is hosting panel discussions on corporatization of the university, in view of presenting a policy on corporate donors in the coming weeks (HERE!). Free world bosses and their propagandists have learned that it is more effective to give the illusion of an open discussion than to disallow discussion.

What is important about Rock’s corporatization panels is what is not said. The best way to control discussion is to define its terms, by de facto excluding the real questions. What is not said is that the overarching problem of campus corporatization is a university executive that adopts a corporate-style management ethos in which the president is the CEO of Corporate U, the VPs are his executive officers, and the Senate and BOG are manipulated and directed by executive committees that make the meeting agendas, pre-determine priorities, and delimitate the discussions.

The latter is opposite to the text and spirit of the University of Ottawa Act, 1965, in which the executive officers are servants of the Senate (for academic matters) and BOG (for financial and resource matters), named only to provide efficient administration, not direction. Corporate executive takeover is a hijacking – whether it is in a profit-defined corporation which serves its executive class rather than its shareholders or on a campus in a public-service corporation where collegial governance is decapitated.

All the other problems of campus corporatization follow from the latter takeover: Ego service to other corporate executives, using the institution for broader projects (corporate collaborations) than its original mission to serve citizens and community, integration into a corporate-run economy, legitimization of external corporate and geopolitical projects, etc.

Today’s corporatization under the Rock era at U of O is exactly the corporatization that Mario Savio denounced on the Sproul Hall steps at Berkely on December 2, 1964 (Google “Mario Savio YouTube”). This Berkely Free Speech Movement (denounced by the student union of the time) and many movements like it were followed by decades of activism and legal precedents that established the legal principle of collegial governance on North American campuses and led to the United Nations UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel, 1997, adopted by Canada.

Now the pendulum is swinging back towards a corporate management world in which students sell their freedom and their souls for a place on the management team. Go team go.

Denis Rancourt
Former U of O physics professor


[photo credit: University of Ottawa; CEO Allan Rock]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Math student between a Rock and a hard place


According to the Student Appeals Centre (SAC) of the Student Federation at the University of Ottawa (SFUO), scholarship math-physics undergraduate student and published scientific author Marc Kelly is being persecuted by the Rock administration as reprisal for “having spoken out and for having ultimately taken his grievances to President Rock” – see SAC WEB POST HERE.

The repression is reported to be severe, involving several concocted criminal charges and a total banishment from campus. Trial dates are set for January 2010. The student is being prevented from attending a required course in his study program this semester; for which the University allowed him to register but then collaborated with the Crown and Ottawa Police to continue the campus ban.

The suggestion appears to be that this outrageous situation (which is at odds with the United Nations UNESCO Recommendations on academic freedom) is reprisal in part for a bold and embattled student’s attempt to speak with President Allan Rock after months of unanswered attempts to be heard about mistreatment by a professor in a physics course – all the way up the chain from the professor, to the departmental chairman, to the vice-dean academic, to the dean of the faculty, to the VP-academic, to the president's office (after many emails)…

Fortunately, the student had a voice recorder on his person so that the President’s vehement and intimidating verbal abuse could be documented and exposed. Marc Kelly posted the voice recording on his UofOVoice blog:

The True Face of Allan Rock

The video below shows student Marc Kelly, in his well known political dimension, as he runs a press conference about another case of academic freedom:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dean Art

As I have gotten to know the institutional side of the present dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Ottawa, I have developed the opinion that the artist depiction featured below is not far from the truth.

We cannot know how the institution will react to the use of academic freedom until someone uses academic freedom. Only then do we see what deans stand for and the true meaning of our eloquent institutional statements of principle.

In light of the Rancourt case, the University of Ottawa should consider being as straightforward as is this stencil art in its communications – in the interest of transparency and responsibility to the public.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The power of a public letter - Feldthusen on rape case


At 11:53AM graduate student in law Mireille Gervais wrote an open letter demanding that former VP and dean of the Faculty of Law (University of Ottawa) Bruce Feldthusen retract his statements recently reported in the media. See Gervais’ email below.
..
At 3:01PM
Feldthusen made a public retraction. See Feldthusen’s email below.
..
Feldthusen appears to be claiming that he provided his opinion on current legal practice to a reporter without inquiring or being informed about the context of the reporter’s interest. The reporter would have then concocted the piece that clearly has Feldthusen commenting on the violent rape case in question: LINK to media article.
..
It appears that either Feldhusen is misrepresenting his interview with the reporter or that the reporter (Ottawa Citizen, CanWest) is rather creative in her transmission of the facts: “Much of the university's statement of defence is standard legal language, said Bruce Feldthusen, dean of law at the University of Ottawa …” (LINK to media article.)
..
In the latter case, we can trust that Citizen Publisher Jim Orban (and BOG member, University of Ottawa) will make any needed corrections to in-house journalistic practice and to the public record.
..
[Photo credit: University of Ottawa; Bruce Feldthusen.]
..
..
From: Mireille Gervais
Sent: August 12, 2009 11:53 AM

To: Bruce Feldthusen

Cc: roseann_runte[at]carleton.ca; Allan Rock; jorban[at]thecitizen.canwest.com; wrc[at]sfuo.ca; womyns_centre[at]cusaonline.com

..
Subject:
Faculty of Law Dean Feldthusen must retract legitimization of rape victim blaming

..

Ottawa

August 12, 2009

..

Bruce Feldthusen

Dean

Faculty of Common Law

University of Ottawa

..

RE: Your Comments In Ottawa Citizen Article on Carleton University Rape Victim Lawsuit

..

Dean Feldthusen,

..

You were cited in a Saturday August 8, 2009, Ottawa Citizen article (Carleton Accused of ‘Victim Blaming’) regarding your opinions on the lawsuit involving the brutal August 2007 campus rape of a female student at Carleton University. Carleton University’s statement of defense claims that the victim failed to keep a ‘proper lookout’ and that the victim did not take sufficient steps to ensure her own safety.

..

You were quoted as saying “pleadings are pleadings, and everybody is obligated to overstate their case at the pleadings stage.” Contrary to your inexcusable position, when a woman is attacked and raped while in her workspace on a university campus, her face smashed to the floor repeatedly necessitating serious medical attention, to blame her for not having kept the ‘proper lookout’ is not to overstate a defense, it is victim blaming in a most vile form and a shameful attempt at making women responsible for rape.

..

You go on to state that “there's a case, I think, where the legal culture is just a little different from what people think.” This type of elitist logic cannot be justified in our legalistic world where so few can afford legal representation. If the legal culture is one where it is legitimate to fabricate arguments in a way that reinforces the worst sexist stereotypes and assigns the blame for violent attacks squarely on the victims, then there is something profoundly wrong with the legal profession as you profess it.

..

As both an alumnus of and a graduate student at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, I am outraged that an official from the University would attempt to pass off Carleton University’s pleadings as normal, healthy, and ethical.

..

In light of the seriousness of the circumstances, I believe that at the very least a retraction of your statements is necessary to show that the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law does not condone Carleton University’s unacceptable position.

..

Mireille Gervais LL.L

Graduate Student in Law (Social Justice Concentration)

..

cc. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President, Carleton University

Allan Rock, President, University of Ottawa

Jim Orban, Publisher, The Ottawa Citizen

Amy Hammett, Women’s Resource Centre, University of Ottawa

Kandace Price, Womyn’s Centre, Carleton University

Media and made public

..
..
From: Bruce Feldthusen
Date: Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Subject: RE: Faculty of Law Dean Feldthusen must retract legitimization of rape victim blaming

To: Mireille Gervais

Cc: roseann_runte[at]carleton.ca, Allan Rock , jorban[at]thecitizen.canwest.com, wrc[at]sfuo.ca, womyns_centre[at]cusaonline.com

..
Dear All,

..

It is true that I was interviewed by a reporter at the Ottawa Citizen and portions of that interview were later quoted in the Citizen on Saturday August 8. During the interview I expressed no opinion whatsoever about a particular sexual assault that had occurred at Carleton University, nor about the lawsuit arising from that sexual assault. I know nothing whatsoever about that case. To her credit, the reporter did not ask me to comment upon a case before the courts Nor did I discuss civil claims and defenses arising from sexual assault in particular. The interview dealt with civil procedure in damage claims generally. I discussed the difference between statements that appear in legal pleadings and statements proven in evidence. I was not asked, and I did not make any comments about the present state of the law as it affects victims of sexual assault. On that subject, my published work speaks for itself.

..

Saturday August 8, 2009, Ottawa Citizen article (Carleton Accused of ‘Victim Blaming’)

..

Bruce Feldthusen

Doyen/Dean Common Law

Faculté de Droit/Faculty of Law

Université d'Ottawa/University of Ottawa

57 Louis Pasteur

Ottawa ON K1N 6N5

Canada

613-562-5927

Saturday, August 1, 2009

U of O’s discovery of instant psychological evaluations: Mineralogist dean wants all the credit


Recall that back in 2007 the University of Ottawa’s dean of the Faculty of Science André E. Lalonde, who is a mineralogist by training, made a fundamental advance in labour management by spontaneously developing a capacity for instant psychological evaluations of his academic staff [LINK].
..
Such progress in management methods can only be of use to society at large if it is shared into the public domain so that other managers can learn these skills. Therefore, UofOWatch investigated this development in human knowledge by making an access to information (ATI) request on April 30, 2008, to identify all records (emails, letters, notes, reports, etc.) related in the broad sense to the dean’s September 6, 2007, LETTER [LINK].
..
The University was obliged by law to search for the requested records and to provide them within 30 days. The University replied on May 15, 2008, that “Access is denied to your request since no such records exist.
..
UofOWatch appealed the University’s denial of access to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario on June 4, 2008. The appeal was accepted and the case went into mediation. Mediation lasted more than one year and was terminated with the Mediation Report. On July 30, 2009, the case was then moved to adjudication.
..
It is the position of UofOWatch that any “mediation privilege” should not be used as a pretext to prevent unethical or illegal behaviours of institutions from being disclosed.
..
As is shown in the Mediator’s Report and supporting documents (available to media and investigators on request), during mediation the University, in the person of Pamela Harrod, first reaffirmed its position that “no records exist.
..
The University informed the Mediator that the dean had initiated the LETTER on his own initiative and based entirely on informal verbal conversations with one or more colleagues in the hallways or in his office: The dean had no respondent records.
..
At this point, the University also informed the Mediator that it was prepared to ask the dean to state his position in an affidavit.
..
Wow. Taken at face value, this means that the dean had discovered a way to single-handedly perform a psychological evaluation based entirely on hearsay, of sufficient reliability to write a formal letter insinuating a mental health problem. [From a statistical perspective, given the nature of hallway conversations in academia, the dean presumably would have sent out many such letters?]
..
However, it was not that simple.
..
UofOWatch then asked the Mediator to indeed secure the proposed affidavit and to also secure affidavits of non-involvement from those that the dean might have consulted, such as Pamela Harrod (VP-Governance), Legal Counsel, Robert Major (VP-Academic), and Louise Pagé-Valin (Human Resources). The Mediator also transmitted a list of thirteen University offices where respondent records might be found.
..
At this point, the University refused to provide any affidavits and instead provided an index of eleven respondent records that it now mysteriously found, some four months into the process.
..
The University has refused to provide the records themselves but the index shows that the records are emails between the dean, Major, Michelle Flaherty (Legal Counsel), Pagé-Valin, and others, exchanged mainly during June and July 2007, in obvious preparation for the September 6, 2007, LETTER. Several exchanges have the index subject line “A different tact?”
..
Since Legal Counsel Flaherty is involved in virtually all the emails, it is difficult to understand how her immediate supervisor Pamela Harrod could repeatedly report in the name of the University that “no such records exist,” while required by law to search for and produce all records within 30 days.
..
Oh my my, so the dean, although he does not like to admit it, needs at least a lawyer and his immediate supervisor the VP-Academic to accomplish his feat of psychoanalysis? What is most surprising is the length to which the University is prepared to go in order to not disclose its secret of newfound management abilities.
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It appears that the dean was prepared to lie to cover the whole mess, but that asking everyone involved to lie under oath (in affidavits) was too much.
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The next questions are:
  • Will the University be ordered to perform another search?
  • Will the University be ordered to disclose some or all of the found records?
  • Will the IPC Adjudicator use her legal powers to get to the bottom of the case?
  • Will the records be disclosed by a parallel legal adventure or investigation?
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And finally, will those involved in subverting the ATI law in Ontario (FIPPA) suffer any consequences?
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[Photo credits: Andre E. Lalonde, comet; University of Ottawa, Andre E. Lalonde.]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Misfeasance in the department of French literature, or gross incompetence? – Take your pick

This open letter by scholarship graduate student Marie Galophe says it all. It has been sent to all professors at the University of Ottawa and is posted, with supporting document, on the blog of the Student Appeal Centre (SAC) of the Student Federation University of Ottawa (SFUO).
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Dimanche 12 juillet 2009
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Lettre ouverte concernant l’état de la liberté académique au Département de français de l’Université d’Ottawa
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Du pseudo droit de réponse, de la pseudo interdisciplinarité, de la pseudo liberté académique, de la pseudo réputation de l’Université d’Ottawa
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Dans le cadre de ma première année de doctorat en création littéraire au Département de français de l’Université d’Ottawa, j’ai soumis le 8 avril 2008 un projet de thèse intitulé : « Dialogue(s) avec Paolo Freire : rhétorique et réécriture. » Ce projet en création avait pour ambition de rédiger « un dialogue mettant en scène de façon figurée le dialogisme à l’œuvre dans l’essai de Freire < Pédagogie des Opprimés > ». Il s’agissait donc de faire œuvre de fiction à partir des thèses et des procédés en présence dans l’essai de Paolo Freire, abordés d’un point de vue rhétorique. Ce dialogue fictionnel avait pour but de réactualiser la pensée de Freire en transformant l’essai dans un autre type de discours, assimilé à un genre littéraire.
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Rappelons que la soumission d’un projet de thèse au Département de français de l’Université d’Ottawa suppose le choix d’un directeur de thèse, la recherche d’un sujet pertinent et original, et la rédaction d’une proposition de 10 à 12 pages présentant :
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« I. Énoncé détaillé du projet
1. Présentation du projet d’écriture (choix et enjeux esthétiques, choix génériques, autres éléments pertinents).

II. Projet de réflexion théorique et critique
1. Énoncé de la problématique et lien avec le projet de création;
2. État de la question (actualité ou tradition de la critique sur le sujet ou le corpus);

3. Objectifs de la réflexion;

4. Bibliographie. »
( Cf. Formulaire de dépôt de sujet de thèse en création littéraire)
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C’est donc un travail considérable, qui s’effectue durant la première année d’inscription en doctorat, alors même que l’étudiant doit obtenir 12 crédits, ce qui représente 4 séminaires à suivre et à valider.
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Ainsi, j’ai élaboré ce projet de thèse en création littéraire avec l’aide et le soutien de ma directrice de thèse, Mme Danielle Forget, elle-même écrivain, spécialiste en rhétorique et travaillant actuellement sur « L’interculturel et ses manifestations discursives dans les échanges entre le Canada et l’Amérique latine (Argentine, Brésil, Chili, Mexique) », avec Patrick Imbert, membre du Comité des études supérieures du Département de français. De l’avis de Mme Forget, ce projet était tout à fait pertinent et novateur, notamment dans le choix d’écriture d’un dialogue fictionnel.
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Dans le cadre de ce processus de dépôt de sujet de thèse, j’ai été amenée à rencontrer les membres du jury de mon examen de synthèse, programmé à l’automne 2009. Ce jury a été choisi en fonction de mon sujet de thèse. Pour ce faire, j’ai envoyé le 2 mars 2009 un résumé de mon projet de thèse à M. Yergeau, président du Comité des études supérieures du Département de français. Ma directrice de thèse, Mme Forget, s’est livrée au même exercice de son côté. De plus, suite à mes inquiétudes concernant la nationalité de Freire, j’avais questionné M.Yergeau sur la recevabilité de mon choix par le Comité. Il a répondu dans un courriel du 31 mars 2009 : « Renseignements pris, vous pouvez choisir cet auteur brésilien. »
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Mon projet a donc été soumis le mercredi 8 avril 2009 au Comité des études supérieures du Département de français, composé de Mme France Martineau, de M. Patrick Imbert, de M. Kasereka Kavwahirehi, de M. Robert Yergeau (président du Comité) et de Mme Dominique Lafon (directrice du Département). Pourtant, dans une lettre datée du 28 avril 2008, M. Yergeau m’annonçait le refus de mon projet dans les termes suivants :
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« Madame,
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Le Comité des études supérieures du Département de français a étudié votre projet de thèse de doctorat.
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Je dois vous informer qu’il a été refusé, parce qu’il contient deux aspects qui le rendent inadmissible dans le cadre de notre programme en création littéraire :
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1. Le texte de base de ce projet appartient au domaine de la pédagogie. Le Comité considère qu’il n’a pas sa place dans un département d’études littéraires.
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2. Cette thèse se veut avant tout un exercice de vulgarisation de la pensée de Paulo Freire. Cette perspective ne relève pas non plus de la création littéraire.
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Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame, l’expression de mes salutations les meilleures.
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Le président du Comité des études supérieures,
Robert Yergeau »
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Ce refus de projet de thèse est le premier dans l’histoire du Département de français de l’Université d’Ottawa et m’a surprise tout autant que ma directrice par la brutalité de son propos. Alors que les membres du jury demandent le plus souvent des modifications, des réajustements ou des explications supplémentaires, le Comité a choisi dans le ci-présent cas le refus complet, somme toute peu constructif pour moi, voire irrespectueux compte tenu de la somme de travail fourni, d’une part, et de la validation de mon projet par ma directrice de thèse, d’autre part.
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J’observe donc un manquement à la liberté académique dans le caractère unilatéral de la décision, couplé à son autoritarisme. Les arguments invoqués témoignent, d’une part, d’une condamnation de l’interdisciplinarité et, d’autre part, d’un mépris pour la société civile, visible dans l’emploi du terme de « vulgarisation », extrêmement surprenant compte tenu de la vocation même de l’Université. D’où la publicité mensongère à laquelle se livre l’Université d’Ottawa en se présentant comme un lieu d’enseignement interdisciplinaire, favorisant la recherche et l’innovation.
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Le Comité des études supérieures du Département de français a autorisé, par ailleurs, une étudiante de maîtrise à travailler sur Elvis Gratton et les scénarios télévisuels dont il est le héros. De même, un colloque a été organisé par un professeur du Département de français sur le personnage de bande dessinée Tintin, abordé dans une perspective sociocritique, dans le cadre de l’ACFAS 2009. Ainsi, il est difficile de comprendre, dès lors, en quoi Paulo Freire ne peut faire l’objet d’une étude littéraire dans le cadre du Département de français de l’Université d’Ottawa.
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Cependant, à la suite de ce refus, j’ai rencontré le président du Comité, M. Yergeau, en compagnie de ma directrice de thèse, Mme Danielle Forget et d’un agent de recours étudiant, travaillant pour le Centre de recours étudiant (CRÉ). M. Yergeau a admis que la raison de ce refus était « soit très superficielle, soit très fondamentale ». Il a cependant affirmé que je pouvais rédiger une lettre de réponse aux membres du Comité, défendant mon point de vue. Lorsque l’agent de recours a demandé si la décision était réversible à la suite à cette réponse, M. Yergeau a répondu : « Je n’ai pas dit ça. »
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Dans la mesure où cette décision n’était pas réversible, d’une part, et que, d’autre part, je devais soumettre un nouveau sujet de thèse avant la fin du troisième semestre d’inscription, soit l’été 2009, j’ai choisi de m’atteler le plus rapidement possible à un nouveau projet de recherche. Ce nouveau projet m’a demandé deux mois et demi de travail supplémentaire, toujours sous la direction de Mme Forget.
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Alors que M. Yergeau m’avait affirmé lors de notre rencontre avec ma directrice de thèse et l’agent de recours que je devais soumettre mon nouveau projet avant le 31 août 2009, ce dernier m’a adressé le 25 juin 2009 un courriel me demandant « de déposer une nouvelle version de [mon] projet au plus tard le lundi 20 juillet, date qui correspond au retour de vacances de Madame Gaumond. » Pourquoi cette date ? Aucun règlement écrit n’est disponible au Département de français concernant la reprise d’un projet de thèse refusé et les échéances correspondantes.
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Je me suis donc présentée au Département de français le jeudi 18 juin, à 10 h, pour remettre mon projet à la secrétaire. Cette dernière m’a mentionné que plusieurs membres du Comité étaient déjà partis en vacances. Seuls M. Yergeau et Mme Lafon, directrice du Département, étaient encore disponibles. Le lendemain, soit le vendredi 18 juin à 11 h, j’ai reçu un courriel émanant de la secrétaire, avec en fichier joint, la lettre d’acceptation de mon nouveau projet, signée par M. Yergeau.
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Il est difficile, dans ces conditions, de ne pas remettre en doute la validité de l’évaluation du Comité des études supérieures du Département de français de l’Université d’Ottawa, autoritaire lors de sa première évaluation et prompt à régler les choses au plus vite lors de sa seconde évaluation. Rappelons, en effet, qu’un second refus de mon projet de thèse aurait entraîné mon éviction du programme et la perte de ma bourse internationale.
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J’ai donc choisi de dénoncer l’injustice qui m’a été faite, émaillée d’incohérences, inadmissibles dans une institution qui se présente comme l’Université canadienne. En tant qu’étudiante internationale, je suis choquée par les procédés du Département de français. En tant qu’étudiante de Paris IV-Sorbonne en France, j’ai fait part à mon réseau universitaire d’attache de ce refus et n’encourage pas mes compatriotes à venir étudier au Département de français de l’Université d’Ottawa.
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J’espère qu’en exposant ces procédés arbitraires, le Département de français favorisera une meilleure transparence, en accord avec le projet éducatif prôné par l’Université d’Ottawa, afin de rétablir un climat de liberté académique et de saine création littéraire, dégagée de toute tentative de censure.
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Cependant, je reste préoccupée quant au mobile réel de ce refus. En effet, j’avais mentionné aux membres de mon jury d’examen de synthèse que M. Denis Rancourt, professeur de physique de l’Université d’Ottawa congédié au mois de mars 09, m’avait fait découvrir Paolo Freire, pédagogue dont il s’inspire lui-même. De plus, j’ai pris position publiquement contre son renvoi dans une lettre ouverte, mise en ligne par la suite. Enfin, j’ai déjà été l’objet d’un certain nombre de pressions et d’agressions verbales suite à mon enseignement d’un cours de premier cycle dans lequel j’avais remis en cause les grilles de notation et également informé mes étudiants du cas du professeur Rancourt.
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À la lumière de ces faits, j’ai donc été amenée à conclure que le refus du Comité était soit le résultat d’une incompétence professionnelle soit le soubresaut d’une affaire politique. Dans tous les cas, je dénonce ce refus et reste ouverte à des explications, des excuses, voire des réparations.
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Marie Galophe
Candidate au doctorat,
Département de français de l’Université d’Ottawa,
Ontario, Canada.
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Cc. Public
M. Allan Rock, Recteur de l’Université d’Ottawa
M. François Houle, Vice-Recteur aux études
M. Gary Slater, Doyen de la Faculté des études supérieures
M. Antoni Lewkowicz, Doyen de la Faculté des arts
Mme Dominique Lafon, Directrice du Département de français
M. Robert Yergeau, Président du Comité des études supérieures du Département de français
M. Alexandre Gauthier, représentant étudiant au Comité des études supérieures du Département de français
Tous les étudiants diplômés du Département de français
Tous les professeurs du Département de français
Mme Lucie Keech, Directrice par intérim du service du marketing
Mme Andrée Dumulon, Directrice du Bureau des communications
GSAED
CRÉ
Bureau des étudiants internationaux
Peter Biesterfel, documentariste
Professeur Claude Lamontagne, CDE
The Freire Project, Montréal
En ligne sur le blog du Centre de Recours Étudiant (SFUO)
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[Photo credits: University of Ottawa; Dominique Lafon, Directrice du departement; Robert Yergeau, Président du Comité des études supérieures]

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nathalie Des Rosiers explains Policy 92


On July 7, 2009, former VP-Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers sent a message to the “University community”. The message is appended below.
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The message states that Policy 92 was approved by the Board of Governors (BOG) in December 2007. In fact, the posted minutes of the BOG meetings show that Policy 92 was approved at the October 2007 meeting of the BOG [LINK].
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The message goes on to recast Policy 92 as being only concerned with “fraud” and only in the context of “best practices in the area of good governance.” (See message below.)
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The latter clarification is contrary to the language of the approved Policy which states: “Thoroughly investigate all allegations of wrongdoing … ‘Wrongdoing’ means any act, irregularity, misconduct or activity, real or perceived, that is dishonest, inappropriate or illegal … Wrongdoing of any kind is strictly forbidden … University staff members who engage in any wrongdoing of any kind are subject to disciplinary action …
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Ms. Des Rosiers’ message also states that “Before Policy 92 was approved, various stakeholders at the University had been consulted on the policy.” (sic) The consulted “stakeholders” are not named. Students and professors were not consulted directly or via their faculties and departments. Maybe some deans were consulted? Maybe members of the BOG were “consulted” before they were asked to pass the new policy in October 2007? There is no indication in the BOG minutes of any debate or objections, or of anything other than unanimous approval of the Administrative Committee’s recommendation.
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For example, there is no evidence in the minutes of any BOG member’s enquiry about what the consultations had been for such a far reaching policy. Unfortunately, the October 2007 BOG meeting was held before the new BOG video policy came into effect, so there is no actual record of the proceedings.
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Furthermore, the most recent Des Rosiers message (below) stunningly states that the June 9, 2009, message to all University staff was meant to announce the “implementation” of Policy 92, not simply the introduction of a commercial snitch line software to be used in conjunction with Policy 92.
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The message goes on to explain that Policy 92 was never implemented and that its implementation will be further delayed by an additional six months.
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How can delaying the implementation of this judged vital and BOG-approved policy (the text of which does not mention a software snitch line) by more than two years be consistent with the university’s “highest standards of honesty, integrity and transparency in all of its activities?”
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On the one hand, the policy is motivated by such vehement language of responsibility and ethics and on the other hand its implementation is delayed by university executives by more than two years after it becomes officially the law by decree at the BOG.
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On the one hand, the policy is recast to address allegations of fraud in governance against the university’s highest executive officers, yet on the other hand the same executive officers can delay its implementation at their whim; having written the policy such as to explicitly include an unqualified clause allowing the Administrative Committee (made up of the President and the VPs) to except the policy’s application whenever it chooses: “23. No exception may be made to this Policy without the approval of the Administrative Committee.
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There you have it.
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They’re just making it up as we go.
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Policy’s passed by the highest governing body of the university and posted on the university’s public web site are retroactively not implemented until sufficient consultation is deemed to have occurred.
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As per Des Rosiers’ memo (below), consultations will be held with “various groups” during the next two summer months… That should do it.
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Let’s call it bulldozer governance, with a consultation trailer (or parade float?) hitched to the back.
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THE JULY 7th MASSAGE:
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Sent: Tue 7/7/2009 2:18 PM

Subject: Message from Nathalie Des Rosiers Message to the University community
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In December 2007, the Board of Governors approved Policy 92, the University’s policy on fraud. The goal of this policy is to ensure the University remains at the forefront of best practices in the area of good governance. Before Policy 92 was approved, various stakeholders at the University had been consulted on the policy.
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This policy is designed to protect individuals who may have witnessed a fraudulent act. Under the policy, these individuals can report their suspicions to the external firm responsible for carrying out investigations. A similar process is already in place at McMaster University.

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The announcement made a few weeks ago indicating this policy was being implemented has generated a great deal of discussion, and people who were not heard two years ago have expressed their desire to be heard now. As a result, and because of the length of time between the consultations and the implementation of the policy, it seems fitting to allow everyone a chance to be heard on this issue.

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Therefore, we will delay the implementation of the policy by six months to allow for further consultation. Please send your comments on Policy 92 to vp.governance@uOttawa.ca. We will also hold consultations with various groups on campus over the next few months.
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Nathalie Des Rosiers

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[Photo credit: University of Ottawa; Chairman of the BOG Marc Jolicoeur]

CanWest MEDIA REPORTS: LINK-ONE, LINK-TWO.

Friday, June 26, 2009

U of O's Policy 92 ensures the highest standards of honesty, integrity and transparency for all its executives and officers


June 26, 2009
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Nathalie Des Rosiers
VP-Governance
University of Ottawa
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Re: Policy 92 disclosure of wrongdoing, university’s surveillance of professor
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Dear Nathalie Des Rosiers,
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University Policy 92 states that the VP-Governance, your office, will thoroughly investigate all allegations of wrongdoing. In this policy, “wrongdoing” means any act that is “dishonest, inappropriate or illegal.”
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I hereby report wrongdoing by VP-Academic Robert Major. Other University officers and staff are also involved. Paragraph-16 of Policy 92 foresees that the written report of your investigation will be provided to the Board of Governors.
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WRONGDOING
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VP-Academic Robert Major and other University officers and staff practiced surveillance of two of my invited talks at other academic institutions in 2007 and 2008, while I was a full and tenured professor at the University of Ottawa. A description of evidence is given below.
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As the officer responsible for Policy 92 investigations, you will recognise that such covert surveillance by the university is contrary to the “the highest standards of honesty, integrity and transparency in all of [the university’s] activities.”
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As the designated General Counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), you will recognize that such surveillance by a corporation of one of its employees is contrary to responsible behaviour in a free and democratic society.
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As an academic, you will recognize that such behaviour by a university is a violation of the legally established principle of academic freedom.
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As a lawyer, you will recognize that this type of personal information gathering and use is against the law. Specifically, it is against the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) of Ontario to which universities in Ontario are bound and against the Employment Standards Act of Ontario.
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ADDITIONAL WRONGDOING
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In addition to the surveillance itself, there has been an attempt by VP-Academic Major and other officers of the University to avoid the issue. The VP-Academic and the University have not acknowledged my direct enquiries of October 16, 2008 (with the President, Secretary, and APUO in cc), and December 9, 2008 (with the President, Dean of the Faculty of Science, the APUO, the Head of Human Resources, and yourself in cc) in this matter.
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EVIDENCE
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Using Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) requests, such as my request dated August 7, 2008, I have established that the University, via Mr. Major and other offices, has used the services of a private reporter to monitor an invited academic talk I gave at the Studies in National and International Development (SNID) group at Queen’s University, some 200 km from Ottawa, on October 18, 2007.
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The respondent FIPPA records are unambiguous regarding the act of surveillance of me.
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The University used a private reporter a second time to monitor my invited contribution at the Association Canadienne Française pour L’Avancement des Sciences (ACFAS) conference in Quebec City, some 450 km from Ottawa, on May 7, 2008. See my FIPPA request dated May 8, 2009 (addressed to you) and the related Appeal to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) dated June 10, 2009.
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You have my permission to use the relevant FIPPA records respondent to my FIPPA requests and my requests in your investigation. These records are available in the office of the University’s FIPPA Coordinator.
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NEED TO PRESERVE EVIDENCE
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According to my FIPPA inquiries, in the past, the email records of leaving university officials (e.g. VP David Mitchell) have not been preserved. Since VP-Academic Major is leaving the University at the end of the month and since your investigation may take some time, I ask that all of Dr. Major’s records relevant to this matter be preserved.
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Please acknowledge receipt of the present disclosure of wrongdoing. Please confirm that your office will investigate.
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Sincerely,
Denis Rancourt
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Cc: Marc Jolicoeur, Allan Rock, Robert Major, Andre E. Lalonde, Louise Page-Valin, APUO, CAUT, CUPE 2626, SFUO, GSAED, CCLA, made public.
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RELATED POST: 1984 coming to a campus near you
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[photo credit: University of Ottawa; VP-Academic Robert Major]

Saturday, June 13, 2009

1984 is Coming to a Campus Near You


The University of Ottawa’s Allan Rock administration has sent out this (below) remarkable memo to all U of O staff, conveniently at a time when students are off working.
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In the face of decades of legal precedent-setting decisions that have established the collegial governance principles that apply to North American universities, it has done this without any of the required department-faculty-and-senate consultations and evaluations.
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The memo (below) describes the immediate implementation of a new surveillance and reporting managerial system in which all university members are required to participate.
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The system is akin to the reporting protocols systematically implemented at community levels in totalitarian states. History shows that such systems have a chilling effect on dissidence and reinforce a culture of deference to authority that is antithetical to academic freedom.
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Barely a year after the university’s failed attempt to install a “student code of conduct,”Canada’s university” becomes possibly the first academic institution in North America to implement such a policy.
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The memo (below) has a distinct 1984 feel and substance and is signed by the Rock administration’s VP-Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers who, in what can only be interpreted as exceptional circumstances of irony, is the designated General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
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In the new system, anonymous “disclosures” of “any incidents of wrongdoing” are sent “directly to the Office of the VP-Governance” and “it is the duty of each employee to immediately report any incidents.” The note (below) states “we are all responsible for promoting ethical behaviour…”
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Strange, when, on this blog, I reported with documentary evidence various university executives lying, fabricating student complaints, falsifying documents, supporting state war crimes, and protecting those who committed these wrongdoings, I was threatened with a lawsuit by the university, disciplined for using the university images of the executives (see VIDEO), and ultimately fired.
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It seems to me, that if the University of Ottawa were serious about “provid[ing] the tools” to “encouge[] ethical behaviour in all [its] spheres of activity,” it would, for example:
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  • encourage informed and signed whistleblowing, supported with strong whistleblower protection for all its staff and students,
  • post its CURIE insurance policy on the web and make the additionally insured fully informed of their coverage, e.g. regarding SLAPP suits,
  • make representations to have Ontario universities fall under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Ombudsman and voluntarily submit itself to this jurisdiction,
  • make all of its corporate and private contracts public, including those with donors involving building names and other exchanges,
  • make all research grants and contracts public
  • install a Board of Governors membership policy that disallows media bosses and all private sector leaders that could be perceived to represent potentials for conflicts of interest in a democratic society with a free press,
  • have all its appointments of top officers and full professors be subjected to public scrutiny and approval by referendum of the entire university community,
  • have all its faculty deans be assigned by elections, with 50% student voices, as is done in many countries,
  • pay all student representatives on all committees and councils the same average wage value as the professors for their work on these governance bodies,
  • immediately disclose its contracts and agreements with the developers and owners of the surveillance software ClearView Connects™ (see below).
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MEMO:

From: UOStaff-l en francais on behalf of Communications uOttawa
To: UOPERS-L@LISTSERV.UOTTAWA.CA
Sent: Tue 6/9/2009 10:49 AM
Subject: Règlement 92 sur la fraude et la divulgation d'actes fautifs / Policy 92 on Fraud and Safe Disclosure
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Honesty, integrity and transparency are the values that inspire confidence and the constituents of good governance.

In keeping with best practices in place at public sector organizations, an institution of the scope of the University of Ottawa must provide the tools the University and its employees need to respect these values, maintain the quality of the work environment and protect the University’s resources.

As employees of the University, we are all responsible for promoting ethical behaviour and for respecting for the laws, regulations, polices and procedures necessary for the proper functioning of our institution.

With this in mind, the Board of Governors has approved Policy 92, Policy on Fraud and Safe Disclosure. This policy is to be administered by the Office of the Vice-President, Governance and applies to all University employees, including members of the Board of Governors and persons acting on behalf of the University.

Under Policy 92, it is the duty of each employee to immediately report any incidents of wrongdoing related to University activities. To assist with reporting, we have introduced ClearView ConnectsTM, a tool that allows employees to report quickly, anonymously and in complete confidence any incidents of theft, misappropriation of funds, falsification of documents, vandalism, unethical behaviour, etc.

ClearView ConnectsTM is available 24/7 online or by phone. The system forwards the disclosure directly to the Office of the Vice-President, Governance, which will deal with it as soon as possible and in accordance with Policy 92.

To obtain more information on the reasons behind Policy 92, its scope, the responsibilities of members of the University community, reporting procedures, investigation procedures, ClearView ConnectsTM or any other related matter, please visit www.uOttawa.ca/disclosure.

Your cooperation is essential in order to maintain an organizational climate that encourages ethical behaviour in all our spheres of activity. We are fortunate to work in an exceptional environment, and, with your help, the University of Ottawa can continue to experience the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Nathalie Des Rosiers
Acting Vice-President, Governance
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LINK TO FIRST MEDIA REPORT:
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Ottawa Citizen - Academics blast university snitch line

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Green Campus Undone: BOG member works to sabotage U of O’s eco-leadership


On the one hand, the University of Ottawa works hard to give itself an eco-veneer, with its Sustainable Development Office, its Institute for the Environment, and its Green Campus student club, but on the other hand, on the power hand…
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Contributed by Kevin McLeod
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The Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada's online registry of lobbyists reveals that V. Peter Harder, a member of the University of Ottawa's Board of Governors, lobbied the government of Canada on behalf of Crowflight Minerals last year regarding the firm's desire to dump toxic mining waste in Manitoba's Bucko Lake.
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According to Harder's registration the subject of his lobbying was "Policy or Program Government of Canada approval for the federal environmental assessment of Bucko Lake Tailings Impoundment Area”. Harder's registration's states that the government departments he lobbied were the Treasury Board of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada. The lobbying was done from April 21 2008 to the end May of 2008.
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According to Mining Watch Canada's renowned researcher and mining critic Catherine Coumans,
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"Crowflight Minerals is very much on our radar screen because this company wants to destroy a natural water body “frequented by fish” (as per the Fisheries Act definition) by using it as a cheap disposal site for its mine tailings. The water body is Bucko Lake.
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In 2002 a regulatory amendment of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER) led to a schedule being added called Schedule 2. This Schedule redefines whatever natural water body that is placed on it as a Tailings Impoundment Area. Through this regulatory sleight of hand all protections that exist in the Fisheries Act and the MMER that would normally make it illegal to dump mine waste into a natural water body no longer apply to the targeted lake or river."
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Many U of O students would be appalled to learn that when he's not supporting drastic tuition increases BOG member Harder is busy lobbying the government of Canada to allow a mining firm to destroy a pristine body of water because it’s convenient and saves millions for the firm. Harder, a BOG member appointed by the Ontario government, was not voted to the BOG by University of Ottawa staff or students and like a majority of the BOG's members is clearly out of touch with the needs and interests of university students. Harder's presence on the BOG is a reminder of how unrepresentative and undemocratic the BOG really is.
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You can visit the Commissioner of Lobbyists online registry by going HERE.
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[Photo credit: University of Ottawa: V. Peter Harder, BOG member]
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ECO LINKS (Further reading)
Social Justice versus Eco-Lard
Climate Guy
Truth or Dare?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Video Studies in the Pathology of Power

The Rock administration of the University of Ottawa will celebrate the departure of
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VP-Academic Robert Major (well known on this BLOG)
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at a garden party in a tent on the lawn of Tabaret Hall on May 19, 2009.
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The video below is an example of the moving address in all its intellectual depth that Mr. Major is expected to deliver. The video is based on the 2008 such garden party that was held to celebrate the departure of former president Gilles Patry (also known on this blog: LINK1, LINK2).
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