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

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

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

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

video of president allan rock at work

Thursday, 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: