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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BREAKING NEWS::: Student Marc Kelly wins trespass trial - Cops, University, Crown were wrong

[Photo: Marc Kelly through the window of the SFUO-SAC office just before Ottawa Police barged in to arrest him.]

OTTAWA, December 14, 2010: Marc Kelly court decision released - victory for students and for student sovereignty over student space.

The February 2, 2010, campus arrests of mathematics-physics student Marc Kelly and student union president Seamus Wolfe at the University of Ottawa were depicted in two popular Youtube videos (HERE, HERE) and were reported in the national media HERE.

(The videos were made by student University Senate member Joseph Hickey.)

By using a student union lawyer to bargain for diversion (community service), Wolfe effectively admitted guilt to the false-arrest charge of "disturbing the peace by swearing" for saying "fuck face" under his breath to the Ottawa Police sergeant on the scene (Sgt. Mallet) who had overseen the false-arrest of Kelly.
Kelly pleaded not guilty, went to trial self-represented against the Crown, the cops, the University, and University Legal Counsel Alain Roussy who attended the entire trial, and won in a precedent-setting ruling released today by judge L. Girault at the Provincial Offenses Court in Ottawa, Ontario.
The charge was trespass despite the fact that Kelly was in the Student Appeal Centre (SAC) office of the student union consulting on the University's illegitimate trespass order against him.

The scholarship student had previously been unilaterally de-registered from his study program and exiled from campus without justification (HERE) by a vindictive administration that did not take kindly to Kelly's well known (and TV-broadcast) direct appeal to president Allan Rock, revealing Rock to be verbally abusive (HERE).

The ruling establishes what should have been obvious to Roussy (or co-Counsel Kathryn Prud'homme, who informed the police otherwise) that the student union, the Student Federation University of Ottawa (SFUO), not the University is the legal occupier of SFUO offices.

Indeed, Roussy and Prud'homme were in the possession of an agreement between the SFUO and the University of Ottawa, signed at the highest university level (VP-Resources), which explicitly stated that the SFUO was the legal occupier. (Arguably the SFUO still owns the University Centre!)

The main part of the trial had been held on December 2, 2010, where an impressive array of large men and women in and out of bullet proof vests testified or were present to testify against Kelly:
  • Claude Giroux, campus police chief
  • D. Levesque, Ottawa Police
  • Nicholas Lavoie, campus police
  • Ryan Macdonald, campus police
  • Alexander Macpherson, campus police
  • Brian Vissers, spy camera coordinator, university
  • Nathalie Charlebois, lead investigator, campus police
  • Sgt. Mallet, Ottawa Police (not present on Dec.2nd)
In addition, Roussy attended the trial and consulted with Crown lawyer Bruce Lee-Shanok, and dean of the Faculty of Science Andre E. Lalonde had been subpoenaed but was on call in lieu of showing.

Lalonde had spotted Kelly in the SAC office on February 2nd and, apparently recognizing the significant and immediate danger to the institution, had called campus security presumably in a panic.

The behaviours of Roussy/Prud'homme and Lalonde were unprofessional but so was that of Ottawa Police.

The Ottawa Police consulted only Roussy/Prud'homme and disregarded the the clear and repeated legal occupancy information provided to them by SAC Director Mireille Gervais (a law graduate), SFUO President Seamus Wolfe and teacher assistant union (CUPE Local 2626) President Sean Kelly (see video). Ottawa Police then told the SFUO president they would wait for him to produce the rental contract of the office space and then five minutes later (see video) forced their way into the SAC office without a warrant and arrested Kelly.

After that, you wonder why they didn't also knee him in the thigh repeatedly and strip search him?

In addition, Constable D. Levesque of Ottawa Police blatantly lied under oath at the December 2nd trial hearing. He said he had an excellent memory of the events and that he had most definitely watched the Youtube video but that he himself had not asked for the rental contract (see 54 seconds into the video when he clearly asks Wolfe for the rental contract). Levesque added that if he had received the contract he would have reconsidered the arrest but that he had already waited (he inferred from his notes) approximately 29 minutes (see video, less than 5 minutes passed between asking for the contract and the decision to arrest). One wonders what Constable Levesque's testimony would be like if he did not have an "excellent" memory additionally supported by an unedited Youtube video that he watched?

At trial Judge L. Girault refused to look at the video that Kelly repeatedly asked to show to the court and that would have established the many improper actions of the police and Levesque's perjury.

If judges don't show initiative in examining police behaviour then students on campuses will continue to be mistreated by Ottawa's finest only too happy to serve the Rock administration.

Nonetheless, Kelly's closing arguments (delivered after he was arrested in court at lunch recess on December 2nd on unrelated charges of failing to appear in court!) were sharp and legalistic, leaving the court little room to find him guilty.

This case is precedent setting: The SFUO is the legal occupier of its premises. You can thank Marc Kelly.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dean of science will step down at end of academic year


It was announced internally (see below) by Allan Rock that the dean of the Faculty of Science, Andre E. Lalonde, will step down at the end of the university academic year.

Lalonde was the dean who accepted to participate in the University of Ottawa administration's coordinated campaign under Allan Rock to dismiss tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt.

The campaign was ordered by Allan Rock, largely coordinated by then VP-Academic Robert Major, and involved regular meetings and communications with hired corporate lawyers, University Legal Counsel, several VPs, several deans, several department chairpersons, retired professor Raymond St-Jacques hired as a consultant, human resources bosses, the director of the Marketing Services and Communications Office, and several administrative assistants.

By contrast, workplace procedures foresee an independent investigation by an independent dean (the dean of Science for a physics professor) who would write his own letters.

In a public report about the Rancourt dismissal, academic workplace expert Professor Kenneth Westhues called it an "administrative mobbing". See the Westhues report HERE.

Lalonde will go back to being a regular professor.

The announcement comes in the midst of a large Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) adjudication involving Lalonde (LINK) and after he was found by UofOWatch to have lied in his dealings related to a previous IPC adjudication (LINK).

[2012-05-09 correction: In the paragraph above, "he was found to have lied in a previous IPC adjudication" has been corrected to "he was found by UofOWatch to have lied in his dealings related to a previous IPC adjudication".]

-----------------------------------
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2010
Subject: Message from the President

After a full and successful five years in his position, Dean André E. Lalonde of the Faculty of Science has asked to be replaced as of July 1, 2011. Let me therefore take this occasion to thank him for his outstanding work and to remind you what a contribution he has made.

André E. Lalonde (BSc Honours ‘78) joined the Faculty in 1985 as a lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1986, granted tenure in 1990, promoted to associate professor in 1992 and then to full professor in 2001. In August 2006, he became the acting dean, a post he held until July 2007, when he was appointed dean. An accomplished geologist, he is one of the few people who can claim to have a mineral, lalondeite, named in his honour.

Dean Lalonde has presided over a period of growth and accomplishment in the Faculty. He has shown himself to be capable of handling the challenges of being a leader with the highest degree of professionalism, a "people person" who values and celebrates the contributions of all those he works with. He is responsible for hiring over 30 professors in his faculty. This includes 9 science lecturers involved in a highly successful pilot-project in science pedagogy, 5 Canada Research Chairs and world-renowned researchers such as Paul Corkum and Robert Boyd. Under his leadership, his faculty recently received over $35M in research funding from two major combined Canada Foundation for Innovation and Ontario Research Fund grants and a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Quantum Nonlinear Optics. He believes that science can be taught and researched in a fully bilingual setting, thus assuring the continued relevance of the French language in this field.

While we will miss his contributions as dean, we are happy that André Lalonde will be returning to the classroom, where he has achieved national recognition for his rapport with students, teaching mineralogy and geology in the Department of Earth Sciences. I know he's excited to be teaching once more, and students will be fortunate to have him as their professor, cultivating their love of the sciences.

A selection committee will soon be struck to hire a new dean for the Faculty.

Allan Rock
President and Vice-Chancellor

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Did the dean destroy records and lie in affidavit?


In an access to information (ATI) request dating back to 2008 the dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Ottawa, Andre E. Lalonde, was asked to produce all records (emails) about then professor of physics Denis Rancourt’s weekly Cinema Politica film and discussion series.

The series was opposed by the university administration and ran continuously during the academic year under Rancourt’s sponsorship between 2005 and 2009. Rancourt and student Marc Kelly were arrested by Ottawa Police at Cinema Politica on campus on January 23, 2009, as reported by the national media.

A legal appeal of the ATI case is presently under adjudication with the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario: IPC appeal No. PA08-97-2.

The ATI request and its adjudication have revealed the following.

First the dean would not respond pursuant to ATI law and the university had to be ordered by the IPC to immediately produce the records: IPC Order PO-2671.

Under order, the University responded with disclosed records on its imposed deadline of May 14, 2008.

Later, under appeal, the University was forced to perform three more searches for all the dean’s records relating to Cinema Politica. These are electronic searches using keywords and should be immediate yet each new search found significant numbers of new records which had not previously been found or released.

More disturbingly, the University and the dean claimed to have lost the records it had first disclosed, between May 14, 2008, and the launch of the IPC appeal, and claimed to be unable to find many of these records again via its three new and extensive searches.

The requester (Denis Rancourt) was able to identify twenty one (21) records that the University never found again. These were most sensitive records and involved the following correspondents (including the President, two VPs, Legal Counsel, the Human Resources boss, etc.):
  • Andrée Dumulon, Director, Communications Office, University Relations
  • Bela Joos, chairman of Physics
  • Gilles Patry, President
  • Julie Cafley, Executive Assistant to the President
  • Louise Page-Valin, Human Resources boss
  • Luciana Ion, Administrative Assistant, VP-Academic's office
  • Luciana Vaduva, Project Officer, Office of VP-Academic
  • Michelle Flaherty, University Legal Counsel
  • Paul Mercier, Computer Systems Manager and member of the Board of Governors
  • Raymond St-Jacques, retired professor and consultant
  • Richard Hodgson, former chairman of Physics
  • Robert Major, VP-Academic
  • Victor Simon, VP-Resources
How could the university lose these records while subject to an IPC investigation?

In the meantime the University tried to satisfy the IPC Adjudicator by providing an affidavit from dean Andre E. Lalonde.

The dean’s affidavit (dated August 30, 2010, HERE) states:
  • (point-2) that he has the practice of keeping all emails of interest to the University
  • (point-3) that he has never destroyed or lost any emails
  • (point-5) that in May 2008 (first batch) he searched his electronic emails
  • (point-7) that later in May 2008 he sent these to Legal Counsel (first batch)
  • (point-9, point-11) that in February and March 2009 he performed a far more extensive search of his same electronic emails
  • (point-12) that he was the sender or a recipient of all respondent records
The dean swears that no records were lost or destroyed and that the same electronic data bank was searched again (in 2009) far more extensively. Yet 21 highly sensitive records (list provided to the IPC) were not found.

At best the University and the dean are being disingenuous in advancing that they performed a reasonable search.

At worst the dean illegally destroyed respondent records and lied in affidavit.

The requester knows dean Lalonde to be very meticulous and careful with electronic data.

Since the later searches (2009) are reported to have been extensive and involved the additional on-site help of two other individuals specializing in ATI searches and since the 21 records in question are sensitive documents and represent almost one fifth of the records in the first (May 14, 2008) batch, we conclude that it is probable that the dean illegally destroyed respondent records and lied in affidavit.

The same dean has lied previously regarding a different ATI request, as publicly reported HERE.

The University was asked to comment or correct any information in the latter report and did not respond, except one respondent (Alain St-Amant, Chairman of Chemistry) who did not deny any of the elements in the report – see St-Amant’s response made public HERE.

It appears that lying to the IPC and disregarding ATI law may be a little too common in the Faculty of Science?

Monday, December 6, 2010

It took 163 years: U of O Senate to consider adopting rules of procedure

Until recently there has been no need for debate...

by Denis G. Rancourt

I attended a grand meeting of the Senate of the University of Ottawa today in Tabaret Hall, U of O campus, Ottawa, Canada. The Senate is the highest governing body on all academic matters by virtue of the University of Ottawa Act, 1965. The university was founded in 1848.

President Allan Rock was absent. VP-Academic Francois Houle (of Anne Coulter fame) presided. VP-Governance Diane Davidson attended by speaker phone from home.

Dean of the Faculty of Science Andre E. Lalonde came into the boardroom before the start of the proceedings just to say hello to me and then left and never came back; despite being slated to present the new Financial Mathematics and Economics Undergraduate Honours Program?

For several months now student member of Senate Joseph Hickey and others have been trying to clarify what the rules of procedure might be. Hickey reports this on his blog about U of O Senate (LINK).

The matter arose in part because Hickey believes that discussion on key points (such as the procedures for rewarding friends of the university administration with honorary degrees) is too often arbitrarily curtailed by the chair or allowed to be curtailed in order to pass items proposed by the administration.

In a previous discussion, when Houle stated that he would arbitrarily invoke Code Morin rules of procedure at will depending on the circumstances but not at other times, Hickey became particularly concerned.

Hickey and student Senate member Martin Schoots-McAlpine have been pressing the administration to state the rules of procedures for Senate.

Remarkably, no one in the institution knew if rules of procedure had ever been adopted by Senate or what the rules might be. A detailed search of the university archives had to be undertaken in preparation for today's meeting.

It appeared today that Hickey is making significant headway towards adoption of the novel idea that "Canada's university" (as the branding slogan goes) would have rules of procedure at Senate.

Davidson reported that the U of O Senate (back to 1930 according to Davidson) has never adopted rules of procedure.

Davidson further reported that she had thoroughly investigated the matter and found that all other university senates in her sample (in Canada) have written rules of procedure (surprise!), based on the Code Morin, Robert's Rules, other codes and often in-house adaptations of existing codes.

We conclude that the U of O really is unique. Hickey takes this to be a sign that there has never been debate at Senate (LINK).

Davidson's stated recommendation to Senate, based on her study, is the status quo - no written rules and the chair (the university president) decides. It's called "established practice" but nobody could remember what the practice had been, not even whether or not rules of order had even been adopted by Senate.

Davidson explained, and this was echoed by Houle, that the procedure has been "consensus". So it appears that the Senate has always been in "consensus" with motions put forward by the administration.

No mention was made to define "consensus" which was said to be the venerable past and now recommended practice. If a majority of student senate members disagree is that "consensus"? If two members who are experts on the matter vehemently disagree is that consensus?

I asked senator Linda Pietrantonio (Vice-Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences) what this "consensus procedure" was that Davidson and Houle kept parroting. She said "No idea!".

At a next meeting the Senate will attempt to decide (following as yet unknown rules of order) how it will study the possibility of proposing rules of order.

That's progress.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Allan Rock's personal commitment to the community vs. subterfuge

"My answer is the document that says I'm not answering. There."


From: Denis Rancourt <>
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 5:47 PM
Subject: Re: Your personal written commitment to the community
To: president@uottawa.ca, allan.rock@uottawa.ca
Cc: Stephane Emard-Chabot

November 30, 2010

Allan Rock
President
University of Ottawa

Re: Your personal written commitment to the community

Dear Allan,

On November 28, 2010, I sent you the email BELOW with a request for your clarifications and intervention.

On November 30, 2010, I received the response BELOW from hired lawyer Lynn Harnden. Mr. Harnden states that you have answered in a Reply to the related Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) Application.

Mr. Harnden must be confused. The Reply to the OLRB Application alleges that you are in no way involved in this matter “Rock requests that the Application be dismissed because there are no material facts or particulars alleging that he has violated any section of the Act.”

You can see this in point-4 of Schedule A here:
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/Data/Documents/olrb/for-post=UofO-Response=2010-11-19=OLRB-File-No-2567-10-U.PDF

The Reply, therefore, cannot logically be taken as your answer regarding your personal written commitment to the community that the law would be followed and that I would always be given due process.

Since you made a personal commitment to the community, it seems to me that you should personally explain yourself rather than using this subterfuge provided by Mr. Harnden.

Please do so and resolve the matter by receiving my duly filed and overdue grievances. Follow the law Allan.

I await your response.

Sincerely,
Denis Rancourt
Former physics professor, University of Ottawa

Cc: Civil society, the media, the community

------------------------------------------------------

From: Lynn Harnden
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 4:38 PM
Subject: Ontario Labour Relations Board - File No. 2567-10-U
To: Denis Rancourt <>

Mr. Rancourt:

I have for reply your email of November 23, 2010 to President Allan Rock.

You reference in your email the matters which are currently under review by the Ontario Labour Relations Board as a result of your application (File No. 2567-10-U).

The issues raised in your email have been addressed in the Reply which has been filed on behalf of President Rock.

Please forward any future communications which touch on this matter to my attention.

Lynn Harnden
Emond Harnden
Direct: 613-940-2731
Tel: 613-563-7660
Fax: 613-563-8001

This e-mail is intended solely for the individual or company to whom it is addressed. The information contained herein is privileged and confidential.
Any dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail, other than by its intended recipient, is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify us immediately and delete from your records. Thank you.

----------------------------------------------

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is Allan Rock disregarding the law in the Rancourt academic freedom case? – OLRB complaint filed


University of Ottawa president Allan Rock is the Responding Party in an Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) Application filed by former physics professor Denis Rancourt (OLRB File No. 2567-10-U).

The OLRB is the judicial body charged with enforcing labour law (the Labour Relations Act) in Ontario, Canada.

In the period around January 2009 when the Rock administration was executing its political dismissal of dissident professor Rancourt, more than one hundred students and community members and many professors wrote to Allan Rock to protest the planned dismissal. [See “Letters of Support” top-menu-item on THIS web page.]

Allan Rock responded the same way to all or most of the letter writers as, for example:

On 7-Jan-09, at 12:14 PM, Allan Rock wrote to James Douglas:

Thank you for your recent message.

The relationship between the University and its faculty members, including Professor Rancourt, is governed by a collective agreement.

In all of its dealings with Professor Rancourt, the University has complied strictly with the terms of that collective agreement, and will continue to do so.

Professor Rancourt has due process and opportunities for recourse through this collective agreement and his union.

Kind regards,
Allan Rock

Contrary to his thus stated personal commitment to the community, Allan Rock has repudiated the collective agreement by refusing to process three recent labour law grievances on particularly sensitive matters:
  • executing a direct interference with research academic freedom in the area of climate change physics (link to grievance G26),
  • fabricating false concerns about the professor’s “physical and mental well-being” (link to grievance G27)

Rancourt has made the OLRB Application and Allan Rock’s Response to the Board public HERE.

Rancourt’s OLRB Application is rigorously constructed and shows an unacceptable violation of the professor’s rights (LINK).

In contrast, the OLRB Response filed for Rock by his lawyers of the Emond Harnden LLP law firm [Lynn Harnden, photo] is confused, contradictory, and tenuous (LINK).

For example, the Response contains the following.

- It argues that the complaint has no merit and should be summarily dismissed by the Board, that Rock is not personally linked to any of the facts of the case, then goes on to provide 83 pages of response and supporting documents.

- It argues that the three grievances cannot be received because they were filed after Rancourt was fired, yet the University received the dismissal grievance (G24) which was filed after the dismissal.

- It does not seem to matter with the geniuses at Emond Harnden LLP or with Rock that the alleged violations in the three grievances occurred while Rancourt was a tenured professor but were only discovered or confirmed later, as explicitly foreseen by the collective agreement.

- Nor does it seem to matter that the collective agreement is written in English (and also in French) since Rock and his lawyers take the position: “the Responding Party disagrees with all of the legal conclusions and arguments made by the Applicant”.

- Rock and his lawyers argue that the OLRB is not the proper venue for the complaint, that they are not repudiating or disregarding the law, but that instead this should be viewed as “a difference in interpretation” of the law that should be handled by filing a grievance. We’re not making this up...: The OLRB complaint in which Rock refuses to process collective agreement grievances because they were filed after Rancourt’s dismissal should be handled by a new collective agreement grievance... Ah hum.

- Rock and his lawyers go on to state that letters where the university contradicted itself or changed its position (as in from white to black) were simply not contradictions: “The Responding Party denies its emails … were contradictory as alleged.” OKey… so saying you will process a grievance and later saying you will not process the grievance is not contradicting yourself. Alright then let’s see how that actually works in a hearing?

- The case law that Rock and his lawyers put forth to argue that Rock, the CEO of University of Ottawa Inc., was not involved in any material way is one where a company where the alleged violations took place could not be shown to be a subsidiary of the accused company. Just seems like a bit of a stretch to this non-lawyer…?
.
.
.
And it just goes on like that without ever addressing the substantive arguments made by Rancourt. That’s law? Do they normally win by bullying or what?

A cynical analyst might conclude that these lawyers know a secret; that logic and meaning carry little weight at the OLRB? Hopefully, that is not the case. Hopefully a Board hearing is nothing like parliament.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Student press conference (video) leads to settlement with researcher summarily fired by UofO

M.-Z. Dang, J. Hickey, S. Kelly vs. University of Ottawa

The above is from the August 2009 media reports. The newly released video is embedded below.

In late 2008 and early 2009 University of Ottawa researcher Dr. Mei-Zhen Dang was summarily fired and graduate students were threatened with loss of their Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) scholarships in preparation for the Allan Rock administration’s March 2009 political firing of their supervisor tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt.

The video of their successful February 24, 2009, press conference in Tabaret Hall (U of O main administration building) has recently been released on YouTube (embedded below).

Dr. Mei-Zhen Dang, a long-time (more than 12 years) research associate and environmental analysis expert in Rancourt’s physics laboratory was summarily fired. She was locked out of both the laboratory and her office overnight and her pay was arbitrarily stopped by the dean of the Faculty of Science André E. Lalonde without any notification or explanation.

The joint lawsuit led to a significant cash settlement for Dang and a letter of apology from the university.

Meanwhile the hired university corporate lawyer (Lynn Harnden of the Emond Harnden firm) informed physics graduate student claimants Joseph Hickey and Sean Kelly that if the University of Ottawa won its jurisdictional motion to strike the action, the students would be made liable for the university’s legal fees.

The students dropped their participation in the lawsuit and Hickey pursued an internal (Policy 110) complaint supported by the graduate student association (GSAED) which the University of Ottawa via VP-Governance Diane Davidson has refused to hear to this day.

The media reported the late August 2009 Dang settlement victory and the alleged bullying of the students in some detail at the time:



Here is the newly released two-part YouTube video of the February 24, 2009 press conference:





BACKGROUND ON THE RANCOURT ACADEMIC FREEDOM CASE:
rancourt.academicfreedom.ca

Monday, November 15, 2010

Allan Rock poster boy for most ruthless treatment of students


The Student Appeals Centre (SAC) of the student union (Student Federation University of Ottawa, SFUO) has launched its first annual "Iron Fist Award" for the most ruthless administrator in treating students.

Guess who the poster boy is for this notorious award?

Yup, Allan Rock. Not a difficult choice given the man's on-campus history, HERE, and given his administration's treatment of U of O students reported every year by the SAC, HERE.

The initiation of the Iron Fist Award and Allan Rock's response to the official SAC poster (above) are reported in the student newspaper LINK:
"University of Ottawa President Allan Rock had no comments on the posters, explaining that it was freedom of expression and that he was not concerned about the images of his face being used in the campaign."
It is heartening to note that Mr. Rock is learning about freedom of expression following his past banning of a student poster, his strong-arming of a former SFUO president to adopt a recommended political view, and the fiasco that he engineered around the Ann Coulter affair.


[Pre-edited original photo by Kate Waddingham, The Fulcrum]

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rock squeezing democracy out of university Senate


The University of Ottawa has always and explicitly used the Code Morin rules of procedure in all its governing body and committee deliberations.

Allan Rock chairs the university Senate and was asked at the September 13, 2010, senate meeting by student senate member Martin Schoots-McAlpine what the rules of procedure were. Rock answered that there were no written rules and that it was based on practice or tradition.

This amounts to saying "what we do is the rule".

At the following Senate meeting, Rock was absent and the meeting was chaired by VP-Academic Francois Houle (of Ann Coulter fame). Houle explained to student senator Joseph Hickey that now the Chair (himself) had to resort to the Code Morin in order to stop Hickey from discussing the administration's agenda of the moment... (to reward its friends with honorary degrees without needing Senate approval).

Hickey reported this stunning logic of on/off rules in a letter to the student newspaper HERE.

These remarkable developments can also be followed on Joseph Hickey's new blog about his university Senate experiences:
http://studentseyeview.wordpress.com/

And all Senate meetings are now filmed and posted by the university, thanks to student activism for transparency and accountability: LINK.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Allan Rock gives honorary degree to shady Canadian diplomat


The University of Ottawa gave an honorary degree last week to Robert Fowler Ban Ki Moon's secret UN envoy to Niger who was kidnapped 2 years ago while visiting a Canadian Uranium mine in Niger.

Fowler was eventually released but he and his fellow kidnap victim have refused to explain what they were doing at the Canadian owned mine and what on earth their visit had to do with peace talks between the Niger government and rebels who operate in a different part of the country which they were supposedly involved in but nobody at the UN knew about.

The university press release is HERE: Cover up, inside knowledge or incompetent blindness?

Allan Rock had expressed personal concern via his "Rock Talk" blog (LINK) but the president's analysis appears to have been somewhat deficient?

Here are relevant media reports:

http://www.innercitypress.com/un2fowler121708.html

http://www.innercitypress.com/un3fowler121808.html

http://www.innercitypress.com/un8fowler090809.html

http://www.innercitypress.com/un7fowler030109.html

The Rock administration seems intent on destroying the institution's centennial reputation for many coming decades.

In a related matter: Just last week the U of O admin rammed through a resolution at university senate, above the protests of student senate members, to take honourary degree decisions away from senate and into the hands of the university executive committee. A sign of more to come?

UPDATE (Feb.7-2011):
Fowler is keynote participant in a disturbing anti-democracy show: HERE.

UPDATE (Feb.8-2011):
Wikileaks disclosure of covert ransom deal: HERE, HERE.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

uOttawa - A top 25 employer in the national capital region

as the banner says...


Yup... define "top" in relation to "police"...

Who gives out that prize?

Can we see the list of criteria used in this rigorous determination?

How was the data collected?

The press release did not give many details?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Allan Rock, nation builder, hides behind his staff - again

A simple matter of law for the former Minister of Justice…


Media across the country reported on the University of Ottawa’s tortuous efforts to keep its emails about former professor Denis Rancourt from former professor Denis Rancourt, in the face of an access to information (ATI) law request, followed by an ATI appeal.

HEREHEREHEREHERE

The dean of the Faculty of Science first claimed that there were no records because he had acted alone but then records were mysteriously found (including several to and from the dean) after the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) Mediator asked for sworn affidavits…

A detailed report is HERE.

The IPC ruled (IPC Order PO-2915) that it could not order the university to release the emails because of a legal loop hole in Ontario’s ATI law. And the Adjudicator stated that he agreed that Rancourt should be granted access to his own personal information.
The IPC also then explained by letter to Rancourt that the loop hole anomaly (section 65(6) of the Act) was contrary to “world-wide trends favouring fair information practices”, that the IPC publicly opposed this loop hole, and that nothing about 65(6) prevented the head of the target institution (that would be Allan Rock) from releasing the documents in good faith.
Therefore, Rancourt, armed with this IPC’s endorsement, made a reasoned appeal to Allan Rock to not use 65(6) as an excuse to deny fair access: HERE.

Rancourt assumed that Allan Rock, given Mr. Rock’s Minister of Justice and United Nations credentials, would uphold democratic principles rather than choose a device intended to block fair information practice.

After more than two weeks Allan Rock did not respond or even acknowledge Rancourt’s communication as asked. He only responded after Rancourt sent Rock another letter (HERE) indicating that Rancourt was prepared to immediately take the matter (and other matters) to an independent labour body, the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

This got Mr. Rock’s attention and his staff (Mr. Jean-Yves Leduc) responded within the 24 hours suggested by Rancourt: HERE.

The answer is a resounding:
“No, I will hide behind my staff and behind 65(6).”
And another reply says (translated from obfuscate-ish):
“and I will not process your labour law grievances about these ATI emails, about our alleged campaign of covert surveillance against you, and about our alleged interference against a graduate student candidate wanting to work under your supervision.”
Clearly Mr. Rock is a nation builder.


Friday, October 22, 2010

U of O physics professor Andre Longtin studies real physics


For professor Andre Longtin at the University of Ottawa it's not all only about stochastic resonance in bursting neurons. There is also room for denying the freedom of thought and beliefs of graduate student applicants to his research group.

Documents were recently obtained by physics graduate student Joseph Hickey via an access to information (ATI) legal appeal in which the University of Ottawa had to be ordered (IPC Order PO-2852-I) to comply with the ATI law of Ontario (see background HERE).

One of the latter records shows dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Gary Slater explaining to other university officials that Longtin is refusing graduate student applicant Joseph Hickey (despite Longtin having supported the student's successful NSERC scholarship application to work in the Longtin research group) based on the student's "newly aquired activism beliefs". See document HERE.

This illegal use and disclosure of the student's personal information by university officials occurred during covert discussions aimed at denying the student's chosen research project, in anticipation of what the student's second choice of research might be (see above links).

Although students are in principle entitled to academic freedom in their choice of research, delimiting the student's possible choice of supervisor effectively forces the student into the research area of the "available" research supervisor.

Student Hickey eventually "chose" to work with physics professor Ivan L'Heureux and also became the student representative for the Faculty of Science at the Senate of the University of Ottawa, the highest governing body on academic matters, despite his "newly acquired activism beliefs".

Welcome to the University of Ottawa, "Canada's university". Welcome all scholarship students. Except those that are inferred to have unacceptable "activism beliefs". Thank you Andre Longtin for making this clear.

[Photo credit: University of Ottawa; physics professor Andre Longtin]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

U of O and student union settle grievance about covert surveillance

This is What Erosion of Civil Rights Looks Like

(Historians take note)

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has recently (see as-received press release below) collaborated with a major university in Canada to legitimize a university's covert surveillance and covert information gathering against students.


In a classic sophistry of compartmentalizing civil and employee rights (reflected in the popularly recognized oxymoron "department of justice"), CUPE Local 2626, with the help of its provincial representative and a major labour law firm, signed a ludicrous "memorandum of understanding" with the University of Ottawa whereby the university is explicitly allowed to spy on student employees in their student and political activities.

The original grievance had arisen from documentary proof obtained via access to information (ATI) that the university had covertly spied on students, both in activist groups and in student institutional politics.

This CUPE-uOttawa aberration violates:
  • The UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personel, with Canada has signed
  • The UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • The legally established principle of academic freedom in the university workplace
  • And established world-wide norms of civil rights in free and democratic societies
This appears to be an illustration of how eager the managements of some unions are to avoid confrontations with employers on broad systemic issues relating to the dignity and political dimension of the employee.

The students themselves are largely responsible for allowing the union to subvert their rights in this way but all of Canadian society suffers the consequences. The graduate students at the University of Ottawa condone the degradation of Canadian society by their inaction. They will inherit the society and professional environment that they deserve.



As-received press release from physics graduate student Joseph Hickey:

Ottawa, October 21, 2010.

U of O and student union settle grievance about covert surveillance

CUPE Local 2626 informed its members (memo attached) that it had arrived at a legal settlement with the University of Ottawa in a “Major Grievance” involving alleged covert surveillance by the university against several of its members.

Graduate student and University Senate member Joseph Hickey was directly involved and is concerned that the settlement appears to legitimize a reprehensible practice of covert surveillance of CUPE members in their student and political activities.

“The fact that collected information about my campus politics will not be allowed in my student employee file is of little comfort” said Hickey.

Hickey has obtained records via an independent access to information ongoing appeal with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario which show university officials denying his graduate school application (and, therefore, his employment) based on his “activist beliefs” and other personal information.

- 30 -

For more information please contact:
Joseph Hickey
University Senate member, University of Ottawa

For background in the matter and past media reports see:
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/background/reportoncovertsurveillance.html


---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Bonne nouvelle : Résolution récente d'un grief important / Good
news: Recent resolution of Major Grievance
From: "SCFP - CUPE 2626"
Date: Thu, 21 October, 2010 4:00 am
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[English follows below]

Cher membres du SCFP 2626:

Le SCFP 2626 est fier d'annoncer qu'il a récemment réglé un grief en cours depuis près d'un an lié à des mesures prises par l'Université d'Ottawa il y a deux ans contre certains membres du SCFP 2626 au moment où l'arbitrage allait commencer.

« Nous sommes très heureux de pouvoir régler ce grief avec l'aide de notre conseiller juridique de chez Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne et Yazbeck, LLP, a indiqué le président du Syndicat, Félix Grenier. Cette réalisation montre à nos membres que nous sommes prêts à aller jusqu'en arbitrage pour protéger leurs droits des travailleurs de notre association. »

En échange pour le règlement du grief par le Syndicat, l'Université a accepté dans un protocole d'entente, de ne pas recueillir de renseignements sur les membres du Syndicat dans leur rôle à titre de membre du Syndicat, et de ne jamais déposer, dans leur dossier d'employé, de renseignements recueillis sur les membres du SCFP dans leur rôle à titre d'étudiant ou d'activiste, ce qui constitue une importante victoire pour le Syndicat.

« De nombreux représentants syndicaux ont travaillé sur ce dossier et il s'agit d'un règlement raisonnable » a expliqué le représentant national du SCFP, Paul Boileau. Le Syndicat et l'Employeur peuvent maintenant rétablir une relation plus normale et améliorer la communication et la collaboration entre les deux parties. »

Si vous avez des questions sur le processus de grief ou sur les activités du SCFP 2626, n'hésitez pas à communiquer avec nous par courriel à l'adresse info@scfp2626.ca.

Félix Grenier
Président, SCFP 2626
Centre Universitaire, salle 303
Tél: 613-562-5345
info@scfp2626.ca
www.scfp2626.ca

****************************************************

Dear CUPE2626 member,

CUPE 2626 is proud to announce that it has recently resolved a long outstanding grievance, in regards to actions taken by the University of Ottawa two years ago against some CUPE 2626 members, just when arbitration was about to begin.

"We are very happy to settle this grievance with the assistance of our legal counsel from Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne and Yazbeck, LLP," President Felix Grenier said. "This shows our members that we are willing to go all the way to arbitration to protect their work-related rights."

In exchange for the Union closing the grievance, the University agreed in a memorandum of understanding that it did not gather or collect information on Union members in their roles as union members and would never place any information gathered or collected in CUPE members' roles as students or activists in their employee files, which is a significant victory for the Union.

"A number of union representatives worked on this file and it was a good settlement," CUPE national representative Paul Boileau said. “Now the union and Employer can return to a more normal relationship where there is better communication and co-operation between the two parties.

If you have any questions about the grievance process or CUPE 2626 activities, don't hesitate to contact us at info@cupe2626.ca.

Felix Grenier
President, CUPE 2626
University Centre, room 303
Tel: 613-562-5345
info@cupe2626.ca
www.cupe2626.ca

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ethically challenged Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, CCLA --- video

This is part of a new video series about individual examples of ethically challenged professionals. It is intended to expose ethically challenged high-ranking officials who participated in the administrative mobbing of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt. (Background HERE.)



This clip features ethically challenged Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel (head), Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

Nathalie Des Rosiers, as VP-Governance, University of Ottawa, enforced a punitive campus ban against tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt thereby having him arrested, handcuffed, and taken away to the Ottawa police station while he hosted his weekly Cinema Politica series on campus, as a tenured and full professor.

Extensive information and links to supporting documents and to media reports are provided HERE.

In explaining herself in writing, she replied to author Jeff Schmidt that it was her job to enforce orders. Her immediate superior was President Allan Rock. Her letter is HERE.

Nathalie Des Rosiers continues to hold the position as head of the CCLA. It is now her job to defend civil liberties in Canada.

Ethically challenged Michelle Flaherty, judge, HRTO --- video

This is part of a new video series about individual examples of ethically challenged professionals. It is intended to expose ethically challenged high-ranking officials who participated in the administrative mobbing of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt. (Background HERE.)



This clip features ethically challenged Michelle Flaherty, judge, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO).

As Legal Counsel at the University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Canada), Michelle Flaherty oversaw a broad and illegitimate covert information gathering campaign from 2006 to 2008 against Denis Rancourt and several students, in violation of the principle of academic freedom and of established labour rules in the academic environment.

The campaign also involved student journalist Maureen Robinson, dean of the Faculty of Science Andre E. Lalonde, VP-Academic Robert Major and others. The present Allan Rock administration continues to cover up the campaign.

Extensive information and links to media reports are provided HERE.

Michelle Flaherty then left the University of Ottawa to become a judge at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (Canada). She continues to occupy the latter position.

Friday, October 15, 2010

U of O's IPC cover up: Will Allan Rock do the right thing?

  • The University of Ottawa IPC cover up was explained HERE.
  • Chemist Alain St-Amant responded THIS WAY.
  • On October 14, 2010, Rancourt sued by filing a labour law grievance: HERE.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) has sided with Rancourt on the moral and legal basis for institution head Allan Rock to release all records: HERE.
IPC: "This approach to information about employees is not in keeping with world-wide trends favouring fair information practices..."

Will Allan Rock do the right thing?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

U of O's Alain St-Amant replies to report on IPC

.
QUESTION

From: Denis Rancourt
Sent: October 6, 2010 10:00 PM
To: Andre E. Lalonde (Dean, Science); Alain St-Amant
Subject: please provide any corrections

These reports are about you:
http://uofowatch.blogspot.com/2010/10/report-on-ipc-in-rancourt-case-dean.html
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/background/reportonipcdeanliestocoverup.html

Please contact your former colleagues who are also named and provide any corrections or comments for posting.

Sincerely,
Denis Rancourt

ANSWER

From: Alain St-Amant
Date: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 8:09 AM
Subject: RE: please provide any corrections
To: Denis Rancourt

Hey Dennis,

I’ve gotta get a new picture of myself on the University website for you to use.....dropped 25 pounds over the summer!!! You have to promise to use it on your website once it goes up J

Totally stoked right now since I pulled off a Brady for Schaub+Moss trade in my fantasy league. I think Favre and Moss will be like two kids in the proverbial candy store and put up monster numbers. So I think you’ll agree I have too many things on my plate right now to take the time to comment on your article.

Take care, the place simply is not the same without you,

Professor/Professeur Alain St-Amant

Vice-Dean (Undergraduate Studies), Faculty of Science / Vice-doyen (Études de premier cycle), Faculté des Sciences
Professor, Department of Chemistry / Professeur, Département de chimie
University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa
(613) 562-5800 ext. 6003
Alain.St-Amant@uOttawa.ca

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Report on IPC in Rancourt case: Dean lied to cover up


INTRODUCTION - ONGOING RANCOURT CASE

The Denis Rancourt case at the University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Canada) is a major ongoing academic freedom case being presently investigated by a Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Independent Committee of Inquiry and expected to go before the courts as a significant labour dispute. [LINK]

The case has been covered by national and local media in both Canada and the US (New York Times -twice, Globe and Mail -twice, National Post, CBC radio The Current, TV Ontario). [LINK]


LATEST DEVELOPMENT - ACCESS TO INFORMATION RULING

On September 29, 2010, the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario issued a decision in a notable access to information (ATI) case involving Rancourt and Rancourt has written a report about the matter: HERE.

These machinations of the U of O administration are only the latest example of an event in the administrative mobbing of Rancourt described in the independent report by academic workplace expert Professor Kenneth Westhues: LINK.


CONCLUDING HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT

Rancourt's report is based on several original documents now made public. Concluding highlighs from the report are as follows.
"Beyond demonstrating that the Dean of the Faculty of Science is ethically challenged, this case shows that the Dean, the VP-Academic and Legal Counsel conspired to send a dubious letter questioning a dissident professor’s ‘physical and mental well-being’ based on no record other than communications between themselves and bosses at human resources."

"The IPC Order [2], together with the IPC Mediator’s Report of July 27, 2009 [3], the University’s revised ATI decision letter of August 27, 2008, with index of respondent records [4], and Lalonde’s signed affidavit of September 18, 2009 [5], shows that:

(1) Lalonde lied about the records during the formal IPC mediation step;

(2) Lalonde or his staff meticulously removed at least six records from his office computers and files; and

(3) Lalonde lied in affidavit [5] apparently to cover up his first lies about the records and his removal of records."

CONNECTION WITH ALAIN ST-AMANT

From Rancourt's report:
"The only grievance filed against a professor was a grievance filed by Rancourt against then Chairman of the Department of Chemistry Alain St-Amant for “harassment” and “derogatory and threatening behaviour” [6]. The latter grievance was filed on January 3, 2007 [6].

The only discipline in this matter would have been possible discipline of Alain St-Amant and the resulting order from the dean to St-Amant to stop his unacceptable behaviour [7].

Therefore, it appears that the University was using the problem of St-Amant’s behaviour as its pretext for sending its dubious letter of September 6, 2007, to Rancourt, without providing Rancourt with any indication to this effect."

CRITICISMS FOR THE IPC

Rancourt leveled several criticisms towards the IPC Adjudicator and the IPC herself. One example is a s follows:
"IPC Adjudicator Frank DeVries condoned the fact that Pamela Harrod simultaneously acted as: (1) University FIPPA/FOI Coordinator, (2) VP-Governance (then “University Secretary”) and immediate supervisor of University Legal Counsel Michelle Flaherty directly involved in the ATI matter, and (3) “Commissioner for Taking Affidavits, etc.” (sic), signing the [fraudulent] affidavit of Lalonde in particular."


[Photo credits: University of Ottawa (Lalonde, St-Amant), IPC (Ann Cavoukian) and public domain (Conrad Black).]

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Allan Rock's 5 easy steps to Senate transparency

STEP-1: ARREST STUDENT AT SENATE



If a student concerned about transparency comes to a public University Senate meeting (at publicly funded University of Ottawa) with a camera wanting to discuss Senate filming with senators, then call Ottawa Police and have him arrested on false criminal charges.

Note that one of the executives of the university corporation to directly intervene was VP-Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers, now General Counsel (head) of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). (See author's request for her resignation HERE.)

Here is a video of the December 1, 2008, arrest at University Senate:


STEP-2: REFUSE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY



Here, graduate student union (GSAED) representative Federico Carvajal asks President Allan Rock to include the question of police interventions in campus politics in his campus community consultations towards a better student experience...


STEP-3: EXPLAIN ANTI-TRANSPARENCY POLICY



Here, at the next meeting of Senate, Allan Rock (President AND Chair of the Senate) explains that filming is not allowed because tenured professor senators own their images and their words in public Senate discussions...


STEP-4: IMPOSE SENATE FILMING AND PUBLIC POSTING

Without any debate at Senate about the tenured professor "faces", "words", and "actions" that would be recorded for public display, President Allan Rock then brings in mandatory filming and posting of all Senate meetings.

None of the brave souls who opposed filming made a peep.


STEP-5: INTERVENE TO HAVE CROWN DROP ALL CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST STUDENT


Although Allan Rock had stated (above video) that it would be highly improper to intervene in a matter that was before the courts, his administration did contact the Crown to have all charges against the student dropped. The Crown stated that it found this matter "not in the public interest to pursue" after it was contacted by the University of Ottawa: HERE.

The following year, the Rock administration arbitrarily expelled student Marc Kelly from his study program and barred him from all campus grounds without providing any reason: HERE.

>>> For a complete history of Allan Rock's conflict with student Marc Kelly please see these reports: HERE.

>>> For a history of Allan Rock and his many similar episodes see this summary: HERE.
.