The violations of civil and academic workplace rights were exposed through several access to information law requests and appeals to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
A detailed report and supporting evidence were made public HERE by former physics professor Denis Rancourt who was fired in March 2009.
The covert surveillance campaign is unprecedented on a Canadian campus. Undergraduate student and student journalist Maureen Robinson was hired as an “agent of University Legal Counsel” and took on a false Facebook identity to infiltrate student groups, especially ones supportive of Rancourt’s activism course.
Former University Legal Counsel Michelle Flaherty abruptly left the University at approximately the time when a covert voice recording went missing from the access to information record. Flaherty is now a Vice Chair (judge) with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Several high executive officers of the university were also involved; in recruiting the student spy and in receiving and using the covertly collected information.
Rancourt’s talks about anarchism in pedagogical development were covertly recorded at conferences on other campuses (Kingston and Quebec City) and the recordings were exchanged among university high officials.
The University’s actions were violations of legally-defined academic freedom, the labour law collective agreements with two unions, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and accepted professional norms for journalists.
The University also enacted an extensive cover up and has steadfastly ignored requests to investigate, including several requests which predated Rancourt’s dismissal.
These findings are in stark contrast to President Allan Rock’s repeated statements that all due procedures were followed in Rancourt’s dismissal. Rancourt has consistently stated that his dismissal was politically motivated.
[Photos: Who's who?]