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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What was Mr. Rock thinking?

Frank Appleyard and Allan Rock

In the months leading to the University’s political dismissal of former physics professor Denis Rancourt on March 31, 2009, Frank Appleyard was editor of The Fulcrum and he produced an exceedingly negative and contrived editorial report (using student commentary) about Rancourt. This “editorial” was used inappropriately by the University as one of only two negative media pieces linked to one of its press releases about Rancourt (only several weeks later did the University add four more links to media items to its press release originally posted on February 6, 2009).

Following this unethical action by the University, Frank Appleyard had the following email exchange on the matter with a third party in February 2009:
  • THIRD PARTY: I just wanted to make sure that you saw the U of O Statement on Rancourt linking to the Fulcrum: [link]. The admin is giving you a big high five!

  • APPLEYARD: Yeah, I saw that yesterday. I love the fact that my column's presence is incredibly out of context in that piece. I have my own opinions about Rancourt and his struggles, but Im a little disappointed the admin would try to pass off my column as something akin to news coverage of him. Anyway. Unfortunate...
  • THIRD PARTY: Yeah, unfortunate for sure. And it's also quite a scandal (and irresponsible, and libelous) that the U of O would include your piece in the way they did. Have you considered writing about this? I think its essential and respect that we all have different views on Rancourt. I predict most will agree; the U of O pulling a stunt like this in reaction to a Globe and Mail article is shameful.
  • APPLEYARD: I contemplated writing about it, but at the end of the day newspapers aren't supposed to write about themselves or the people involved with them. It's kind of a convention among papers, as it comes off looking self-serving and biased. So, I don't think we'll write about it. I would encourage you to tell La Rotonde about it though. I think students should know what they did. But, I am displeased and I'm planning to send a letter to media relations about it. Also, have you seen the New York Times article about Rancourt?
  • THIRD PARTY: [link to Globe and Mail article] I continue to think that you need to write about how the administration has used your piece. This would not be self serving - it is simply campus news. The Fulcrum is a part of campus - you are obviously an important player. Use that power efficiently.
[End of exchange – Appleyard never responded beyond this point]

The Fulcrum editorial also gave Frank Appleyard special status as representing “the other side” as a rare campus member who agreed to speak negatively on the matter: He was interviewed on national radio (CBC’s The Current) to present a critical view of Rancourt (during his term as Fulcrum Editor). All these events occurred in the winter 2009 semester.

The recent FPS-Ombudsman’s interim report (LINK) and subsequent email revelations from Frank Appleyard (LINK, end of file) established that following the winter 2009 semester Frank Appleyard was hired to work in the office of University President Allan Rock for the summer of 2009 while he retained the position of Business Manager of The Fulcrum. The latter is a violation of the FPS Constitution.

Mr. Appleyard does not see a problem with this and feels that he was hired on the basis of “merit”, not as a reward for his “editorial support.”

Surely Allan Rock on the other hand, as a former member of the same Liberal Party of Canada that succumbed to the sponsorship scandal, must recognize that to have hired a student editor under these circumstances can only hurt the public image and reputation of the academic institution that he is charged to protect and guide following the highest principles of ethics and professional conduct?

What was Mr. Rock thinking?

[Note: This is an extract from a recently posted First Supplementary Report about UofOgate.]

Canadians for Accountability publish report on UofOgate
All the background and recent reports on UofOgate
UofOWatch posts about the cover up

Friday, February 26, 2010

UofOgate: More revelations accumulate – On the connections between student journalists and the University President and on keeping your lies straight

See the last UofOWatch report about UofOgate HERE.

See the recent Canadians for Accountability report about UofOgate HERE.

For the latest revelations just read the documents (and see related press releases below):
We guess it’s difficult for the University of Ottawa to conceal so many unethical practices for an extended period of time?

University of Ottawa student newspaper Ombudsman finds unethical practices in treatment of former physics professor

OTTAWA, February 24, 2010 – The Ombudsman of the Fulcrum Publishing Society (FPS), Mr. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, has released a damning interim report about journalistic and editorial mistreatment of former physics professor Denis Rancourt by the student newspaper The Fulcrum.

The FPS-Ombudsman’s Report is posted HERE along with reactions from The Fulcrum’s Business Manager Mr. Frank Appleyard.

Appleyard was hired by U of O President Allan Rock’s office at the same time as he retained his Fulcrum position of Business Manager, after he wrote a highly critical editorial about Rancourt that was used in a University press release and cited in the national media.

Regarding Appleyard and given his admissions the FPS-Ombudsman’s Report states:

“I would judge this to be in breach of the FPS Editorial Constitution and an embarrassment to the FPS and the University of Ottawa. This is very serious…”

Regarding former Fulcrum contributor and editor Maureen Robinson who was hired by the University in a broad campaign of covert information gathering from 2006 to 2008, the FPS-Ombudsman concludes:

“I have to reaffirm that I believe Maureen Robinson acted unethically and was in a conflict of interest under the FPS Editorial Constitution.”

This report comes only days after the teacher assistant union (CUPE Local 2626) formally accused the University of Ottawa of submitting false statements either to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario or in a legal labour proceeding with CUPE Local 2626 regarding the alleged campaign of covert information gathering.

All background is posted HERE.
- 30 -

CUPE exposes inconsistencies: U of O cover up of covert information gathering activities thickens

OTAWA, February 22, 2010 – Sean Kelly, President of the teacher assistant (TA) union (CUPE, Local 2626) at the University of Ottawa, has written a detailed letter to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario to alert the Commissioner to documented inconsistencies between the University’s legal Representations to the IPC on the one hand and the University’s defence statements against a CUPE grievance on the other hand.

The CUPE letter is posted HERE. It states:

“…[I]n this very broad and important case, the University of Ottawa appears to have made false written statements to the IPC or false verbal statements in legal labour-relations proceedings [to the CUPE]…”

The alleged cover up relates to grievances from two unions (CUPE Local 2626 and the Association of Professors University of Ottawa, APUO) against covert information gathering practiced between 2006 and 2008, made public in a January 2010 report by former physics professor Denis Rancourt and recently reported in the national media: HERE.

- 30 -

[Photo: Frank Appleyard.]

Friday, February 12, 2010

Israeli Apartheid Week is coming - Will Mr. Rock behave?

Israeli Apartheid Week 2010 is coming to the U of O campus March 1st.

Last year U of O president Mr. Allan Rock behaved very badly... The Canadian Civil Liberties Association had to reprimand him in a stern public letter [LINK]. His actions were rather surprising for a former federal Minister of Justice [LINK] and as a self-proclaimed defender of human rights [LINK].

This year we hope his behaviour will be considerably more in line with the concepts of academic freedom and freedom of expression? Maybe Norman Finkelstein could help Mr. Rock see clearly in this maze of Zionist sentiment surrounding the ongoing genocidal actions of the State of Israel? Let's give it a try:

This new blog hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace may also help: The Only Democracy?

Then if Mr. Rock becomes truly inspired by the struggle for justice, he might facilitate something like THIS (pension divestment) at the U of O, drop his corporate "donor recognition" plans, and actually stand for human rights? We expect nothing less from "Canada's university".

It's a test Mr. Rock. You will be graded.

Student chalkers to U of O president Allan Rock: Play fair please

From: Joseph Hickey
Date: Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 4:00 PM
Subject: Upgrade to Freedom of Expression Walls
To: Allan Rock , allan.rock@uottawa.ca
Cc: student media

Dear Mr. Rock,

Immediately following the Chalking Day festivities of last Wednesday, Feb. 3, the Student Chalkers of the University of Ottawa (SCUO) invited you to read the messages left by students on the freedom of expression walls at Morisset Library. We also invited you to contribute your own message, in the spirit of freedom of expression.

We did not ask you to take over the entire area with posters portraying your own self-serving messages and in the process cover up and negate all of the ideas put forward by the student community.

The morning following Chalking Day, we and other participants were shocked to discover that you had unilaterally decided to bolt high-tech anti-graffiti posters over all of the freedom of expression walls. [see PHOTOS BELOW] These aluminum-backed laminated posters are held up by about 160 screws drilled into and thereby degrading the concrete. You will notice, as you walk past the posters, that you will want to keep yourself well away from the surface of the walls to prevent injury from the screw heads that protrude. Be especially careful at times when the passageway becomes crowded, such as during class changeovers.

These facts considered, we understand from conversations with the external company hired to install the posters, Bungee Banner, that the new anti-graffiti coating allows paint and paste to be easily cleaned off without damaging the poster surface. This fortunate upgrade to the freedom of expression walls will now allow student message sharing to be much more dynamic and up-to-date. Like whiteboards or blackboards in the classroom, students will now have access to an effective communication forum on the walls of the library. This will surely enrich the mental landscape of our campus.

Thank you for this new investment in student freedom of expression. We look forward to communicating with you on the library walls, but in the future please do not bolt or fasten coverings over top of our expression in any way, and consider consulting us before spending our tuition money on control technology.


Student Chalkers of the University of Ottawa (SCUO)

Joseph Hickey (Physics, master's)
Liam Kennedy-Slaney (Biology, 2nd year)
Mireille Gervais (Law, master's)
Erika Yerly (Psychology, 1st year)
Anne-Marie Dubois (Environmental Studies, 3rd year)
Robyn Dalgleish (Undergrad, University of Guelph)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Allan Rock and his thugs make the PAMPHLETEERS

[click on the image]

Students call on president Allan Rock to disarm and chalkon

False-arrest-unlawful-arrest double-arrest whammy at U of O – VIDEO

Here you have it. Ottawa cops acting like thugs who can’t read. SEE VIDEOS BELOW.

On February 2, 2010, student Marc Kelly was in the office of his Student Appeal Centre regarding the University’s illegal use of trespass and arbitrary denial of course registration against him when spotted by Dean of Science André E. Lalonde who presumably called the university police in a panic.

First the cops recognized the Trespass to Property Act and ask to see the student union lease of the Student Appeal Centre. The Act defines the “legal occupier” as the independent service renting the space.

Teacher assistant union (CUPE Local 2626) president Sean Kelly (no relation) explains Act to cops. Student Appeal Centre director Mireille Gervais (also a graduate student in law) explains Act to cops.

Then cops call the University lawyer who apparently responds with “the University owns all the property”. Yup, and your landlord owns your apartment but he can’t have your visiting buddy arrested for trespass… duh.

Cops take Marc Kelly from Student Appeal Centre office before student union president Seamus Wolfe arrives with lease of premises. Here, the appropriate word from the 60s comes to mind: Pigs.

In view of the basis for the arrest being the Trespass to Property Act, I would call this an unlawful arrest. Add Ottawa Police refusal to consider the central legal question of who is the “legal occupier” of the Student Appeal Centre office and you have a nice police-state atmosphere.

Surely former federal Minister of Justice and University President Allan Rock will step in and clear this mess up long before it goes to trial, and maybe coach his Legal Counsel on how answering cop questions is a context-sensitive matter…?

Then (2nd video BELOW) in a segment from a campus nightmare student union president Seamus Wolfe arrives asking the Ottawa Police Sergeant why they refused to consider the lease and why they entered student property without permission…

And, in the end, Wolfe said the F word (Fuck). He was forcefully arrested for “disturbing the peace by swearing”. Well, the video clearly shows that Wolfe didn’t disturb anything except one cop. And swearing is not illegal. Nor is being annoyed at a cop. (Arrest me!)

So it appears quite plainly that Wolfe’s arrest was a false arrest. At best the cop’s judgment is so bad in recognizing a “disturbance of the peace” that he should be sent back into training. Was a single member of the public disturbed? Can someone serve as a witness to this crime? I think a jury would find that the cop knew this was not a bona fide disturbance of the peace and would find the cop to be misusing the law and abusing his power. But hey that’s just me.

And where is Dean of Science André E. Lalonde in all of this? Maybe his judgment in making the original complaint should be questioned? Maybe the Dean could read the Trespass Act (all three pages) in order to avoid more such messes on campus? Or he could stay in his office?

President Allan Rock goes berzerk against student Marc Kelly
Student Liam calls on Rock to stop arresting students
SCUO students call on Rock to disarm and chalkon
Final solution applied to student Marc Kelly
Crown drops all eight criminal charges against student Marc Kelly

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Students call on President Allan Rock to disarm and chalkon

From: Joseph Hickey
Date: Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 7:36 PM
Subject: Protect student rights: call off Protection Services
To: allan.rock@uottawa.ca, Allan Rock
Cc: "Claude J. Giroux", "Rédacteur en chef, La Rotonde", "Chef de pupitre Actualités, La Rotonde", "Chef de pupitre Web, La Rotonde", Charlotte Barrie , Fulcrum News Editor, Fulcrum Editor-in-Chief

Mr. Rock,

Members of the same U of O "Protection" force that yesterday facilitated an illegal police intrusion into the Student Appeals Centre (SAC) office and the violent arrests of student Marc Kelly and SFUO President Seamus Wolfe [today] came uninvited and disrupted the student-organized Chalking Day event at the Morisset cement poster backing walls.

Please back off Mr. Rock.

There was absolutely no "Protection" need that required a muscular intervention and disruption of our event. Student participants were harassed by Protection agents and their pictures were taken without their permission.

Despite your unfortunate intervention, the event was a success. Over 30 students contributed to filling the backing walls with colourful political messages of all types. We recommend that you read these messages Mr. Rock.

The "Protection" officers displayed disturbing unprofessional behaviour. They openly threatened the ludicrous criminal charge of "damaging University property" but then proceeded to watch and not even warn most students who contributed to the chalking. They threatened criminal charges backed by their photos but did not intervene or call Ottawa Police to stop the alleged dreadful "damage to property".

Political and informative messages in chalk on a campus wall is not a criminal offence. Drop the guns and handcuffs, Mr. Rock. Send your "Protection" agents to actually protect. For example, they could protect freedom of expression.

We ask you not to remove any of the student participants' messages, and to respect Chalking Day. The "Protection" officers did explain your logic of hiring an expensive removal crew in order to demonstrate "damage" and assign it a monetary value, but don't go there Mr. Rock. Don't go there. Don't spend our tuition money to remove our free expression. Your officers and lawyers have better things to do.

Consider instead adding your own message to the wall, about one of your human rights projects in Africa, say.

Also, we welcome your suggestions about parts of the chalking that could be removed. In this case we would do [it] ourselves (using water and a brush).


Student Chalkers of the University of Ottawa (SCUO)

Joseph Hickey
Mireille Gervais
Liam Kennedy-Slaney

cc: Claude J. Giroux, Director of Protection Services
cc: media