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, March 24, 2010

The right is racist, the left is stupid, and Allan Rock lied

Ann Coulter madness brings out the truth in people

Following the Ann Coulter fiasco at the University of Ottawa (see extensive national and local media coverage) the institution stooped into damage control mode by practicing the opposite of open discourse and transparency: It put out a PRESS RELEASE that ends

"Please note that this is the University of Ottawa’s official statement and no further comments will be issued."

In the press release President Allan Rock is quoted as:

“Freedom of expression is a core value that the University of Ottawa has always promoted,” said Allan Rock, President of the University.

So Allan Rock said that the university has always promoted freedom of expression.

Let us examine if this is true.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is of the firm professional opinion that this is not true.

In fact, the CCLA wrote directly to Allan Rock on February 26, 2009, to EXPRESS "deep concern" that the University of Ottawa had actuated "a radical departure from the traditional mission of the university" by banning a student poster and asked Allan Rock that this "be rectified:"

"Specifically, we urge you to reverse the ban of the poster, as well as issue a public statement reassuring students that they will not face official sanction or discipline for expressing highly controvertial political views."

Allan Rock did not comply with the request.

Fast forward to the present. On March 24th the new General Counsel of the same CCLA (and Full Professor at the University of Ottawa) Nathalie Des Rosiers is quoted in the Globe and Mail as making these statements in response to the Rock administration's LETTER to Coulter from VP-Academic Francois Houle:

Civil libertarians decried the University of Ottawa’s treatment of Ms. Coulter, saying it’s out of line for an educational institution to be telling people to watch their words.
“It could be interpreted as an attempt to curtail speech,” said Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Des Rosiers (unless misquoted) went on to defame Coulter:

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to warn speakers. Regardless of how bigoted and terrible a speaker she is, she’s entitled to freedom of expression and Canadians have a right to hear her views.”

Now on the question of who is more able to recognize a breach in promoting free expression, we can safely go with a national civil liberties association rather than with a former politician who was not known for his good judgment. We conclude that the University of Ottawa has NOT always promoted freedom of expression.

Furthermore, since the CCLA letter of 2009 was addressed directly to Mr. Rock and since Mr. Rock's communication department reads every major media article about the U of O and promptly informs Mr. Rock, we must conclude that Mr. Rock knew that the the University of Ottawa has NOT always promoted freedom of expression.

Since, lying involves both falsehood and intent, and since it is generally known and accepted that Mr. Rock does not suffer from dementia, we can conclude that Mr. Rock lied when he said "Freedom of expression is a core value that the University of Ottawa has always promoted."

We conclude that Allan Rock lied.

The next logical question is the question of motive. It would appear that Mr. Rock sees his job as protecting the reputation of the University of Ottawa, and therefore his own reputation, even if this involves lying.

This example suggests that it is not illogical to ask how often University of Ottawa press releases contain lies and what those lies are meant to accomplish.


Anonymous said...

Who is Ann Coulter pointing her GUN at?

Anonymous said...

Do we really need people like Coulter to understand what is meant by freedom of expression? How about we just have the freedom to express ourselves? But if you are so stupid as to be influenced by "hate" speech in the first place, then you should be given an honorary degree from uOttawa for freedom of thought.