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, April 29, 2010

Liberal bashing season is on: U of O crimes finally get reported

In choosing its latest president (SEE HERE), the U of O has made itself home to a failed politician who was ethically challenged, who had bungled most major media-reported dossiers to cross his desk, who now appears to be in the pocket of outside interests, and who wants to spend more time out "in the world" than on campus.

That former politician was a Liberal and he has made the school an instrument of Liberal propaganda. As a result, he has exposed the school to severe and sustained conservative media criticism of "Canada's university" - as he likes to call the University of Ottawa.

Ever since the Coulter fiasco for which Allan Rock was responsible (according to his own late admission), CanWest has gone after Mr. Rock and the reputation of the University of Ottawa. This suggests a federal election battle in the near future.

HERE is the latest example in the second national newspaper of corporate Canada. It is a hummer of a well structured beating from hell.

That's bad for Rock but it's good for the university (and it's good for Burma). It's good for the university because the criticism is well deserved and is a criticism of malfeasance by the university's corporate executives. It's good for the university because it's true. It's good for the university because it pushes its bosses to clean up their act.

The Rock administration's response has been to spin and to cover up.

Not good. Allan Rock needs to learn to shorten the time between public exposure and apology, not lengthen it. Beyond that, Allan Rock needs to clean this up: An independent public inquiry into covert surveillance at the U of O is past due, way past due.

Mister Rock needs to stop the cover up. He could start by removing his illegal refusal to receive a labour law grievance about THIS covert surveillance and its cover up.

For all the background in this sordid affair of the Rock administration see HERE.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Ethically challenged" Allan Rock U of O mistake was avoidable

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
--George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

Allan Rock began his mandate as president of the University of Ottawa in July 2008.

In the short time since his arrival at 'Canada's university', Allan Rock has
  • unilaterally declared that his plan for the University of Ottawa was to "put [it] in the service of the world"
  • fired a tenured professor who was never heard by a committee of his peers
  • installed the regular use of trespass against professors and students
  • installed the regular use of criminal charges against activist students (E.G.)
  • personally gone after and deregistered and banned student Marc Kelly
  • banned a student Israeli Apartheid Week poster (E.G.)
  • personally attacked a student research group (OPIRG) for its principled stance on Israel
  • steadfastly covered up at least two known campaigns of university covert surveillance against students and a professor
  • ousted the University Secretary and installed an outsider as VP-Governance
  • financially committed the university to promotion of Canada's war in Afghanistan via "Project Hero" without any community consultation
  • increased university central administration costs by 30% (Report)
  • increased executive salaries by 30% last year alone (Report)
  • supervised the greatest damage to the university's reputation in the institution's history (Coulter fiasco)
  • pushed through a corporate-style fiscal restraint plan using outside experts (at a cost of over $160, 000) rather than using the traditional collegial governance model (Report)
Could this have been predicted? And if so, what was the selection committee thinking?

For example, one member of the selection committee that gave 'Canada's university' Rock was physics professor Gary Slater. Dr. Slater is an accomplished scientist and a previous recipient of the institution's Researcher of the Year Award. One would have expected Dr. Slater to have done a little research about Mr. Rock.

Did the selection committee know that Allan Rock had overrun the gun registry budget by 50,000% (fifty thousand percent)? Or that he had paid two million dollars of tax payer money to Brian Mulroney? Or that he had left 60,000 Canadians infected with hepatitis C from tainted blood without reparation on the basis of the year they were infected?

Did Dr. Slater ask himself why Mr. Rock's once still promising political career came to an abrupt end in 2003 after which he was shuffled off to the UN to reinvent himself as a champion of human rights? (For example by changing Canada's longstanding foreign policy on Israel from abstaining on human rights resolutions for Palestine to being one of the few countries in the World that vote with the US and Israel against UN human rights resolutions for Palestine.)

If Dr. Slater posed this research question then he discovered what the media discovered in 2003: That Allan Rock is "ethically challenged" - Ottawa Citizen, November 8, 2003, page 1.

In the words of CanWest News investigative reporter Norma Greenaway:
"[Rock's] behaviour since the Irving affair became public has revealed him to be ethically challenged."
"it took Rock days to apologize. And he only grudgingly did so after Labour Minister Claudette Bradshaw rose in the Commons and offered an unqualified apology for accepting a ride on the Irving corporate jet three years ago. She also announced she was reimbursing the family for the flight."
In 2002 when the then Ethics Counsellor Howard Wilson discovered that Minister Rock had in summer 2001 accepted a private jet stay at the Irving family salmon fishing lodge, he issued a ruling that Rock was to avoid all ministerial dealings benefiting Irving enterprises for one year. During that blackout year Rock made three significant ministerial decisions benefiting Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

On investigating the latter multimillion-dollar violations, "Wilson said it 'would have be better' if a minister other than Rock had signed the $55-million grant, but noted the signature was made by a machine on instructions from Industry officials."(Ottawa Citizen)

Rock was happy to accept the latter whitewashing that the opposition leaders called a "complete joke" but it put an end to his political and federal judgeship ambitions.

Fast forward to 2008: The media reported that the first thing Rock did as president of the University of Ottawa was to accept an Israel lobby funded trip to Israel and agree to launch an inter-university exchange program in law ("in the service of the world"). When later asked if Palestinian students would be allowed to participate in the program Rock publicly stated that he could not answer that.

These days, Rock's "service to the world" includes promoting "the responsibility to intervene" in Africa and writing an opinion editorial about stranded Nazia Quazi in Saudi Arabia. All of which he describes to attentive students on his "Rock Talk" blog which filters out critical "off topic" student comments. The blog was said to have been initiated to "help resolve the problem of one-way communication." Student leaders explain Rock's behaviour to themselves by postulating that he wants to re-enter federal politics - because they can't otherwise figure it out.

Clearly the Allan Rock U of O mistake was avoidable. Unless the selection committee was incompetent or blinded, it must have known how predictable Rock's unconstrained performance would be?

Why would any university make itself home to a failed politician who is ethically challenged, who has bungled most major dossiers to cross his desk, who appears to be in the pocket of outside interests, and who wants to spend more time out "in the world" rather than on campus?

Such an appointment is diametrically opposed to the established academic principles of responsible management of public (and student tuition) funds and of institutional independence as a safeguard for academic freedom (HERE).

We hope that this blog will help produce needed change, a break from the pattern of history.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

'Canada's university' spied on Burmese students to 'protect' Desmarais

THIS stunning media report from Burma exposes a second known University of Ottawa campaign of covert surveillance that the Rock administration is covering up.

The original Burmese report is HERE. Detailed revelations directly implicate several top U of O executives and are supported by hard-fought-for documents* obtained through access to information law.

University executives conspired
  • to covertly spy on a student event about Burmese blood money allegedly having been received from corporate donor Paul Desmarais in funding the university's Desmarais building,
  • to gather information in view of libel lawsuits against the students, and
  • to increase room booking rates to make rooms inaccessible to unfunded student groups.

For example, U of O Vice-President Victor Simon is quoted from one of his emails as:
"we should prohibit the use of our facilities for this event, on the grounds that the program material includes allegations and accusations that may be libellous . . .I know that this kind of action thinking flies in the face of many principles we hold dear in the University world, but I think we have others interests at stake here."
Others interests (sic)? These guys know who they work for... They have a legal responsibility to protect academic freedom; a responsibility reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada. This is how they do it.

Will the Rock administration continue to bury this kind of malfeasance (e.g., HERE) or will it straighten the ship and do the necessary to restore public confidence in the institution?

*Access to information documents made public HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Coulter aftermath: Allan Rock "comes clean" three weeks later

THIS video and THIS media report establish the official blame sharing scheme worked out at the University of Ottawa some three weeks after the canceled Ann Coulter event:
  1. Allan Rock alleges to have pre-approved the boobanesque Francois Houle letter to Coulter, as the official institutional response to her planned visit.
  2. Allan Rock alleges to have recognized when he approved the letter that such a letter sent only to certain speakers could represent discrimination and could have a chilling effect on a potential speaker.
  3. Allan Rock alleges that he refused to accept the student union request to ban the Coulter talk from campus based entirely on his responsibility to defend free speech.
  4. Allan Rock continues to allege that the University of Ottawa has always been and without exception a vigorous defender of free speech.
  5. Allan Rock proposes that the U of O now needs to develop a consensus policy of freedom of expression?
[We are not making this shit up. He wants an institutional consensus view about freedom of expression. Watch the VIDEO.]

There you have it, in five-point format. No sophistry or contradictions in them there words. That should wrap it up nicely. Try taking me to the human rights tribunal now. Took away your bang didn't I? "I did it." "The institution is wise and pure." "I did it." "You have to go after me, not just Franky."

Meanwhile, Franky Houle sat beside his boss and did not utter a peep (see VIDEO). Now we know what it means when a VP signs a letter at the U of O.

Rock's CEO career ambitions and professional reputation are over if he continues to take U of O down the tubes as he is doing, so it was time for him to take some hits in an attempt to salvage the wreckage. Historians are already penning the sequence of consecutive professional fiascoes:
  • Gun registry cost overshoot by $1B
  • $2M of taxpayer cash paid to Brian Mulroney for no known reason
  • Tainted blood victim discrimination
  • Canadian UN position on Israel
  • Intimidation of student politicians, banning of student poster
  • Police-state style persecution of student Marc Kelly
  • Cover up of an extensive on-campus covert surveillance campaign
  • Trashing of a major school's reputation internationally
Maybe some people just aren't meant to have responsibilities beyond student government?

A first at U of O: Professors' union goes public against central administration

Never before seen at the University of Ottawa. What does it mean?

The school's Association of Professors University of Ottawa (APUO) union has, for the first time in its history, been publicly critical of the university's central administration.

Read the April 15, 2010, media-reported criticism HERE.

This suggests particularly bad leadership by former Minister of Justice now university president Allan Rock but may also reflect a momentary lapse in the union's longstanding posture or a fundamental underlying shift in institutional culture?

The APUO union is a typical Canadian professors' union that seeks to collaborate with the administration in order to best secure and maximize the relative societal privileges of the majority of its members.

As with virtually all such professors' unions (e.g., see No Ivory Tower by Ellen Schrecker), ass kissing and hierarchical obedience have been found by experimentation to be the surest route to job security for aligned professors and to the proverbial three P's: Parking, pay, and pensions.

But now this. Novice APUO president Lessard actually talking to the media and going after the admin's mission of the moment: Control by budget restructuring. This in a context where the number of contract-protected professors' salaries over $100,000 per year rose by 25% last year: HERE and HERE.

In other words, there is no obvious reason for the APUO to stand up at this time in this dramatic and public way, after decades of mute collaboration. Maybe the Rock administration's authoritarianism is starting to make its mark on even the most privileged group of the university community? Maybe the appearance of solidarity with students would have been difficult to avoid?

For the first time in the history of the institution, the traditional power of the VP-Academic (normally second in command, as per the University of Ottawa Act, 1965) has been replaced by an outside Rock appointment, Diane Davidson, in the newly created position of VP-Governance.

For the first time in the history of the institution, the CEO and his executive staff are mostly not from the professorial ranks, mostly don't have PhDs, and are mostly not familiar with undergraduate teaching or academic research.

As pointed out by Lessard, administrative costs rose by 23.7% last year [not to mention executive salaries... or the fact that the former president is still collecting (2009) his full CEO salary of $351,120. per year plus benefits and has been nowhere to be found since Rock took over]. We note that this administrative cost increase occurred under Rock as corporate-style control was implemented, including unprecedented uses of branding and media relations, campus police, surveillance, and hired corporate lawyers. Rock has written more Op-Eds than one can shake a stick at.

Rock is also always "out of town", either promoting "the responsibility to intervene" in Africa or creating academic exchange programs with Israel or using his university-paid-for flat in Toronto.

The U of O is being put to waste and its reputation shredded (e.g., Coulter fiasco, police-state measures against student Marc Kelly) while Rock appoints his cronies and is out of town. To fix it Rock wants to impose budget restructuring which, again for the first time in the institution's history, has not proceeded via the required collegial governance process.

By not grieving (lawsuit under labour law) the Rock budget plans as having violated the legally established fundamental principle of collegial governance (of universities), the APUO is abandoning its legitimate power and its social responsibility, while publicly posturing to avoid deeper scrutiny.

Just my opinion.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

U of O's Rock actuates a complete exile of math student Marc Kelly

Hemlock or exile?

Those were the only two choices provided by former Minister of Justice now university president Allan Rock.

Rock's conflict with student Marc Kelly has been described HERE and recently in a detailed report by Stephen Lendman HERE. The Ottawa corporate media have also recently reported Kelly's banishment HERE and HERE (today).

Allan Rock's recorded November 3rd 2008 verbal abuse and intimidation of Kelly was made public HERE and by mass email:

But now exile - a complete ban on associating or communicating with all 50,000 members of the university community.

The Student Appeal Centre (SAC) of the student union is leading Kelly's defense and has put out this press release:

U of O’s Rock administration exiles student from all communications

OTTAWA, April 14, 2010 – Following Monday’s arrest of University of Ottawa math student Marc Kelly and a 24 hour detention in jail, Ottawa Police have imposed an unprecedented restriction:

Under the threat of immediate jailing until trial, Kelly is required to abstain from communication or associating directly, indirectly, or electronically, with all students and staff of the university.

The arrest was for an alleged violation of unjustified trespass from the public institution, contested by the student unions, and was intended to keep Kelly from speaking at a university Senate meeting where university president Allan Rock spoke to defend U of O’s freedom of expression practices in the wake of the Coulter fiasco:

Kelly had sent a mass email to students inviting them to attend Senate using this striking video link:

The arrest was only days after Kelly was freely allowed into the same building to speak and to introduce free speech legal expert Doug Christie.

Marc is being treated like a terrorist and exiled from the community so that Rock can have his damage-control media show uninterrupted” said university student Senate member elect Joseph Hickey.

- 30 -

For more information please contact:

Mireille Gervais LL.L
Director, Student Appeal Centre (SFUO)

Joseph Hickey, university Senate member elect

Liam Kennedy-Slaney, student

Monday, April 12, 2010

U of O’s Rock administration used excessive force against students today

THIS MEDIA REPORT of April 11, 2010, cannot have pleased U of O president Allan Rock:

On the student satisfaction front, the only direction to go is up. A 2008 national survey of students asked "if you could start over, would you go to the institution you are now attending?" Senior University of Ottawa students gave answers that placed their school 52nd of 53 Canadian universities ranked. The report says "the data are stark and call for immediate action."...

One might conclude that the University of Ottawa has blundered into a quagmire. In polite terms, the report says the university leadership doesn't properly understand the financial impact of its decisions on student enrolment, research focus and productivity. ...

Continuing his recent policy of not saying anything about anything, Rock declined to comment on the report, although it is said to reflect his desires to do more for students. ...
But now is this how he takes it out on others?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - U of O’s Rock administration used excessive force against students today

OTTAWA, April 12, 2010 – University of Ottawa campus police assaulted and held student Marc Kelly today at the bus stop at the corner of Laurier and Nicholas to prevent him from presenting his case at university Senate; in front of more than twenty shocked student supporters and several video cameras, as Ottawa Police arrived on the scene.

Kelly is being held at the Elgin Street jail and has not yet been allowed to contact his lawyer at this time.

This only four days after Kelly was allowed into the same university building to host controversial freedom of expression speaker Doug Christie. The latter event caused the TV and print Ottawa media to report Kelly’s unjustified political expulsion by the Rock administration.

Fellow student and Senate member elect Joseph Hickey was also assaulted and thrown to the ground while being choked during the campus police action. Hickey’s complaint with Ottawa Police is being investigated against campus police member Michel Leroux.

Campus police presence was reminiscent of a terrorist lock down rather than an action intended to prevent a student’s university Senate enquiry. At the same time in the Senate chamber, university president Allan Rock expressed the university’s commitment to free speech in relation to its recent Coulter fiasco.

“Excessive force was used” expressed student witness Liam Kennedy, “Marc was not a threat and there was no need for an arrest.”

“This is off the charts in terms of political discrimination” said Student Appeal Centre director Mireille Gervais.

- 30 -

For more information please contact:

Mireille Gervais LL.L
Director, Student Appeal Centre (SFUO)

Joseph Hickey

Liam Kennedy-Slaney

For all and more recent posts about student Marc Kelly CLICK HERE.

Targeting Activist University of Ottawa Students: A Lendman report

The UofOgate cover up is starting to fall apart... (all blog reports HERE)

Targeting Activist University of Ottawa Students - by Stephen Lendman

Until his early March Board of Directors removal, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya was Fulcrum Publishing Society (FPS) Ombudsman, the English-language student newspaper at Canada's University of Ottawa (U of O).

It resulted from his critical reports, including a preliminary February 23 one for FPS's editorial mistreatment of Professor Denis Rancourt, fired in March 2009 for his political activism - specifically his courageous stance on Occupied Palestine.

In 2007, after criticizing university opposition to academically boycotting Israel, repression against him intensified under new president Allan Rock, a former Canadian politician, UN ambassador, and staunch Israeli supporter.

Nazemroaya accused the Fulcrum of "publishing opinion pieces against Dr. Rancourt. (They've) strongly criticized him, his university classes, his position, and his brand of activism."

In his January 9 report, Nazemroaya cited illegal U of O "covert surveillance," adding that "The Fulcrum has a duty to cover all news concerning campus life in an unbiased way and to the best of its abilities," especially over denying a distinguished tenured professor academic freedom and firing him for his views - the way a police state silences dissent.

Nazemroaya also accused the FPS Board of endorsing:

"a conflict of interest" (and) tr(ying) to force (him) to be quiet about it and to accept it without initially offering a remedy....Contrary to FPS rules, the Board also (attempted) to force (its) Ombudsman to play a passive role;" in other words, forced compliance to quash an independent investigation into Rancourt's firing, one that surely would vindicate him.

After his dismissal, Nazemroaya wrote an open letter to the FPS, the university Students Federation (SFUO), Graduate Students Association (GSAED), and U of O, saying he was FPS Ombudsman until early March, then removed over "a sequence of events launched by the investigation of a formal complaint by Denis Rancourt."

He accused FPS Business Manager Frank Appleyard of "breach(ing) the FPS constitution by simultaneously working for Allan Rock and the FPS. This was a conflict of interest. Appleyard claimed that this was okay because the BOD had authorized this violation. The BOD has no such power," any more than a head of state may violate constitutional and international laws. Doing so is a criminal act. In academic environs, violations are ethical conflicts of interest, clearly explained in the FPS Constitution's Section 1(1), stating:

"Employees (include) section editors, editor-in-chief, unelected editorial positions, business positions, and any other individual on the Corporate payroll."

They may not simultaneously work for the Fulcrum, SFUO, GSAED or U of O Administration. Doing so is a constitutional violation and conflict of interest.

"There is no debate or divergence of interpretation on this fact. No one can authorize breaches of the FPS Constitution or FPS By-laws, including the Board of Directors. According to Section 2.03 of the FPS Constitution, amendments can only be made at a duly constituted meeting of the staff approved by the Board or vice-versa."

Appleyard breached his constitutional duty, then falsely accused Nazemroaya in his Ombudsman capacity.

He also "mismanage(d)....FPS funds, which are obtained through student fees. The constitution clearly says 'no employees' can work for the FPS and either the university administration, SFUO, and/or GSAED at the same time. This is to prevent political influences from biasing Fulcrum reporting."

"The BOD now claims there was a 'typographical mistake in the constitution," an entirely bogus assertion to justify an unjustifiable act. Appleyard then "accuse(d) me of personal attacks and false statements, which BOD member Scott Bedard informed me was reason for my suspension," bogus again to remove him and attack academic freedom.

As troublesome, the Fulcrum "imposed a media blackout on this scandal. My position is that a cover-up has been underway. A public inquiry is in order," one not forthcoming to let Allan Rock run the U of O like a feudal lord, ruling by edict with no opposition.

BOD members gave Nazemroaya two choices - obey or go. He chose honor, stepped down, and accused university president, Allan Rock, of unfitness and damaged credibility in asking him to resign, then added:

"Appearances are pertinent for judging conflicts of interest. Did Allan Rock forget about the Conflict of Interest Code in Parliament?"

He should have known that hiring Appleyard was unethical, after he backed Rancourt criticism - what Nazemroaya called "notoriously negative and ill-informed." Hiring him looks "like a reward and was an infringement of ethical norms expected for the governance of a publicly funded institution."

Because of arrogant Allan Rock leadership, the U of O is despotically run, tolerating no views divergent from his own. Effectively, he declared free expression and academic freedom dead, so long as he's lord and master of U of O's administration.

A Program Note
Professor Denis Rancourt will be this writer's guest on The Progressive Radio News Hour on The Progressive Radio Network - Saturday, May 8 at 1PM Eastern time.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya will be on the same program - Sunday, April 11 at 1PM.
In-depth discussion will focus on the gross injustice to both guests - to freely air what FPS suppresses.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Student Marc Kelly should obtain justice from U of O's Allan Rock administration

THIS neanderthal violation of natural rights perpetrated by the Allan Rock regime at the University of Ottawa will not stand.

Banned and trespassed physics-mathematics scholarship student and scientific author Marc Kelly had to mass-email his story to 67,000 members of the University of Ottawa community to be heard and the message got through...

More than 200 concerned students showed up today in the week before the final examination period to hear Marc Kelly talk in the Tabaret central administration building lobby, just underneath president Allan Rock's door.

Allan Rock was again conveniently out of town. Seems to be a habit (SEE LINK).

And the main Ottawa newspaper finally covered the story (HERE) of this longstanding Rock university executive malfeasance against student Marc Kelly.

This public exposure and the continued strong student union support should help the Rock administration to come to its senses, we hope?

Will the former Minister of Justice do the right thing?

Or at least explain what the hell is going on?

For all and more recent posts about student Marc Kelly CLICK HERE.