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, June 22, 2010

U of O anonymous research chair for ethical management

In response to student and community protests against selling out the curriculum to business interests, the University of Ottawa's Allan Rock promised (HERE!) a comprehensive "donor recognition policy", following a series of Rock-sponsored show panels last year.

The policy that last year was to be presented "within weeks" (see LINK) mysteriously never materialized and was never mentioned again by Rock or his administration (see update HERE).

Surely the policy would have had to grapple with the obvious problem of large anonymous donations for specific research and teaching development chairs (see update HERE).

Conveniently, before any policy was tabled and during mid-summer when all the students are away, the university has announced a 3.5 million dollar "anonymous gift" for the creation of a chaired professorship in the Telfer School of Management. (University press release HERE.)

Now that's transparency.
"By 2010, this governance model will have included new communication tools for ensuring greater transparency, a change that should cultivate the team spirit we need to carry out our mission."
-- Vision 2010 Strategic Plan, adoprted by University Senate January 2005
SHAME ON YOU MR. ROCK: There was a tacit understanding that no donations would be received until the new policy was in place. This donation is a betrayal of the community's trust. It is another illustration of the ethically challenged nature of the institution's president (LINK, LINK).

It needs to be fixed.
  • Will the university make public the negotiated conditions that secured this "anonymous gift"?
  • Will the university explain beyond the usual donor privacy superficialities why this multi-million dollar gift to a publicly funded university needs to be made anonymously?
  • Will the administration explain why it would compromise the university's institutional integrity and reputation by accepting a multi-million dollar anonymous gift for a pre-determined targetted program development chair, without collegial and community input and before presenting its donor policy?
  • Will the administration make public the names of the selection committee for the new chaired professorship and will this selection committee include undergraduate and graduate student representatives named by the student associations?
  • Will the competition for the new research chair be transparent and public, with short-list candidates making public presentations, as has been the tradition for regular professorships?
  • Will the candidates reject the anonymous funding of the chaired position and ask for transparency as a condition for acceptance?
  • Will there be Telfer School student research projects on the ethics of such an anonymous donation to a publicly funded university?
  • Will the donor come forward and apply transparency?
The anonymous gift, as it stands, is a disgrace.

It needs to be fixed by transparency.

It shows that the Rock administration cannot be trusted to unilaterally develop a "donor recognition policy" and that this policy will need collegial and community input, as soon as possible. (See confirmation of this and update HERE.)

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