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, September 23, 2010

Rock admin trashes another voice for social justice - Dr. Agnes Whitfield canned

The Rock administration of the University of Ottawa has collaborated with Carleton University in deposing the endowed Joint Chair in Women's Studies Dr. Agnes Whitfield after only one year of the position.

Dr. Whitfield had been critical of both administrations concerning how the chair was being badly administered and had asked to see the financial record of the chairship.

U of O's VP-Academic Francois Houle (of Ann Coulter fame) stated to the student newspaper (Fulcrum, September 23, 2010, issue) "The problem is that the endowment is not rich enough and the rate of interest now is so low that it cannot [properly] finance the chair."

Whose interest?

So these universities turf inconveniently outspoken professors when interest rates on endowments go down while spending hundreds of thousands collecting information to have activist students jailed and to block access to information requests using teams of corporate lawyers...


Why not free up one campus police agent on each campus and keep the Chair in women's studies? Is that a fair question?

(U of O campus police showcasing their skills.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Court-ordered released document shows University of Ottawa suppressing critical global climate research

(Photo: Dean of Science Dr. Andre E. Lalonde sends vehement email to quash research of AGW critic, collateral damage student. Credit: University of Ottawa.)

The University of Ottawa has a notorious record regarding access to information and protection of personal information: LINK-1, LINK-2, LINK-3, LINK-4, LINK-5, LINK-6, LINK-7, LINK-8.

In a recent access to information (ATI) case in which a graduate student sought access to his personal information, the University made sustained but failed attempts over a period of two years to subvert the ATI law of Ontario.

In the end, on August 27, 2010, the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) Adjudicator Diane Smith ordered the University to immediately release the last contested document (IPC Order PO-2909-I).

The student, scholarship physics graduate student and elected University Senate member Joseph Hickey, has made the entire ordeal public on the web: HERE.

The released document shows that the University had no reasonable standing to argue that the document could not be released to the claimant. The University’s efforts in this direction appear to constitute either obstruction of justice or incompetence. Two lawyers were directly involved in this apparent cover up by making formal submissions to the IPC: Former VP-Governance Pamela Harrod and present University Legal Counsel Kathryn Prud’homme.

Indeed, to block the release of the document was to hide a gross (and illegal under labour law) violation of academic freedom, a foundational principle of universities in free and democratic societies.

Under academic freedom a university administration can in no way interfere with university research. Yet the document shows the dean of the Faculty of Science Andre E. Lalonde sending an email to the dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Gary Slater, to two University-hired corporate lawyers Andre Champagne and Lynn Harnden, and to the then VP-Governance Pamela Harrod stating (LINK):

“Gary, Andre, Lynn, Pamela,

The Chair of Physics [Bela Joos] has evidence that is not reproduced below that indicates the student wishes to research global climate change with Professor Rancourt. The professor has no scientific expertise in this scientific field whatsoever. I am strongly opposed to letting this student initiate such a study with Professor Rancourt.


The email also has VP-Academic Robert Major, the human resources boss Louise Page-Valin, and others in cc.

Note that Harrod was involved in BOTH the violation of academic freedom (and the student’s right to fair process without discrimination) AND the apparent attempted cover up with the IPC.

Such an intervention was unprecedented in physics professor Rancourt’s twenty-two-year academic career since:

(1) Rancourt was known for successfully changing scientific fields several times in his research career and was certified to supervise graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in both the Department of Physics and the Department of Earth Sciences.

(2) Rancourt had published (and been an invited conference speaker) in areas as diverse as nuclear spectroscopy, materials science, organic chemistry, soil science, metallurgy, magnetism, marine science, aquatic geochemistry, environmental nanoparticles, X-ray diffraction, and measurement theory, as both a theorist and a measurement scientist.

(3) Thanks to his scientific record, in 2000 Rancourt was awarded the largest Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Strategic Project Grant ever awarded at the University of Ottawa to lead a five-year project in lake environmental geochemistry and to supervise dozens of research students in the project, whereas he had never previously published in this area.

(4) Similarly, Rancourt had supervised a physics graduate research student in the area of “physics education”, having never at the time published in a peer-reviewed education journal. The physics student took courses out of faculty.

Rancourt had in February 2007 self-published (posted to the web) a damning scientific and societal/political critique of global warming science. The essay received some attention and criticism in the left media soon after its posting. His article has since catalyzed other studies and has been used in university courses.

Following this, Rancourt continued to research global warming science on his own and it was known that he had started conceiving graduate student research projects that would examine at the root the fundamental physical mechanisms behind such phenomena as an atmospheric greenhouse effect, radiative sublimation or melting of snow and ice, particulate effects on snow and ice radiation absorption, and the statistical and physical meaning of mean global temperature. (Recent articles HERE, HERE, HERE; and video interview HERE.)

In 2008 Rancourt discussed potential graduate student research projects with then undergraduate student Joseph Hickey. They agreed to work together and Mr. Hickey submitted his application accordingly, following established application procedures.

It appears that the dean’s October 2008 vehement intervention was aimed at squashing Rancourt’s research plans in the area of global climate science by barring supervisions in this area. NSERC research funds are tied to supervisions of students.

Rancourt was then in December 2008 suspended from all his supervisory duties, trespassed from campus and handcuffed and arrested while still a Full tenured professor, and ultimately fired in April 2009 under the false pretext of having arbitrarily attributed high grades in one advanced physics course in the winter semester of 2008. (LINK-1, LINK-2)

Yesterday (September 21, 2010) Rancourt sued by filing a labour law grievance against the University of Ottawa and those involved: HERE.

In a recent labour arbitration (Professor David F. Noble vs. York University, Arbitrator Russell Goodfellow, 2007) the plaintiff was awarded $2,500. for a far more tenuous and minor violation of his academic freedom: The University had emitted a press release that did not name or defame the plaintiff (according to the ruling) and that only distanced the University from certain views that the plaintiff held. In the latter case, there was no direct assault on research freedom or harm to a student.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ontario's IPC practicing unwarranted secrecy, procedural machinations, and condoning unethical practice

September 18, 2010

Ann Cavoukian
Information and Privacy Commissioner / Ontario
2 Bloor Street East
Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 1A8

(By email)

(E-mail CC: Work Ethics Watch; Democracy Watch; Canadians for Accountability; Canadian Association of University Professors; Ontario Ombudsman; and made public)


(Reference: IPC files PA08-149, PA08-224, PA08-245, PA08-97-2, PA08-158-2.)

Dear Dr. Ann Cavoukian,

Unwarranted secrecy

I have recently received two letters dated September 13, 2010, signed by IPC Adjudicator Catherine Corban (PA08-97-2, PA08-158-2). These are cover letters inviting my submissions for IPC inquiries.

In the recent past (October 29, 2009) I have received three such notices signed by IPC Adjudicator Colin Bhattacharjee (PA08-149, PA08-224, PA08-245).

The October 2009 notices stated:
“Please find attached severed copies of the University’s representations… Portions of these representations have been withheld because they fall within this office’s confidentiality criteria on the sharing of representations.”
Whereas the September 2010 letters state:
“Please find attached the non-confidential representations of the University. Please note that portions of the University’s representations have been withheld due to confidentiality concerns.”
Contrary to the October 2009 stated IPC policy, the September 2010 letters describe an unwarranted application of secrecy consisting in the IPC not disclosing the University of Ottawa’s submissions consistent with the IPC’s own established practice.

This is of concern to me because it appears to function in a way that is contrary to the IPC’s societal mandate regarding transparency and disclosure. It also harms my ability to respond in my submissions to the IPC.

I request an explanation regarding the IPC’s change of position.

I ask to be given the full representations following the IPC’s own confidentiality criteria on the sharing of representations.

I add to this my continuing concern that the IPC is anomalously not itself subject to the conditions of the Act (FIPPA) and that your office has not lobbied to bring the IPC under the purview of the Act. In this regard, your office has not been a model defender of transparency for societal institutions. Other provincial “IPC” offices are rightly subjected to the conditions of access to information laws.

Terms of reference changed in mid-inquiry

I am also concerned that the terms set out in the original IPC Notices of Inquiry for inquiries PA08-97-2 and PA08-158-2 were changed between the times the University was asked to make its submissions and now when I am being asked to make my submissions. The September 2010 letters sate:
“I am enclosing a Notice of Inquiry which summarizes the facts and issues in the appeal. This Notice has been modified to reflect matters arising from the representations [which I am not being allowed to see] of the University.”
It is difficult for me to understand why the IPC’s terms of reference on the “facts and issues” for the inquiries in question would need to be changed. I ask that you explain this.

Possible ethical breach in University’s use of the BLG law firm

Finally, I wish to inform the IPC of the following.

The recent University submissions (PA08-97-2, PA08-158-2) were prepared by the Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) law firm. The former Chairman of the Board of Governors (BOG) of the University of Ottawa, Mr. Marc Jolicoeur, is the Regional Managing Partner of the Ottawa office of BLG. He stepped down as U of O BOG Chairman in mid June 2010.

Mr. Jolicoeur participated in the administrative process that led to my April 2009 dismissal from the University, as is publicly documented. My dismissal as a tenured professor has not yet gone before a labour law arbitrator. Mr. Jolicoeur’s law firm is now working at profit to bar access to records that relate to my dismissal.

To the extend that this situation is an ethical breach for the University and for BLG, and now that the IPC has been explicitly informed, continuing to allow the involvement of BLG will constitute condoning and collaboration by the IPC.

I ask that the IPC disallow the participation of BLG in all IPC inquiries involving me.

Need for a quick response

Please respond immediately as the inquiry process imposes deadlines for my representations.

Please acknowledge receipt of the present communication.

Yours truly,

Denis Rancourt
Former physics professor, University of Ottawa

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Prosecutors fumble in Marc Kelly trial

Will the media cover this or will it prefer to stick with the U of O banned bottled water story?


Remember these remarkable videos about ludicrous arrests of students on the campus of the University of Ottawa?

One student (Seamus Wolf, then president of the student union) plea bargained. Student Marc Kelly did not plea bargain and is representing himself at his own trial.

Kelly, a former scholarship student in mathematics-physics, was arbitrarily barred from registering for courses to finish his B.Sc. degree, expelled from his program of study, and trespassed from all University of Ottawa grounds by the Allan Rock administration.

The Student Appeal Center (SAC) of the student union is defending Kelly's academic rights and Kelly was in the SAC office when he was arrested for trespass after the dean of the Faculty of Science Andre E. Lalonde called police on spotting Kelly in the SAC office.


Allan Rock has a history of confrontation with student Kelly: HERE.

Several background articles about the Marc Kelly case at the University of Ottawa are HERE.


On Monday September 4, 2010, Marc Kelly was in court at 9 am to defend himself over the false arrest ordered by the Rock administration.

Well the Prosecutor had to ask the judge for an adjournment because she "only realized late Friday" that, after months of preparation, her office had not subpoenaed her witnesses (the many Ottawa Police and campus police officers involved at the scene or in the background).

The Judge ruled that an adjournment was granted but that the onus was now on the Prosecutor to produce her witnesses at the next trial date which was set for:

9 am, Monday October 4, 2010.
Courtroom 101
100 Constellation Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario.

This means that the Prosecutor will either be ready for trial or the charges will be dropped.

Kelly had obtained a subpoena order for dean Andre E. Lalonde but this order will now need to be re-issued for the new trial date.

If the charges are dropped or beat this will open the door for Kelly to then sue for malicious arrest.

Either way, it will be a long road to the B.Sc.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Israel Lobby losing U of O - Rock standing down


On Tuesday September 21, 2010, renowned Israeli journalist, author, and unapologetic critic of Israel's brutal and illegal (as in Geneva Conventions) occupation of Palestine Gideon Levy will speak in the University of Ottawa's Alumni Auditorium, the university's flagship events auditorium.

The event is hosted by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and is described HERE.

How did this happen?

Where are the Israel Lobby newspaper editorials screaming for "balance"?

Where are the strong arm tactics of Allan Rock who is known to intimidate student politicians and student groups away from criticisms of Israel? (see background links below)

Has the Jewish Student Association lost its leverage?

Where is Hillel?

Allan Rock not so long ago (see background links below) banned a student poster announcing Israeli Apartheid Week and now he sits on his hands as one of Israel's most acidic critics speaks at the Alumni Auditorium.

UofOWatch thinks that Allan Rock is learning about academic freedom (a la Coulter) and about the liabilities of being an ideologue president who projects the image of spearheading human rights while supporting the genocidal policies of the state of Israel.

UofOWatch thinks that Allan Rock would not have changed on his own and celebrates all those who have expected Mr. Rock to behave and all those who have continued to be critical of the criminal policies of Israel.