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

Friday, October 22, 2010

U of O physics professor Andre Longtin studies real physics

For professor Andre Longtin at the University of Ottawa it's not all only about stochastic resonance in bursting neurons. There is also room for denying the freedom of thought and beliefs of graduate student applicants to his research group.

Documents were recently obtained by physics graduate student Joseph Hickey via an access to information (ATI) legal appeal in which the University of Ottawa had to be ordered (IPC Order PO-2852-I) to comply with the ATI law of Ontario (see background HERE).

One of the latter records shows dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Gary Slater explaining to other university officials that Longtin is refusing graduate student applicant Joseph Hickey (despite Longtin having supported the student's successful NSERC scholarship application to work in the Longtin research group) based on the student's "newly aquired activism beliefs". See document HERE.

This illegal use and disclosure of the student's personal information by university officials occurred during covert discussions aimed at denying the student's chosen research project, in anticipation of what the student's second choice of research might be (see above links).

Although students are in principle entitled to academic freedom in their choice of research, delimiting the student's possible choice of supervisor effectively forces the student into the research area of the "available" research supervisor.

Student Hickey eventually "chose" to work with physics professor Ivan L'Heureux and also became the student representative for the Faculty of Science at the Senate of the University of Ottawa, the highest governing body on academic matters, despite his "newly acquired activism beliefs".

Welcome to the University of Ottawa, "Canada's university". Welcome all scholarship students. Except those that are inferred to have unacceptable "activism beliefs". Thank you Andre Longtin for making this clear.

[Photo credit: University of Ottawa; physics professor Andre Longtin]


Anonymous said...

Were Longtin and Slater contacted for comment?

Denis Rancourt said...

Yes. Both Dr. Longtin and Dr. Slater were contacted to provide any corrections or comments for posting.

Anonymous said...

I think the interactive nature of blogs greatly helps to protect and expand freedom of expression since it is very easy to publish corrections or comments on a particular post of people affected by the contents therein so as to avoid libel and slander.

Even though all people have a constitutional right NOT to speak, any legal actions brought against the blogger by way of a legal representative can always be made public as part of comments to the original post. This would do justice to provide another side of the story since a notice or statement of claims pursuant to the Libel and Slander Act must detail exactly and explicitly what was incorrectly reported.

Should Longtin's and Slater's reputations suffer and adversely affect any future ventures, then they have only themselves to blame. It's called accountability. Public accountability at a public institution is in the public interest.

Anonymous said...

since when is being an activist a bad thing? Prof Longtin was an activist for the Parti Quebecois after all. ARe we not obliged as citizens of the world to support that which we be believe and counter corruption and imbalanced paths for the future? Perhaps Slater simply wasn't as supportive as the pro Quebecois agenda that Professor Longtin expouses? this would then be truly a suppression of freedom of speech and should be investigated by the university.