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, November 30, 2010

Allan Rock's personal commitment to the community vs. subterfuge

"My answer is the document that says I'm not answering. There."

From: Denis Rancourt <>
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 5:47 PM
Subject: Re: Your personal written commitment to the community
To: president@uottawa.ca, allan.rock@uottawa.ca
Cc: Stephane Emard-Chabot

November 30, 2010

Allan Rock
University of Ottawa

Re: Your personal written commitment to the community

Dear Allan,

On November 28, 2010, I sent you the email BELOW with a request for your clarifications and intervention.

On November 30, 2010, I received the response BELOW from hired lawyer Lynn Harnden. Mr. Harnden states that you have answered in a Reply to the related Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) Application.

Mr. Harnden must be confused. The Reply to the OLRB Application alleges that you are in no way involved in this matter “Rock requests that the Application be dismissed because there are no material facts or particulars alleging that he has violated any section of the Act.”

You can see this in point-4 of Schedule A here:

The Reply, therefore, cannot logically be taken as your answer regarding your personal written commitment to the community that the law would be followed and that I would always be given due process.

Since you made a personal commitment to the community, it seems to me that you should personally explain yourself rather than using this subterfuge provided by Mr. Harnden.

Please do so and resolve the matter by receiving my duly filed and overdue grievances. Follow the law Allan.

I await your response.

Denis Rancourt
Former physics professor, University of Ottawa

Cc: Civil society, the media, the community


From: Lynn Harnden
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 4:38 PM
Subject: Ontario Labour Relations Board - File No. 2567-10-U
To: Denis Rancourt <>

Mr. Rancourt:

I have for reply your email of November 23, 2010 to President Allan Rock.

You reference in your email the matters which are currently under review by the Ontario Labour Relations Board as a result of your application (File No. 2567-10-U).

The issues raised in your email have been addressed in the Reply which has been filed on behalf of President Rock.

Please forward any future communications which touch on this matter to my attention.

Lynn Harnden
Emond Harnden
Direct: 613-940-2731
Tel: 613-563-7660
Fax: 613-563-8001

This e-mail is intended solely for the individual or company to whom it is addressed. The information contained herein is privileged and confidential.
Any dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail, other than by its intended recipient, is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify us immediately and delete from your records. Thank you.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is Allan Rock disregarding the law in the Rancourt academic freedom case? – OLRB complaint filed

University of Ottawa president Allan Rock is the Responding Party in an Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) Application filed by former physics professor Denis Rancourt (OLRB File No. 2567-10-U).

The OLRB is the judicial body charged with enforcing labour law (the Labour Relations Act) in Ontario, Canada.

In the period around January 2009 when the Rock administration was executing its political dismissal of dissident professor Rancourt, more than one hundred students and community members and many professors wrote to Allan Rock to protest the planned dismissal. [See “Letters of Support” top-menu-item on THIS web page.]

Allan Rock responded the same way to all or most of the letter writers as, for example:

On 7-Jan-09, at 12:14 PM, Allan Rock wrote to James Douglas:

Thank you for your recent message.

The relationship between the University and its faculty members, including Professor Rancourt, is governed by a collective agreement.

In all of its dealings with Professor Rancourt, the University has complied strictly with the terms of that collective agreement, and will continue to do so.

Professor Rancourt has due process and opportunities for recourse through this collective agreement and his union.

Kind regards,
Allan Rock

Contrary to his thus stated personal commitment to the community, Allan Rock has repudiated the collective agreement by refusing to process three recent labour law grievances on particularly sensitive matters:
  • executing a direct interference with research academic freedom in the area of climate change physics (link to grievance G26),
  • fabricating false concerns about the professor’s “physical and mental well-being” (link to grievance G27)

Rancourt has made the OLRB Application and Allan Rock’s Response to the Board public HERE.

Rancourt’s OLRB Application is rigorously constructed and shows an unacceptable violation of the professor’s rights (LINK).

In contrast, the OLRB Response filed for Rock by his lawyers of the Emond Harnden LLP law firm [Lynn Harnden, photo] is confused, contradictory, and tenuous (LINK).

For example, the Response contains the following.

- It argues that the complaint has no merit and should be summarily dismissed by the Board, that Rock is not personally linked to any of the facts of the case, then goes on to provide 83 pages of response and supporting documents.

- It argues that the three grievances cannot be received because they were filed after Rancourt was fired, yet the University received the dismissal grievance (G24) which was filed after the dismissal.

- It does not seem to matter with the geniuses at Emond Harnden LLP or with Rock that the alleged violations in the three grievances occurred while Rancourt was a tenured professor but were only discovered or confirmed later, as explicitly foreseen by the collective agreement.

- Nor does it seem to matter that the collective agreement is written in English (and also in French) since Rock and his lawyers take the position: “the Responding Party disagrees with all of the legal conclusions and arguments made by the Applicant”.

- Rock and his lawyers argue that the OLRB is not the proper venue for the complaint, that they are not repudiating or disregarding the law, but that instead this should be viewed as “a difference in interpretation” of the law that should be handled by filing a grievance. We’re not making this up...: The OLRB complaint in which Rock refuses to process collective agreement grievances because they were filed after Rancourt’s dismissal should be handled by a new collective agreement grievance... Ah hum.

- Rock and his lawyers go on to state that letters where the university contradicted itself or changed its position (as in from white to black) were simply not contradictions: “The Responding Party denies its emails … were contradictory as alleged.” OKey… so saying you will process a grievance and later saying you will not process the grievance is not contradicting yourself. Alright then let’s see how that actually works in a hearing?

- The case law that Rock and his lawyers put forth to argue that Rock, the CEO of University of Ottawa Inc., was not involved in any material way is one where a company where the alleged violations took place could not be shown to be a subsidiary of the accused company. Just seems like a bit of a stretch to this non-lawyer…?
And it just goes on like that without ever addressing the substantive arguments made by Rancourt. That’s law? Do they normally win by bullying or what?

A cynical analyst might conclude that these lawyers know a secret; that logic and meaning carry little weight at the OLRB? Hopefully, that is not the case. Hopefully a Board hearing is nothing like parliament.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Student press conference (video) leads to settlement with researcher summarily fired by UofO

M.-Z. Dang, J. Hickey, S. Kelly vs. University of Ottawa

The above is from the August 2009 media reports. The newly released video is embedded below.

In late 2008 and early 2009 University of Ottawa researcher Dr. Mei-Zhen Dang was summarily fired and graduate students were threatened with loss of their Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) scholarships in preparation for the Allan Rock administration’s March 2009 political firing of their supervisor tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt.

The video of their successful February 24, 2009, press conference in Tabaret Hall (U of O main administration building) has recently been released on YouTube (embedded below).

Dr. Mei-Zhen Dang, a long-time (more than 12 years) research associate and environmental analysis expert in Rancourt’s physics laboratory was summarily fired. She was locked out of both the laboratory and her office overnight and her pay was arbitrarily stopped by the dean of the Faculty of Science André E. Lalonde without any notification or explanation.

The joint lawsuit led to a significant cash settlement for Dang and a letter of apology from the university.

Meanwhile the hired university corporate lawyer (Lynn Harnden of the Emond Harnden firm) informed physics graduate student claimants Joseph Hickey and Sean Kelly that if the University of Ottawa won its jurisdictional motion to strike the action, the students would be made liable for the university’s legal fees.

The students dropped their participation in the lawsuit and Hickey pursued an internal (Policy 110) complaint supported by the graduate student association (GSAED) which the University of Ottawa via VP-Governance Diane Davidson has refused to hear to this day.

The media reported the late August 2009 Dang settlement victory and the alleged bullying of the students in some detail at the time:

Here is the newly released two-part YouTube video of the February 24, 2009 press conference:


Monday, November 15, 2010

Allan Rock poster boy for most ruthless treatment of students

The Student Appeals Centre (SAC) of the student union (Student Federation University of Ottawa, SFUO) has launched its first annual "Iron Fist Award" for the most ruthless administrator in treating students.

Guess who the poster boy is for this notorious award?

Yup, Allan Rock. Not a difficult choice given the man's on-campus history, HERE, and given his administration's treatment of U of O students reported every year by the SAC, HERE.

The initiation of the Iron Fist Award and Allan Rock's response to the official SAC poster (above) are reported in the student newspaper LINK:
"University of Ottawa President Allan Rock had no comments on the posters, explaining that it was freedom of expression and that he was not concerned about the images of his face being used in the campaign."
It is heartening to note that Mr. Rock is learning about freedom of expression following his past banning of a student poster, his strong-arming of a former SFUO president to adopt a recommended political view, and the fiasco that he engineered around the Ann Coulter affair.

[Pre-edited original photo by Kate Waddingham, The Fulcrum]

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rock squeezing democracy out of university Senate

The University of Ottawa has always and explicitly used the Code Morin rules of procedure in all its governing body and committee deliberations.

Allan Rock chairs the university Senate and was asked at the September 13, 2010, senate meeting by student senate member Martin Schoots-McAlpine what the rules of procedure were. Rock answered that there were no written rules and that it was based on practice or tradition.

This amounts to saying "what we do is the rule".

At the following Senate meeting, Rock was absent and the meeting was chaired by VP-Academic Francois Houle (of Ann Coulter fame). Houle explained to student senator Joseph Hickey that now the Chair (himself) had to resort to the Code Morin in order to stop Hickey from discussing the administration's agenda of the moment... (to reward its friends with honorary degrees without needing Senate approval).

Hickey reported this stunning logic of on/off rules in a letter to the student newspaper HERE.

These remarkable developments can also be followed on Joseph Hickey's new blog about his university Senate experiences:

And all Senate meetings are now filmed and posted by the university, thanks to student activism for transparency and accountability: LINK.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Allan Rock gives honorary degree to shady Canadian diplomat

The University of Ottawa gave an honorary degree last week to Robert Fowler Ban Ki Moon's secret UN envoy to Niger who was kidnapped 2 years ago while visiting a Canadian Uranium mine in Niger.

Fowler was eventually released but he and his fellow kidnap victim have refused to explain what they were doing at the Canadian owned mine and what on earth their visit had to do with peace talks between the Niger government and rebels who operate in a different part of the country which they were supposedly involved in but nobody at the UN knew about.

The university press release is HERE: Cover up, inside knowledge or incompetent blindness?

Allan Rock had expressed personal concern via his "Rock Talk" blog (LINK) but the president's analysis appears to have been somewhat deficient?

Here are relevant media reports:





The Rock administration seems intent on destroying the institution's centennial reputation for many coming decades.

In a related matter: Just last week the U of O admin rammed through a resolution at university senate, above the protests of student senate members, to take honourary degree decisions away from senate and into the hands of the university executive committee. A sign of more to come?

UPDATE (Feb.7-2011):
Fowler is keynote participant in a disturbing anti-democracy show: HERE.

UPDATE (Feb.8-2011):
Wikileaks disclosure of covert ransom deal: HERE, HERE.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

uOttawa - A top 25 employer in the national capital region

as the banner says...

Yup... define "top" in relation to "police"...

Who gives out that prize?

Can we see the list of criteria used in this rigorous determination?

How was the data collected?

The press release did not give many details?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Allan Rock, nation builder, hides behind his staff - again

A simple matter of law for the former Minister of Justice…

Media across the country reported on the University of Ottawa’s tortuous efforts to keep its emails about former professor Denis Rancourt from former professor Denis Rancourt, in the face of an access to information (ATI) law request, followed by an ATI appeal.


The dean of the Faculty of Science first claimed that there were no records because he had acted alone but then records were mysteriously found (including several to and from the dean) after the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) Mediator asked for sworn affidavits…

A detailed report is HERE.

The IPC ruled (IPC Order PO-2915) that it could not order the university to release the emails because of a legal loop hole in Ontario’s ATI law. And the Adjudicator stated that he agreed that Rancourt should be granted access to his own personal information.
The IPC also then explained by letter to Rancourt that the loop hole anomaly (section 65(6) of the Act) was contrary to “world-wide trends favouring fair information practices”, that the IPC publicly opposed this loop hole, and that nothing about 65(6) prevented the head of the target institution (that would be Allan Rock) from releasing the documents in good faith.
Therefore, Rancourt, armed with this IPC’s endorsement, made a reasoned appeal to Allan Rock to not use 65(6) as an excuse to deny fair access: HERE.

Rancourt assumed that Allan Rock, given Mr. Rock’s Minister of Justice and United Nations credentials, would uphold democratic principles rather than choose a device intended to block fair information practice.

After more than two weeks Allan Rock did not respond or even acknowledge Rancourt’s communication as asked. He only responded after Rancourt sent Rock another letter (HERE) indicating that Rancourt was prepared to immediately take the matter (and other matters) to an independent labour body, the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

This got Mr. Rock’s attention and his staff (Mr. Jean-Yves Leduc) responded within the 24 hours suggested by Rancourt: HERE.

The answer is a resounding:
“No, I will hide behind my staff and behind 65(6).”
And another reply says (translated from obfuscate-ish):
“and I will not process your labour law grievances about these ATI emails, about our alleged campaign of covert surveillance against you, and about our alleged interference against a graduate student candidate wanting to work under your supervision.”
Clearly Mr. Rock is a nation builder.