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, January 29, 2010

UofOgate: New VP-Governance Diane Davidson and President Allan Rock join in the cover up

A detailed public report shows that the University of Ottawa practiced extensive covert surveillance against one of its professors and several students between 2006 and 2008 [LINK-Post about Report].

The U of O also mounted a cover up which has been strengthened and extended under the Rock administration [LINK-Report] [LINK-Formal request for investigation]. See media reports HERE.

It is a cover up when an institution or organization, over a period of several years:
  1. never acknowledges any of many direct questions and formal queries about the alleged wrongdoing,
  2. continuously refuses to answer any of many questions about the alleged wrongdoing, even when required to do so by the established administrative procedures, rules, and regulations (here the Collective Agreement),
  3. repeatedly refuses to investigate the alleged wrongdoing, despite several informal and formal requests to investigate and despite established administrative procedures, rules, and regulations to do so (here Policy 92),
  4. refuses to accept as “arbitrable” a formal grievance (labour lawsuit) against the alleged wrongdoing and in the face of a union asking that the established grievance procedure be respected (Collective Agreement),
  5. refuses to provide any and all documents about the alleged wrongdoing even when required to do so by access to information law,
  6. arranges to delete or remove a sensitive and incriminating voice recording about the alleged wrongdoing,
  7. contrives elaborate excuses for rapidly disappearing electronic records of all staff who leave the institution or organization so as not to be vulnerable to access to information requests,
  8. contrives elaborate narratives to guard the electronic records of contract staff using the organization’s computers from access to information searches, and
  9. uses contrived narratives in its legal representations to the access to information enforcement agency (Information and Privacy Commissioner) in order to continue denying access to all records about the alleged wrongdoing.

The University of Ottawa has done and continues to do all of the above.

The persons involved in the cover up have included:
  • André E. Lalonde, Dean of the Faculty of Science
  • Louise Pagé-Valin, former Director of Human Resources
  • Robert Major, former VP-Academic
  • Pamela Harrod, former Secretary of the University and former FIPPA Coordinator
  • Nathalie Des Rosiers, former acting VP-Governance and director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)
  • Michelle Flaherty, former Legal Counsel and vice-Chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)
In addition, President Allan Rock was in cc to formal requests for investigation and one would expect him to have been fully briefed about the matter.

Recently (see full email string below), science graduate student Wayne Sawtell (a victim of the University’s covert surveillance while an undergraduate) put the matter squarely to Rock and asked for a full investigation. The new VP-Governance Diane Davidson answered for Rock – the usual “no comment”.

This puts Rock and Davidson squarely in the camp of the perpetrators of the cover up.

Will public pressure eventually solve this problem? You would think that the University officials involved would want an independent investigation (including the filed labour law grievance) to clear their names of any wrongdoing and to defend academic freedom in Canada?

[Editor's emphasis in bold]

From: Wayne Sawtell <>
Date: 28 January 2010 21:24
Subject: Re: FW: response requested
To: "Vice-rectrice à la gouvernance - Vice-President, Governance"

That doesn't give me any reassurance the U of O adminstration isn't still spying on me. I will have graduated by the time this case makes its way through the legal channels. Meanwhile, I have to live with the Rock administration operating in a manner consistent with a corporate security state instead of fostering the kind of independent thinking that breeds true success in life.

Wayne Sawtell

On 27 January 2010 09:25, Vice-rectrice à la gouvernance - Vice-President, Governance wrote:

Dear Mr. Sawtell:

Your e-mail of January 22, 2010 to the President has been forwarded to me for reply.

The matters you raise are subject to ongoing proceedings. Unfortunately, the University cannot comment at this time.

Diane Davidson
Vice-rectrice à la gouvernance / Vice-President, Governance
Pavillon Tabaret
550 Cumberland (208B)
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5
Tel: 613-562-5950
Fax: 613-562-5178
Email: vr.gouvernance@uottawa.ca / vp.governance@uottawa.ca

From: Wayne Sawtell [mailto:]
Sent: Friday January 22, 2010 10:37 PM
To: Allan Rock
Subject: response requested

Dear Mr. Rock,

Still awaiting a response, I am writing to remind you of the letter I sent January 6th of this year, bringing to your attention the compelling evidence that the previous administration conducted covert surveillance of a professor and student activists by hiring student Maureen Robinson to spy on them. I am sure that you deplore this kind of repressive behaviour as much as I do and will want to distance your administration from those kinds of practices. A quick and unambiguous denunciation of covert surveillance and suppression of activism would provide a fresh break from the blight these allegations have brought upon the University of Ottawa and help restore some of the damage done to its reputation. However, the international university community will not be fully satisfied until a full, independent investigation is conducted into the affair. Now is your opportunity, Mr. Rock. Do not miss it.

Sincerely yours,

Wayne Sawtell
M.Sc. candidate in Biology (xxxxxxx)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Wayne Sawtell <>
Date: Wed, Jan 6, 2010 at 10:21 AM
Subject: Covert surveillance at Ottawa U
To: allan.rock@uottawa.ca
Cc: Denis Rancourt <>, editor@thefulcrum.ca, Sean Kelly , Fulcrum News Editor , info@gsaed.ca, university@gsaed.ca

Dear Mr. Rock,

Thank you for your Dec. 4 response to my letter of Nov. 16. I appreciate the fact that you are not at liberty to comment on the substance of issues surrounding the dismissal of Denis Rancourt because of the legal implications.

I would however respectfully challenge the notion that all the required procedures were followed in this case. I should say, there was a demonstrable lack of good faith on the part of the administration, and some very dubious procedures were followed by the administration that contravene the university’s constitution and violate the collective agreement with APUO. Specifically, I am personally alarmed by the recent evidence from the university’s files (http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/background/reportoncovertsurveillance.html) that has come to light showing that the administration conducted covert surveillance of Professor Rancourt and activist groups on campus. There is concrete evidence that the administration engaged a student of Ottawa University to spy on Professor Rancourt and certain student activist groups and to report on her findings to the administration. Science student and then-Fulcrum news editor Maureen Robinson was used by the administration to impersonate someone else and tape record meetings, for example. I like to think that I live in a democratic country where one does not have to worry about the authorities at any level spying on people, that surveillance cameras are used for people’s protection and not to track the activities of people who disagree with corporate control over public institutions like universities. Such actions directly contradict previous statements by the administration that support student activism and even activism courses in certain faculties of the university.

I call on you as President of the university to publicly denounce such tactics and to initiate a full, independent investigation into the actions taken by the previous administration in the years leading up to the decision to dismiss Professor Rancourt. I believe it is also important and of interest to students to make the results of this investigation public.

Yours truly,

Wayne Sawtell
M.Sc. candidate in Biology, xxxxxxx

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Office of the President
Date: 2009/12/3
Subject: RE: appeal of dismissal
To: Wayne Sawtell

Dear Mr. Sawtell,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me with your concerns regarding the dismissal of Professor Denis Rancourt from the University of Ottawa.

While I appreciate the perspective from which you have positioned your arguments, please be assured that the Executive Committee gave careful consideration to Mr. Rancourt’s dossier before recommending dismissal with cause to the Board of Governors. Moreover, all procedures required by the collective agreement with the Association des Professeurs de l'Université d'Ottawa (APUO) were followed.

To respect confidentiality and legal obligations surrounding this matter, I cannot comment further. However, I continue to stand by the dismissal recommendation made previously this year.

Thank you once again for your interest and understanding.

Kind regards,

Allan Rock
President and Vice-Chancellor

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Wayne Sawtell <>
Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 10:36 PM
Subject: appeal of dismissal
To: allan.rock@uottawa.ca
Cc: Denis Rancourt <>

Dear President Rock,

As a an alumnus and a current graduate student in the Science Faculty at the University of Ottawa, I am writing to ask you to reconsider a major decision that you made this summer: the dismissal of Professor Denis Rancourt of the Physics Department. Dr. Rancourt made unique and valuable contributions to the university not only through teaching Physics for 20 years and performing productive, high-level research, but also through a weekly campus radio show, ‘The Train’, and a weekly documentary film series, ‘Cinema Academica’, both of which are about social and political issues of concern to everyone.

Despite mixed feelings amongst the student body and teaching faculty about the issues championed by Professor Rancourt, I believe that looking at the record from a different perspective would actually strengthen the university. I agree with Dr. Rancourt’s position that criticism of institutional behaviour is healthy and constructive even though it may sound harsh, and there is a striking lack of institutional analysis both at Canadian universities and in society in general. It seems to me that many people in the university administration and teaching staff possibly took too personally comments that Dr. Rancourt made over the past few years for the sake of enhancing learning within the university and for the sake of justice in our broader society. Therefore, the advice that you were given by others in the administration was most likely very biased.

Several initiatives that Dr. Rancourt undertook during his tenure at the University of Ottawa aimed to generate more independent thinking and activism amongst the student body. The pedagogical literature is overwhelming in pointing out that unequal power relations within the classroom pose a sever impediment to learning and critical thinking. The several courses that Professor Rancourt established, all of which were a variation on the theme of activism in work and study, were of enormous importance. As an undergraduate, I witnessed firsthand how the Science in Society course attempted to redefine the classroom setting and to set aside proven ineffective traditional teaching methods in favour of an approach led by the students themselves. SCI1101 broadened my view of the role of science and the scientific method and made me think about the impact that my work as a scientist might have in the future on power relationships among groups in Canada and abroad.

Unfortunately, before the novel approach of SCI1101 had a chance to take hold and have an effect across the entire university, the course was cancelled by the previous administration even before the two-year pilot project was completed. The course was never given a chance to be offered in French after the first year in English. This was extremely unfair to the large Francophone population of students, whom I feel form a crucial part of the university and Canadian society in general.

I also enjoyed the weekly film series, Cinema Academica that Dr. Rancourt started. I attended most weeks and participated in the discussions after the films, which were always more animated and lengthy than any discussion I have witnessed in any lecture course at the university. Furthermore, I developed an appreciation for the unique perspectives brought to the discussions by general members of the community. I feel that I derived a benefit that was more connected to wider Canadian society and that was unavailable in traditional courses at the university. This was important to me because in my program concentration there is no possibility of co-op work terms and I had therefore been lacking a connection with the wider community that teaches students how their studies are related to real-world issues.

The manner in which Professor Rancourt was dismissed also does not sit well with many people in the University of Ottawa community because a spirit of fairness and equity was not followed. Professor Rancourt filed no fewer than 24 formal grievances against the administration for a variety of unfounded actions taken against him. Fewer than one third of these many grievances have been resolved, languishing in the system for an unreasonable amount of time (some since 2007). As a lawyer, Mr. Rock, you are surely aware that the speed at which a process of justice is carried out is a crucial element of justice itself. Furthermore, the larger issue of academic freedom, which Dr. Rancourt has championed tirelessly, is still being investigated by an impartial body of three external professors who will be reporting on whether Dr. Rancourt’s academic freedom was indeed violated by the previous administration. Professor Rancourt was claiming the right of a professor to grade students in the best manner he saw fit. The university has dismissed him for his actions based on this claim, flying in the face of pedagogical research that has discredited the effectiveness of the grading system as a means of teaching students. Therefore, the dismissal of Professor Rancourt before the submission by an independent body of a report on whether his academic freedom as a professor was violated is an act that lacks legitimacy.

The Board of Governors of the university acts on the recommendations that you, Mr. Rock, as President, put on the table. By taking into account the above-mentioned processes of arbitration surrounding Dr. Rancourt’s case as well as the totality of his contributions to the university, I urge you to consider recommending to the Board the re-instatement of Denis Rancourt as a full professor of the university.

I optimistically await your reply at your earliest convenience.


Wayne Sawtell
M.Sc. candidate in Biology


[Photo credits: University of Ottawa; Diane Davidson, Allan Rock]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

At U of O there is no free expression – Current cost: $1,038.19 per slogan

Will the Rock administration stop its ridiculous charade?

Or, will it continue to burden the police and the legal system with campus politics? (LINK)

This is the story of a physics graduate student criminally charged by the Rock administration for allegedly messaging an empty cement display backing wall…

This is the story of aggressive corporate protectionism of the visual campus environment against student free expression and spontaneous messaging…


The outdoor walkway between the University Center and the Morisset Library is a perfect controlled environment for targeted visual messaging, with high student traffic in proximity to large poster boards.

The U of O Corporation recognized this early on and installed large cement lighted display cases for its propaganda. This is what it looked like in 2006:

Avatar eat your heart out.

The U of O administration extensively uses the services of marketing and branding “experts.” It appreciates the “practical advantages” of creating the mental environment versus actually enabling personal exploration and development.

In this spirit of social engineering, in the true spirit of control, the university administration has been very protective of the cement display case backing walls that temporarily free up between installations of corporate posters.

This has not stopped some creative (and bilingual) culture jamming:

Oh oui…

Good one…

Time to take this one down:

And this is what a liberated backing wall looks like:

Some serious damage huh? Just think where this could lead. Let this go and soon you have TOTAL CHAOS and murder in the streets… It could spark independent thinking!

It will survive only long enough for the next corporate poster to be put up over it. If allowed to live its natural life...

Recently, the Rock administration of Canada’s university has gone as far as to characterize these ephemeral student messages on the cement backing walls as "damage to property" and has had one of its own students arrested and criminally charged.

At an organized student event designed to liberate the backing walls and encourage their use by students, the campus police decided to covertly gather “evidence” rather than intervene to stop the much feared “damage to property”. In a coordinated operation, more than five campus police agents gathered “evidence” rather than simply intervene in the name of protecting property. (The U of O loooves covert surveillance: LINK.)

The Rock administration then laid criminal charges and a blanket trespass notice against scholarship graduate physics student Joseph Hickey. The trespass notice was short lived because the administration was forced to back down given firm protests from the graduate student association (GSAED) and from the union of teacher assistants (CUPE-2626). (media LINK-1, media LINK-2, media LINK-3)

But now Mr. Hickey has been told by the Crown Prosecutor (who surely has other more important matters to attend to?) that the damage for which he is alleged to be responsible is valued at $1038.19, the cost of a recent cement backing wall cleanup operation.


Will the Rock administration stop its ridiculous charade?

And stop spending tuition money on controlling the message?

Judging from a developing pattern, expect Mr. Rock to answer from the short end of more criminal charges and more cops on campus and more Liberal speakers for a better Canada... Unless February 3rd Chalking Day makes a mark?

Monday, January 25, 2010

uOttawa Chalking Day 2010 - February 3rd 1pm


The event is scheduled for February 3, 2010, 1pm, at the display walls, south outside walls of the Morisset Library. CHALK WILL BE PROVIDED.

The Rock administration has been very protective of the cement display backing walls that it reserves for its corporate propaganda posters. It has gone as far as characterizing student messages on these backing walls as "damage to property" and has had its own students arrested and criminally charged.

The Rock administration is also developing a "donor recognition policy" so that corporate buddies can put their names on the walls for money but don't you try that with some spontaneous free expression...

Free expression under Rock is a dangerous thing.

Beware potential joy chalkers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

U of O's President Allan Rock goes berzerk against student Marc Kelly - Video

The Rock administration at the University of Ottawa has applied its "final solution" against star mathematics student Marc Kelly.

This is the first video evidence of the consequences of Rock's determination to eliminate Marc Kelly from campus. The university unilaterally barred the ace student from registering for required courses in his study program and trespassed him from campus.

Here is what it looks like when three campus police goons come to get Marc Kelly in the graduate student association pub in order to expel him from campus:

I guess it was not part of their training that under the Ontario Trespass to Property Act the graduate student association is the legal occupier of its pub that it rents from University of Ottawa Inc? And, therefore, that the student has right of passage? Immobilize student and crush student head appears to have figured prominently in the training however.

The sound track is from a separate event when Marc Kelly went to try to meet President Allan Rock (who has an "open door policy"), after many frustrating months of trying to get his discrimination and harassment complaint recognized at any level of the academic administration.

[What you can do: Write to President Allan Rock and tell him to stop his mistreatment of Marc Kelly: president[at]uottawa.ca. Put the media in cc: chuotrain[at]gmail.com.]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Final solution applied to student Marc Kelly at the University of Ottawa – Neanderthal practice

In our liberal democracies university administrations do not shoot students. They may contrive false criminal charges and encourage police to arrest students [LINK]. They may arbitrarily apply trespass law to bar registered students from their studies and from Xmas parties [LINK, LINK]. And campus police wear bullet proof vests and bash students around. But at Canada’s university the administration does not shoot students.

The worst university administrations can do to “undesired elements” of the student body is what was done at York University in the case of Dan Freeman-Maloy: Unilateral deregistration from the student’s study program combined with an enforced physical ban from campus.

In the case of Freeman-Maloy this led to a legal precedent in the Supreme Court of Canada in which a university president can be sued for malfeasance in public office, and it led to a settlement victory for the student [LINK].

Now the Rock administration at the University of Ottawa has applied this final solution to scholarship mathematics student Marc Kelly. No specific reasons were given.

The administration’s death sentence was delivered by president Rock’s new hand-picked VP-Governance Diane Davidson [see letter HERE].

The administration’s action was vigorously opposed by the student federation’s Student Appeals Centre (SAC) but this protest stirred no visible emotion in the administration’s executive officer for governance [see exchange HERE].

In the latest development, the SAC is supporting an official appeal to the university’s Senate Appeals Committee [see appeal letter HERE].

Will the Rock administration come to its senses and stop attacking students in futile efforts to curb creative political expression?

Why not celebrate and protect student activists instead?

Why not encourage criticism and an open campus atmosphere rather than be this Neanderthal about unconventional student political participation?

The Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are examples of evolution. Why not evolve Mr. Rock? Let us move away from final solutions.

[Editor's note: No, that is not a photo of Marc Kelly, Allan Rock, or Diane Davidson!]

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

U of O admin spies on prof and students using hired student journalist; false Facebook identity; covert voice recordings; extensive cover up

Two union grievances (teacher assistants and professors) have been filed against the University of Ottawa for extensive covert surveillance practiced between 2006 and 2008.

The violations of civil and academic workplace rights were exposed through several access to information law requests and appeals to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

A detailed report and supporting evidence were made public HERE by former physics professor Denis Rancourt who was fired in March 2009.

The covert surveillance campaign is unprecedented on a Canadian campus. Undergraduate student and student journalist Maureen Robinson was hired as an “agent of University Legal Counsel” and took on a false Facebook identity to infiltrate student groups, especially ones supportive of Rancourt’s activism course.

Former University Legal Counsel Michelle Flaherty abruptly left the University at approximately the time when a covert voice recording went missing from the access to information record. Flaherty is now a Vice Chair (judge) with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Several high executive officers of the university were also involved; in recruiting the student spy and in receiving and using the covertly collected information.

Rancourt’s talks about anarchism in pedagogical development were covertly recorded at conferences on other campuses (Kingston and Quebec City) and the recordings were exchanged among university high officials.

The University’s actions were violations of legally-defined academic freedom, the labour law collective agreements with two unions, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and accepted professional norms for journalists.

The University also enacted an extensive cover up and has steadfastly ignored requests to investigate, including several requests which predated Rancourt’s dismissal.

These findings are in stark contrast to President Allan Rock’s repeated statements that all due procedures were followed in Rancourt’s dismissal. Rancourt has consistently stated that his dismissal was politically motivated.

[Photos: Who's who?]

Monday, January 11, 2010

U of O Branding War Spills onto YouTube

The Allan Rock administration's new corporate video (actually called that in the University's own Gazette Magazine) has frightened many students and community members.

One emotional response of self-defence was for students to attempt to message the temporarily empty poster installations on the outside South wall of the Morisset Library. In response, the bare cement posting frames were aggressively guarded against student expression using campus police, surveillance cameras, Ottawa Police arrests, and arbitrary applications of the Trespass to Property Act against registered students. Quite a show of maturity.

Now the students are fighting fire with fire and appear to have launched a branding self-defence campaign on YouTube. Can they compete with the University of Ottawa's publicly funded multi-million dollar branding propaganda? Will truth trump pomp? You be the judge.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Good day Sir

Former University of Ottawa physics student Jesse Hall was recently moved to write this (below) opinion entitled “Dismissal of Denis Rancourt”.

He sent it to Professor Claude Lamontagne, Chairman of the Committee for the Defence of Education (CDE) - the defence committee for former physics professor Denis Rancourt.

A possible catalyst is THIS JAN-3RD POST at Activist Teacher about self-image: “‘Thou shall not kill’ but you can pay taxes to a government whose main expenditure is geopolitical war of aggression. This contradiction is nothing that a glib self-justification cannot fix…”

Jesse Hall is depicted in this photo from the internet, having photo caption:

— Door-gunner CORPORAL Jesse Hall of the Governor General’s Foot Guards in Ottawa, Ontario, with CH-146 Griffon number 414.
— credit/source: Capt Dean Menard, JTF-Afg Air Wing

The arguments and assumptions presented by Mr. Hall are virtually identical to those presented by the Allan Rock administration of the University of Ottawa in the dismissal of Rancourt (see documents and links HERE). Both Hall and the Rock administration also benefited from the same degree of background knowledge: Neither has ever attended a class given by Rancourt, although the University did have the benefit of extensive covert surveillance (see HERE) – a kind of “military intelligence” if you like.

From: Jesse Hall <>
Date: Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 8:09 PM
Subject: Dismissal of Denis Rancourt
To: claude.cde [at] gmail.com

Good day Sir,

I am writing to you concerning the case of Dr. Denis Rancourt, dismissed from the University of Ottawa department of physics. I was an undergraduate physics student at the University of Ottawa during many of the events that are at issue, and I would like to express my views on this subject.

Dr Rancourt has not only betrayed the trust of a respected academic institution, but directly attacked the students that were put in his charge. The straight A+ grades that he awarded to his students were not his to give out; they belonged to the university, which sets the criteria for the awarding of grades and delegates experts the authority to evaluate whether those criteria have been met. Dr Rancourt conducted no evaluation, and the university is well within its rights to tell him that he failed to conduct the work it expects of him. It is not telling him that his teaching method is wrong, merely that it cannot be used towards a degree that the university will put its official seal on. If the University of Ottawa is going to put its name and reputation behind its graduates, it has a responsibility to ensure that those graduates are in fact qualified.

The failure to assign grades according to effort and achievement harms students in a number of ways. First, and probably most importantly, it fails to prepare them for life outside the world of academia, in which performance does in deed matter. The lessons learned at university often extend beyond the material taught in classes, and the inculcation of hard work, discipline, and taking personal responsibility for ones performance (good or bad) are a vital preparation for the working world. Second, it does a disservice to those students that actually do the required work, as the students that do not also get the same grade (that is, the same reward). Third, it erodes the value of the degrees that these students will eventually obtain (that presumably have been obtained by now).

Dr Rancourt is not an expert in teaching methods, psychology, or any of the myriad topics that he attempted to teach in his ridiculous 'activism' course. He has conducted no research into the best method of teaching. He is certainly not qualified to tell every professor at a prestigious university that he knows better than they do how to teach. Nobody is impinging his freedom to express his views, but he has no authority to implement untried teaching techniques without any reference to higher authority. He should be free to pursue his theories on education if he so chooses, but if he refuses to do what he is employed to do then he ought to have his employment terminated. He was rightly fired for failing to do his job, as anybody else would be in any other profession.

The "Science and Society" course that he attempted to teach became, unfortunately, a platform for himself and like-minded people to express their views with the authority of a professorship behind them, without actually knowing what he was talking about. The conversations that I had with Dr. Rancourt included the ridiculous statement that the use of depleted uranium munitions during the first Gulf war was a war crime. Dr. Rancourt is in no position to determine whether this is true, as he is not an expert on international or military law (it is not true, incidentally). Yet when he says this in front of a class, it becomes the word of a professor, and one that controls one's grades and can penalize a student for disagreeing. He also expressed the opinion to me that soldiers ought to be ashamed of themselves, though in fairness he was unaware that I was a serving member of the Canadian Forces reserves at the time. His policy of teaching dogma and what I would characterize as propaganda as fact and mainstream academic opinion (I believe he honestly thinks he is merely encouraging students to think, but I seriously doubt that this was the outcome of any of his lectures) may be defensible for a person with a professional academic background in the subject that they are teaching, but his opinion matters no more than that of any student in his class and using the authority of the university delegated to him to give it more weight is indefensible, and certainly does not fall under academic freedom.

As a disclaimer, as I have gained the impression from reading his blog that he is shockingly paranoid and determined to paint the University administration as a bogeyman by any means necessary, I graduated in 2007 and I am no longer affiliated with the University of Ottawa in any way. I have no vested interest in this aside from the value of my degree, which he seems so determined to attack. I did not take any course with him, my conversations with him occured when he approached me in the hallway when he saw me reading the preposterous propaganda that he had posted on the noticeboards or walls in the physics department. I am writing because I am personally affronted by the disgusting arrogance that Dr Rancourt displayed and continues to display, and I find the concept of defending one's right to foist one's own fringe views on impressionable students using the delegated authority of a respected institution as 'academic freedom' odious.

If you are interested in the opinions of former students that support Dr Rancourt, I hope you will take the time to consider a sincere statement of support for the university. Thank you, sir, for your time and kind attention to this message. I wish you all the best,

Jesse Hall
B.Sc. Hon (Physics), University of Ottawa, 2007

Are Physicists Smart?
Rock Administration and Project Hero
Denis Rancourt statement on his dismissal

Thursday, January 7, 2010

U of O Rock Administration has Competition in UK

When it comes to using the police and the courts to suppress academic freedom the Allan Rock administration at the University of Ottawa is a leader.

It strives to make U of O “Canada’s university”:
EXAMPLE-1, EXAMPLE-2, EXAMPLE-3 (go to Jan-23-2009 video), …

Here (below) is evidence from across the pond of some stiff competition. The Gee-Geez are going to have to keep it up.

Thu, January 7, 2010
Lecturer 'intended to harass' V-C, court finds

An academic is wanted by police after being found guilty of harassing the vice-chancellor of Kingston University.

Howard Fredrics, who worked at the university as senior lecturer of music between 2003 and 2006, was convicted at Kingston Magistrates' Court of harassing Sir Peter Scott via postings on a website, www.sirpeterscott.com.

Dr Fredrics was found guilty in his absence, having failed to appear for the hearing last month, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He will be sentenced later this month.

At the trial, Sir Peter said the site was "intended to embarrass and humiliate" him and that some of its material, such as an allegation that he was a friend of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, was inaccurate. He added that he had met Dr Fredrics only five times.

Finding Dr Fredrics guilty, Judith Jewell, chairman of the bench, said: "We believe the course of conduct he pursued in setting up this website was intended to harass Sir Peter Scott ... he ought to have known that such actions would amount to harassment."

Dr Fredrics has used the site to expose controversial practices at Kingston in recent years. In 2008, he posted a recording of lecturers pressurising students to inflate their National Student Survey responses.

Sir Peter complained to the World Intellectual Property Organisation that Dr Fredrics was infringing his right to the domain name www.sirpeterscott.com. In May 2009, it ruled that the vice-chancellor had no rights to the name.

In a statement issued after the trial, Dr Fredrics says the conviction had been handed down despite a "compelling police report that indicated there was no evidence that the site contained anything that could lead to such a charge".

The report, seen by Times Higher Education, says the "sites listed do not contain content that is consistent with any harassment".

A second charge against Dr Fredrics of threatening and abusive behaviour following an encounter with Sir Peter in Kingston last year was put on hold.

melanie.newman [at] tsleducation.com
[UofOWatch thanks Pierre-Joseph Proudhon for bringing this UK competition to its attention.]

[Photo: U of O President Allan Rock in Gee-Geez workout mode.]