Frank Appleyard and Allan Rock
In the months leading to the University’s political dismissal of former physics professor Denis Rancourt on March 31, 2009, Frank Appleyard was editor of The Fulcrum and he produced an exceedingly negative and contrived editorial report (using student commentary) about Rancourt. This “editorial” was used inappropriately by the University as one of only two negative media pieces linked to one of its press releases about Rancourt (only several weeks later did the University add four more links to media items to its press release originally posted on February 6, 2009).
Following this unethical action by the University, Frank Appleyard had the following email exchange on the matter with a third party in February 2009:
- THIRD PARTY: I just wanted to make sure that you saw the U of O Statement on Rancourt linking to the Fulcrum: [link]. The admin is giving you a big high five!
- APPLEYARD: Yeah, I saw that yesterday. I love the fact that my column's presence is incredibly out of context in that piece. I have my own opinions about Rancourt and his struggles, but Im a little disappointed the admin would try to pass off my column as something akin to news coverage of him. Anyway. Unfortunate...
- THIRD PARTY: Yeah, unfortunate for sure. And it's also quite a scandal (and irresponsible, and libelous) that the U of O would include your piece in the way they did. Have you considered writing about this? I think its essential and respect that we all have different views on Rancourt. I predict most will agree; the U of O pulling a stunt like this in reaction to a Globe and Mail article is shameful.
- APPLEYARD: I contemplated writing about it, but at the end of the day newspapers aren't supposed to write about themselves or the people involved with them. It's kind of a convention among papers, as it comes off looking self-serving and biased. So, I don't think we'll write about it. I would encourage you to tell La Rotonde about it though. I think students should know what they did. But, I am displeased and I'm planning to send a letter to media relations about it. Also, have you seen the New York Times article about Rancourt?
- THIRD PARTY: [link to Globe and Mail article] I continue to think that you need to write about how the administration has used your piece. This would not be self serving - it is simply campus news. The Fulcrum is a part of campus - you are obviously an important player. Use that power efficiently.
The Fulcrum editorial also gave Frank Appleyard special status as representing “the other side” as a rare campus member who agreed to speak negatively on the matter: He was interviewed on national radio (CBC’s The Current) to present a critical view of Rancourt (during his term as Fulcrum Editor). All these events occurred in the winter 2009 semester.
The recent FPS-Ombudsman’s interim report (LINK) and subsequent email revelations from Frank Appleyard (LINK, end of file) established that following the winter 2009 semester Frank Appleyard was hired to work in the office of University President Allan Rock for the summer of 2009 while he retained the position of Business Manager of The Fulcrum. The latter is a violation of the FPS Constitution.
Mr. Appleyard does not see a problem with this and feels that he was hired on the basis of “merit”, not as a reward for his “editorial support.”
Surely Allan Rock on the other hand, as a former member of the same Liberal Party of Canada that succumbed to the sponsorship scandal, must recognize that to have hired a student editor under these circumstances can only hurt the public image and reputation of the academic institution that he is charged to protect and guide following the highest principles of ethics and professional conduct?
What was Mr. Rock thinking?
[Note: This is an extract from a recently posted First Supplementary Report about UofOgate.]
Canadians for Accountability publish report on UofOgate
All the background and recent reports on UofOgate
UofOWatch posts about the cover up