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]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

U of O and student union settle grievance about covert surveillance

This is What Erosion of Civil Rights Looks Like

(Historians take note)

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has recently (see as-received press release below) collaborated with a major university in Canada to legitimize a university's covert surveillance and covert information gathering against students.


In a classic sophistry of compartmentalizing civil and employee rights (reflected in the popularly recognized oxymoron "department of justice"), CUPE Local 2626, with the help of its provincial representative and a major labour law firm, signed a ludicrous "memorandum of understanding" with the University of Ottawa whereby the university is explicitly allowed to spy on student employees in their student and political activities.

The original grievance had arisen from documentary proof obtained via access to information (ATI) that the university had covertly spied on students, both in activist groups and in student institutional politics.

This CUPE-uOttawa aberration violates:
  • The UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personel, with Canada has signed
  • The UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • The legally established principle of academic freedom in the university workplace
  • And established world-wide norms of civil rights in free and democratic societies
This appears to be an illustration of how eager the managements of some unions are to avoid confrontations with employers on broad systemic issues relating to the dignity and political dimension of the employee.

The students themselves are largely responsible for allowing the union to subvert their rights in this way but all of Canadian society suffers the consequences. The graduate students at the University of Ottawa condone the degradation of Canadian society by their inaction. They will inherit the society and professional environment that they deserve.



As-received press release from physics graduate student Joseph Hickey:

Ottawa, October 21, 2010.

U of O and student union settle grievance about covert surveillance

CUPE Local 2626 informed its members (memo attached) that it had arrived at a legal settlement with the University of Ottawa in a “Major Grievance” involving alleged covert surveillance by the university against several of its members.

Graduate student and University Senate member Joseph Hickey was directly involved and is concerned that the settlement appears to legitimize a reprehensible practice of covert surveillance of CUPE members in their student and political activities.

“The fact that collected information about my campus politics will not be allowed in my student employee file is of little comfort” said Hickey.

Hickey has obtained records via an independent access to information ongoing appeal with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario which show university officials denying his graduate school application (and, therefore, his employment) based on his “activist beliefs” and other personal information.

- 30 -

For more information please contact:
Joseph Hickey
University Senate member, University of Ottawa

For background in the matter and past media reports see:
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/background/reportoncovertsurveillance.html


---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Bonne nouvelle : Résolution récente d'un grief important / Good
news: Recent resolution of Major Grievance
From: "SCFP - CUPE 2626"
Date: Thu, 21 October, 2010 4:00 am
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[English follows below]

Cher membres du SCFP 2626:

Le SCFP 2626 est fier d'annoncer qu'il a récemment réglé un grief en cours depuis près d'un an lié à des mesures prises par l'Université d'Ottawa il y a deux ans contre certains membres du SCFP 2626 au moment où l'arbitrage allait commencer.

« Nous sommes très heureux de pouvoir régler ce grief avec l'aide de notre conseiller juridique de chez Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne et Yazbeck, LLP, a indiqué le président du Syndicat, Félix Grenier. Cette réalisation montre à nos membres que nous sommes prêts à aller jusqu'en arbitrage pour protéger leurs droits des travailleurs de notre association. »

En échange pour le règlement du grief par le Syndicat, l'Université a accepté dans un protocole d'entente, de ne pas recueillir de renseignements sur les membres du Syndicat dans leur rôle à titre de membre du Syndicat, et de ne jamais déposer, dans leur dossier d'employé, de renseignements recueillis sur les membres du SCFP dans leur rôle à titre d'étudiant ou d'activiste, ce qui constitue une importante victoire pour le Syndicat.

« De nombreux représentants syndicaux ont travaillé sur ce dossier et il s'agit d'un règlement raisonnable » a expliqué le représentant national du SCFP, Paul Boileau. Le Syndicat et l'Employeur peuvent maintenant rétablir une relation plus normale et améliorer la communication et la collaboration entre les deux parties. »

Si vous avez des questions sur le processus de grief ou sur les activités du SCFP 2626, n'hésitez pas à communiquer avec nous par courriel à l'adresse info@scfp2626.ca.

Félix Grenier
Président, SCFP 2626
Centre Universitaire, salle 303
Tél: 613-562-5345
info@scfp2626.ca
www.scfp2626.ca

****************************************************

Dear CUPE2626 member,

CUPE 2626 is proud to announce that it has recently resolved a long outstanding grievance, in regards to actions taken by the University of Ottawa two years ago against some CUPE 2626 members, just when arbitration was about to begin.

"We are very happy to settle this grievance with the assistance of our legal counsel from Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne and Yazbeck, LLP," President Felix Grenier said. "This shows our members that we are willing to go all the way to arbitration to protect their work-related rights."

In exchange for the Union closing the grievance, the University agreed in a memorandum of understanding that it did not gather or collect information on Union members in their roles as union members and would never place any information gathered or collected in CUPE members' roles as students or activists in their employee files, which is a significant victory for the Union.

"A number of union representatives worked on this file and it was a good settlement," CUPE national representative Paul Boileau said. “Now the union and Employer can return to a more normal relationship where there is better communication and co-operation between the two parties.

If you have any questions about the grievance process or CUPE 2626 activities, don't hesitate to contact us at info@cupe2626.ca.

Felix Grenier
President, CUPE 2626
University Centre, room 303
Tel: 613-562-5345
info@cupe2626.ca
www.cupe2626.ca

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ethically challenged Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, CCLA --- video

This is part of a new video series about individual examples of ethically challenged professionals. It is intended to expose ethically challenged high-ranking officials who participated in the administrative mobbing of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt. (Background HERE.)



This clip features ethically challenged Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel (head), Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

Nathalie Des Rosiers, as VP-Governance, University of Ottawa, enforced a punitive campus ban against tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt thereby having him arrested, handcuffed, and taken away to the Ottawa police station while he hosted his weekly Cinema Politica series on campus, as a tenured and full professor.

Extensive information and links to supporting documents and to media reports are provided HERE.

In explaining herself in writing, she replied to author Jeff Schmidt that it was her job to enforce orders. Her immediate superior was President Allan Rock. Her letter is HERE.

Nathalie Des Rosiers continues to hold the position as head of the CCLA. It is now her job to defend civil liberties in Canada.

Ethically challenged Michelle Flaherty, judge, HRTO --- video

This is part of a new video series about individual examples of ethically challenged professionals. It is intended to expose ethically challenged high-ranking officials who participated in the administrative mobbing of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt. (Background HERE.)



This clip features ethically challenged Michelle Flaherty, judge, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO).

As Legal Counsel at the University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Canada), Michelle Flaherty oversaw a broad and illegitimate covert information gathering campaign from 2006 to 2008 against Denis Rancourt and several students, in violation of the principle of academic freedom and of established labour rules in the academic environment.

The campaign also involved student journalist Maureen Robinson, dean of the Faculty of Science Andre E. Lalonde, VP-Academic Robert Major and others. The present Allan Rock administration continues to cover up the campaign.

Extensive information and links to media reports are provided HERE.

Michelle Flaherty then left the University of Ottawa to become a judge at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (Canada). She continues to occupy the latter position.

Friday, October 15, 2010

U of O's IPC cover up: Will Allan Rock do the right thing?

  • The University of Ottawa IPC cover up was explained HERE.
  • Chemist Alain St-Amant responded THIS WAY.
  • On October 14, 2010, Rancourt sued by filing a labour law grievance: HERE.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) has sided with Rancourt on the moral and legal basis for institution head Allan Rock to release all records: HERE.
IPC: "This approach to information about employees is not in keeping with world-wide trends favouring fair information practices..."

Will Allan Rock do the right thing?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

U of O's Alain St-Amant replies to report on IPC

.
QUESTION

From: Denis Rancourt
Sent: October 6, 2010 10:00 PM
To: Andre E. Lalonde (Dean, Science); Alain St-Amant
Subject: please provide any corrections

These reports are about you:
http://uofowatch.blogspot.com/2010/10/report-on-ipc-in-rancourt-case-dean.html
http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/background/reportonipcdeanliestocoverup.html

Please contact your former colleagues who are also named and provide any corrections or comments for posting.

Sincerely,
Denis Rancourt

ANSWER

From: Alain St-Amant
Date: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 8:09 AM
Subject: RE: please provide any corrections
To: Denis Rancourt

Hey Dennis,

I’ve gotta get a new picture of myself on the University website for you to use.....dropped 25 pounds over the summer!!! You have to promise to use it on your website once it goes up J

Totally stoked right now since I pulled off a Brady for Schaub+Moss trade in my fantasy league. I think Favre and Moss will be like two kids in the proverbial candy store and put up monster numbers. So I think you’ll agree I have too many things on my plate right now to take the time to comment on your article.

Take care, the place simply is not the same without you,

Professor/Professeur Alain St-Amant

Vice-Dean (Undergraduate Studies), Faculty of Science / Vice-doyen (Études de premier cycle), Faculté des Sciences
Professor, Department of Chemistry / Professeur, Département de chimie
University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa
(613) 562-5800 ext. 6003
Alain.St-Amant@uOttawa.ca

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Report on IPC in Rancourt case: Dean lied to cover up


INTRODUCTION - ONGOING RANCOURT CASE

The Denis Rancourt case at the University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Canada) is a major ongoing academic freedom case being presently investigated by a Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Independent Committee of Inquiry and expected to go before the courts as a significant labour dispute. [LINK]

The case has been covered by national and local media in both Canada and the US (New York Times -twice, Globe and Mail -twice, National Post, CBC radio The Current, TV Ontario). [LINK]


LATEST DEVELOPMENT - ACCESS TO INFORMATION RULING

On September 29, 2010, the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario issued a decision in a notable access to information (ATI) case involving Rancourt and Rancourt has written a report about the matter: HERE.

These machinations of the U of O administration are only the latest example of an event in the administrative mobbing of Rancourt described in the independent report by academic workplace expert Professor Kenneth Westhues: LINK.


CONCLUDING HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT

Rancourt's report is based on several original documents now made public. Concluding highlighs from the report are as follows.
"Beyond demonstrating that the Dean of the Faculty of Science is ethically challenged, this case shows that the Dean, the VP-Academic and Legal Counsel conspired to send a dubious letter questioning a dissident professor’s ‘physical and mental well-being’ based on no record other than communications between themselves and bosses at human resources."

"The IPC Order [2], together with the IPC Mediator’s Report of July 27, 2009 [3], the University’s revised ATI decision letter of August 27, 2008, with index of respondent records [4], and Lalonde’s signed affidavit of September 18, 2009 [5], shows that:

(1) Lalonde lied about the records during the formal IPC mediation step;

(2) Lalonde or his staff meticulously removed at least six records from his office computers and files; and

(3) Lalonde lied in affidavit [5] apparently to cover up his first lies about the records and his removal of records."

CONNECTION WITH ALAIN ST-AMANT

From Rancourt's report:
"The only grievance filed against a professor was a grievance filed by Rancourt against then Chairman of the Department of Chemistry Alain St-Amant for “harassment” and “derogatory and threatening behaviour” [6]. The latter grievance was filed on January 3, 2007 [6].

The only discipline in this matter would have been possible discipline of Alain St-Amant and the resulting order from the dean to St-Amant to stop his unacceptable behaviour [7].

Therefore, it appears that the University was using the problem of St-Amant’s behaviour as its pretext for sending its dubious letter of September 6, 2007, to Rancourt, without providing Rancourt with any indication to this effect."

CRITICISMS FOR THE IPC

Rancourt leveled several criticisms towards the IPC Adjudicator and the IPC herself. One example is a s follows:
"IPC Adjudicator Frank DeVries condoned the fact that Pamela Harrod simultaneously acted as: (1) University FIPPA/FOI Coordinator, (2) VP-Governance (then “University Secretary”) and immediate supervisor of University Legal Counsel Michelle Flaherty directly involved in the ATI matter, and (3) “Commissioner for Taking Affidavits, etc.” (sic), signing the [fraudulent] affidavit of Lalonde in particular."


[Photo credits: University of Ottawa (Lalonde, St-Amant), IPC (Ann Cavoukian) and public domain (Conrad Black).]

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Allan Rock's 5 easy steps to Senate transparency

STEP-1: ARREST STUDENT AT SENATE



If a student concerned about transparency comes to a public University Senate meeting (at publicly funded University of Ottawa) with a camera wanting to discuss Senate filming with senators, then call Ottawa Police and have him arrested on false criminal charges.

Note that one of the executives of the university corporation to directly intervene was VP-Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers, now General Counsel (head) of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). (See author's request for her resignation HERE.)

Here is a video of the December 1, 2008, arrest at University Senate:


STEP-2: REFUSE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY



Here, graduate student union (GSAED) representative Federico Carvajal asks President Allan Rock to include the question of police interventions in campus politics in his campus community consultations towards a better student experience...


STEP-3: EXPLAIN ANTI-TRANSPARENCY POLICY



Here, at the next meeting of Senate, Allan Rock (President AND Chair of the Senate) explains that filming is not allowed because tenured professor senators own their images and their words in public Senate discussions...


STEP-4: IMPOSE SENATE FILMING AND PUBLIC POSTING

Without any debate at Senate about the tenured professor "faces", "words", and "actions" that would be recorded for public display, President Allan Rock then brings in mandatory filming and posting of all Senate meetings.

None of the brave souls who opposed filming made a peep.


STEP-5: INTERVENE TO HAVE CROWN DROP ALL CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST STUDENT


Although Allan Rock had stated (above video) that it would be highly improper to intervene in a matter that was before the courts, his administration did contact the Crown to have all charges against the student dropped. The Crown stated that it found this matter "not in the public interest to pursue" after it was contacted by the University of Ottawa: HERE.

The following year, the Rock administration arbitrarily expelled student Marc Kelly from his study program and barred him from all campus grounds without providing any reason: HERE.

>>> For a complete history of Allan Rock's conflict with student Marc Kelly please see these reports: HERE.

>>> For a history of Allan Rock and his many similar episodes see this summary: HERE.
.