- Why does the University of Ottawa need a law school exchange program with Israel?
- And why does it need it in the middle of an international civil society call for an academic boycott of Israel?
- How does this relate to the Canadian Zionism Question?
- Is this an effort to help Israel into needed compliance with international law and the Geneva Conventions?
These are the kinds of questions that the Allan Rock administration did not want raised at university Senate.
But university Senate is where all new academic programs are democratically discussed and approved. It is the highest governing body on academic matters at the university.
How can this dilemma be solved? (SEE BACKGROUND REPORT HERE)
The Allan Rock answer is simple (and certainly inspired from federal politics):
Don't call it a program!It's just an "exchange"... (A procedural improvement that the administration can approve without consulting Senate.)
It looks and smells like an academic program (with specific academic requirements, applications, deadlines, unique characteristics, entrance requirements, its own scholarship "program", etc.) but IT'S NOT AN ACADEMIC PROGRAM.
Graduate school dean Gary Slater explained it this way: "It's not an academic program. It's an exchange program." (HERE)
But physics student Senator Joseph Hickey is not letting go. He wants to understand how this "Senate is the highest governing body" thing works... HERE.
Another problem is that the Rock administration wants to please its donor (the Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation) and publicly call it a wonderful "New Joint Masters in Laws Program", also in an effort to recruit candidates.
So the Rock administration first puts out this press release (below) then four days later changes the press release (also below) after Hickey starts to noisily inquire...
Note the changes: SIX occurrences of the word "program", including in the title, are removed and craftily replaced, without any mention that the public document has been altered.
OK but two of those changes are in quotes of statements made by law dean Bruce Feldthusen and research chair Michael Geist...?!
So what did they really say? Are they automaton puppets? These are fair questions.
Epilogue: Compare this to former professor Denis Rancourt who in 2005 was disciplined for using the word "bilingual" to describe one of his courses (on his own unofficial web page) that was actually bilingual in practice and approved as such because this could mislead some students to believe that the course was "officially bilingual". Remarkably, this discipline was upheld by a professional arbitrator: HERE.