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

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jewish Tribune goes ballistic over U of O Senate motion -- and update

The Jewish Tribune (JT) is the "Largest Jewish Weekly in Canada" with a "Circulation 60,410".

It went ballistic over a duly submitted and received motion (LINK, LINK) to the University of Ottawa Senate here:

The JT article talks about being "under attack", an "assault", an "anti-Israeli motion", and "Insulting Jews and Muslims".

Such is the response to a considered attempt to have a democratic, open and balanced discussion about an obviously political matter in which there is evidence for influence peddling in the highest circles of the university administration and possible sidestepping of the Senate's statutory authority.

U of O Watch has learned that senator Hickey (who is spearheading the motion) met with president Allan Rock on Friday and that Rock vehemently stated to Hickey that "I wasn't in Israel in 2008" [to negotiate the Haifa exchange] no less than four times; in contradiction to the media report of an Israel-Lobby-paid-for relations trip. Rock could not explain why he did not correct the media report which harms the image and reputation of the institution by showing that the president would have participated in such a scheme.

Hickey has also ensured that his senator colleagues would, in preparation for the Monday vote on the motion, be informed about the evidence of discrimination against Palestinian students at Haifa university HERE. And he has obtained support for his motion from the national Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) organization: HERE, HERE.

The JT's over-the-top reaction to a university senator wanting transparency and accountability on these questions confirms the legitimacy of Hickey's concerns. For example (from the JT article):

"Only Dr. Michael Dan, president of the board of directors of the Canadian Friends of Haifa University, reluctantly agreed to say a few words.

Observing that the motion does not call for fairness, but rather that Arab students be over-represented in the exchange, Dr. Dan said, “I’d be delighted if Arab students were over-represented, but only if the selection process is based on merit. Anything else would be an insult to those same Arab students.

“I believe that they’re every bit as smart as Jewish students and since the university (of Haifa) has the highest proportion of Arab students of any Israeli university, I expect 20 per cent of the participants to be Arabs.”

Steven Plaut, professor of economics at University of Haifa, said, “The hypocrisy of the boycotters is mind-numbing. The University of Haifa has not only the largest number of Arab students in Israel – both in absolute number and as a percentage of the student body – but it has the largest number of Arab students receiving a Western academic education in the entire Middle East. The University of Haifa also grants affirmative action preferences to Arabs in admissions, hiring, scholarships and dorm space…. Arab students face lowered barriers, dumbed down under double standards, in getting accepted and admitted under affirmative action.... In other words, the University of Haifa discriminates against Jews.”

Plaut added that while he didn’t know the precise number of Arab professors where he works, he is very sure it’s significantly higher than the percentage of First Nations teachers at U of O.

“The University of Haifa has an Arab dean. How many Arab deans does the University of Ottawa have?”"

UofOWatch concludes that such comments are evidence that maybe U of O would do well to not associate itself with Haifa. There is a reason that a large international civil movement is calling for an academic boycott of Israel...

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