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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

UofOgate::: Identity of student spy disclosed by court order

The University of Ottawa's UofOgate spy cover up scandal is not going away.

After Indy Media broke the story (HERE, HERE), in January to March 2010 there were nine articles in student newspapers across Ontario about the matter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and see here), with numerous letters (HERE). It was covered in Macleans OnCampus (M1). It appeared in Academica's Top Ten media stories (HERE). And it was featured in an in-depth report by Canadians for Accountability (HERE).

The university response has been an extensive cover up (HERE) involving top corporate executives, a former VP-Governance (now director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association), a former Legal Counsel (now a judge at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario), the present VP-Governance (HERE), and many more. The university and president Allan Rock are illegally stonewalling a labour law grievance on the matter (G25-HERE). The student newspaper The Fulcrum (where the student spy was a journalist/editor) fired its ombudsman in mid-investigation over the matter (HERE, HERE).

On the legal front, former physics professor Denis Rancourt - who had been spied on along with several other university employees and students - filed a formal labour law grievance (HERE) and appealed his access to information (ATI) request to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario; whereas members of the teacher assistant union (CUPE 2626) filed a collective grievance and settled with the university before arbitration (HERE).

Rancourt's grievance was illegally stonewalled by the University of Ottawa and president Allan Rock. This matter therefore was taken to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) by Rancourt and is now awaiting a tribunal hearing: HERE. The first item to be heard by the OLRB tribunal will be a motion by Allan Rock to be removed as a responding party (HERE).

The appeal to the IPC on the other hand has now concluded (IPC Order PO-2951 dated February 9, 2011) and the University of Ottawa was ordered to disclose a key record by March 16, 2011.

Although Rancourt's original ATI request was for all communications involving student journalist Maureen Robinson and resulted in an index of many communications with the university's Legal Counsel, Robinson has always denied (to the media) that she was involved in the covert information gathering campaign (2006-2008) described in the university's representations to the IPC tribunal (made public by Rancourt, HERE).

In IPC parlance, Rancourt was the Appellant, the university was the Institution (which has the burden of proof when not disclosing personal information of the Appellant), and Robinson was the (only) Affected Party.

The newly obtained document ordered disclosed by the IPC is posted HERE. It is an email from the Affected Party to the dean of the Faculty of Science (Andre E. Lalonde) and to the Legal Counsel (Michelle Flaherty, now a judge with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario). It is signed "Maureen".

In this case, Maureen is forwarding an email that she has obtained under false pretense at a time when she was a student journalist.

Maureen's identity is also disclosed in a second document recently obtained in a separate ATI request for documents in the dean's office: HERE.

The latter document is disturbing in many regards.

Note how the dean Andre E. Lalonde (who is not known for his strict adherence to ATI law) makes special efforts to circumvent ATI law: (1) Rancourt is referred to as "Professor R" to avoid keyword searches, (2) the dean suggests that since Legal Counsel would have received a copy of a sensitive CD (which he also has) that the CD would be excluded from ATI access (by virtue of solicitor-client privilege), and (3) the dean specifies that a previous communication was "privileged and confidential", again abusing the cover of solicitor-client privilege.

The document (HERE) also establishes that the university was in possession of a voice recording (two CD copies in fact) that it did not disclose to the IPC as required by law (as the dean acknowledges in this message to former VP-Governance Pamela Harrod, HERE).

Possibly most disturbingly, IPC Adjudicator Frank DeVries participated in this illegal information practice by not requesting the sound recording that was surmised to exist, despite the Appellant's explicit request under Representations that the Adjudicator do so, following presented evidence that the search had been "incomplete" regarding the existence of a voice recording.

Finally, another document also now conclusively identifies Maureen Robinson by her full name as the Affected Party: HERE. The latter document is a letter from the IPC Adjudicator to the Affected Party addressed to "Maureen Robinson" at her address in Australia at the time.

It is now impossible for Maureen Robinson to credibly deny being the student at the heart of the covert information gathering 2006-2008 campaign described in some detail by the university in its representations to the IPC Adjudicator (see the full documents and reports HERE). The lie is up.

1 comment:

LP said...

Maybe the Dean also spelled Maureen's name "Maureeen" (three 'e') in the latter record to shield against ATI searches? Or maybe he was just careless.