Systemic racism in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, has been exposed via leaked emails and at a press conference yesterday and is national news today: Globe and Mail.
The press conference was attended by all the major radio, TV and press media in Ottawa and followed THIS press release.
In 2008 when the Student Appeal Centre (SAC) of the student union first publicly exposed the problem of systemic racism at the University of Ottawa, the university's response was a campaign of denigration and cover up personally managed by president Allan Rock, as seen in access to information documents obtained by the SAC (HERE and HERE and links therein).
At the Wednesday press conference in the rotunda of the central administration building, president Allan Rock - as usual for hot issues of public concern - was nowhere to be found (although he had been invited) but an eight-person university legal and public relations team was buzzing with activity.
Their mission was to develop and deliver the University spin - the optimized tactical message that would minimize the university's responsibility.
Their previous (2008) university reaction (to deny, denigrate, and cover up) was now evidently a failure.
In addition, the University was now exposed to an even greater threat than being shown to be racist: Some of its top officials in the Faculty of Medicine participated in vicious reprisal against at least one talented MD, for filing an internal human rights complaint and as a way to quell possible external complaints. In particular, see THIS leaked email:
Eve [Dr. Eve Tsai],
It is uncertain whether Al-Ghaithy et al. would take this matter further to an external body such as the Human Rights Tribunal. However, I can predict with certainty that fixing Al-Ghaithy would deter the others from doing so. I have had discussions with the Dean and Chief of Surgery and the consensus is that Al-Ghaithy must be removed. Over the last few months I have been working closely with Dr. Worthington and Dr. Bragg, and let me assure you that we are not that far. You have to appreciate here that we are dealing with a strong resident and probably the best we have, at least from an academic perspective. This together with his popularity among the residents made some of the conventional methods unsuccessful.
At the end of the day the University will not sacrifice one of its faculty members for the sake of few disgruntled out-funded residents, and I doubt it very much that the other complainants would prosecute you outside the campus in a process that is naturally protracted and financially draining.
Rick [Dr. Richard Moulton, Association Professor University of Ottawa; Chair, Division of Neurosurgery University of Ottawa; Chief, Division of Neurosurgery The Ottawa Hospital; Program Director, Division of Neurosurgery]
The university's final spin solution was a damage-control compromise: Turn attention away from the grotesque malfeasance of its Faculty of Medicine officials by admitting that the allegations of racist discrimination are "very serious" and by turning attention towards the Human Rights Tribunal process: "The university feels that's the proper forum where we will speak out."
Turn attention away from the illegal reprisals practiced by Moulton and several others (Dean of Medical School, Paul Bragg Associate Dean PGME, Chief of Surgery Eric Paulin, Jim Worthington TOH VP-Medical Affairs) and towards an examination of the allegations of racist discrimination.
Brilliant! But somehow the elephant in the room may confront Allan Rock sooner than he would like. At the moment, Richard Moulton's actions are not even subject to an internal discipline investigation. He would have been in more trouble if he had given high grades to some "out-sourced" medical residents...?
Youtube videos of the press conference and its question period are being uploaded by university senator Joseph Hickey who has taken the matter to university Senate. Here is the presentation by the plaintiffs' spokesperson and co-plaintiff Dr. Khalid Aba-Alkhail: