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

Sunday, June 5, 2011

U of O student union critical race theory burnout

SFUO: Left in words, Right in deed?

UofOWatch has learned that this letter (below) was duly sent (in cc) for publication to the student paper The Fulcrum on March 26, 2011, and was simply ignored. The Fulcrum did not acknowledge or contact its author, despite the paper's statutory commitment to publish all student letters. This, for a paper that has been consistently enthusiastic to criticize the SFUO's Left politics.

It appears that at the University of Ottawa racism runs deep and crosses all race, political, age, and class boundaries...? (See all posts about racism at U of O HERE.)

UofOWatch has learned that the letter was re-sent today addressed to the present SFUO president Amalia Savva.

To Tyler Steeves,

I am writing to you as the Chair of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa's Black History Month sub-committee in your capacity as President of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO).

It is with sincere regret and utter frustration that I find myself writing this letter. As a committee, we experienced a lot of resistance from the executive of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa. We also felt as if we were being held hostage and that we had to dance to a tune in order to be heard and taken seriously.

As a representative of the committee, I first approached the SFUO in July with the plan to put certain things in motion. I had a meeting with an executive member and the response from the meeting was an email advising me that the SFUO would be "selecting members" for the 2010-2011 Black History Month Committee. This response perplexed some students who were interested in being members because we did not understand them criteria that was to be used. We also questioned the SFUO's qualifications in determining who was suitable to be on this committee. What made this response even more curious for us was the fact that for centuries marginalized groups have always been told who has the legitimacy to speak on their behalf by the dominant group.

According to the SFUO Constitution, "the SFUO Executive shall only act as a liaison between the Black History Month Committee members for financial and logistical matters". There were a few embarrassing moments that were avoidable had the SFUO executive followed their mandate as stated in the Constitution vis à vis the Black History Committee. The most embarrassing and regrettable one was suffered by our keynote speaker Dr. George Dei of Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), as he tried to check out of his hotel room.

It was also embarrassing to have to hold our event at the Carlton University Campus because of the delay in mobilizing the committee. This delay was due to SFUO's inaction in terms of setting up the committee and lack of facilitation in accessing all the resources required by the committee. The committee was also puzzled by the lack of attendance by any of the SFUO executive members.

We all have to acknowledge that the committee is seen by outsiders as representing the University of Ottawa's student body. As such any failure by the committee is seen as a failure by the whole student body. We have to work together to promote an inclusive and respectful study body at our university. The committee would like to set up a meeting with the SFUO executive to revisit the issue and come up with a more respectful working relationship.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Kindest Regards,

Hazel Gashoka
Chair, Student Federation of the University of Ottawa's Black History Month sub-committee

cc: Black history month committee members, SFUO executives, the fulcrum, and black caucus members


uoLeaks said...

Sorry, but I'm pretty sure that this was in no way racism. In fact, it's just that the SFUO Executive as of late is (in general; not 100%) ignorant, power-hunger, and over controlling.

To quote the constitution is pointless - as they break it on a daily basis, yet use it to harass others. As for The Fulcrum - it is quite possible that they didn't have the time or the room to print your letter, and that is disappointing.

My best advice is this: next year, do it yourselves. Don't go to the SFUO. They will stall, delay, and the event will all-around be a disappointment.

On the other hand, we at uoLeaks.com would be happy to publish any letters or information you wish to get out to the students.


Denis Rancourt said...


Both can be true simultaneously: (1) Systemic racism at the SFUO and Fulcrum, and (2) anti-democratic, anti-transparency, anti-accountability, unlawful (administrative law) behaviour, etc., at the SFUO and Fulcrum.

(1) and (2) do not exclude each other and often go together. The racist actors need not be overtly conscious of their racism when participating in systemic racism. Indeed, that is most usually the case.

Slaver masters did not consider themselves racist; they were only following God's word and God's intent for creation...

Is uoLeaks racist?

Here is where I believe we need to go with this: