In another zoo-like episode, University hired lawyer Lynn Harnden came in this morning and announced to the Arbitrator, to the union and to the public that the University of Ottawa has just come to the realization that fired physics professor Denis Rancourt's innovative pedagogical advances constitute experimentation on human subjects.
And that, therefore, obviously, this opens a whole area that the University needs to research. Were the necessary experimental protocols approved? Was the ethics committee for experimentation on human subjects consulted?
This was introduced as new grounds for the dismissal of Rancourt and the hearing needed to be adjourned to give the University time to research these newly discovered violations...
Union lawyer Sean McGee responded that the idea that professor Rancourt's innovative teaching should be compared to testing an unknown vaccine "defies belief".
Harnden then dropped this but presented another reason that the hearing needed to be adjourned:
Despite the University having all the relevant Rancourt emails and blog posts for years and despite the University being in possession of Rancourt's office computer since the 2009 firing, the University now proclaimed that its own opening statements of yesterday newly established that the Rancourt office computer hard-drive now needed to be searched...
It argued a search of this computer was needed before the hearing could be continued.
The Arbitrator accepted the latter argument but insisted that the University must be ready to roll by the next hearing day (January 23, 2012). In looking at Mr. Harnden the Arbitrator explained "you will both have your spin but the evidence is the evidence..." Mr. Harnden smiled in agreement.
Then McGee made a final point: The University disclosure of documents (provided only yesterday) appears incomplete.
Harnden undertook to verify the completeness of the University disclosure and to advise accordingly at some later time.
As a last point, Harnden tried to get the Arbitrator to "clarify" his order to exclude video cameras to also exclude cameras outside of the hearing room. The Arbitrator explained his ruling that inside was inside and outside was outside. Mr. Harnden seemed satisfied with that.
The whole thing took under one hour and another day of hearings was again thus wasted. The count so far is: One of four days of hearings has been properly used as intended when first scheduled.
All posts about the wrongful dismissal hearings: HERE.
See hearings schedule and reports: HERE.
Chronology of wrongful-dismissal background events: HERE.