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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Judge rejects ex-professor’s allegations of judicial bias in defamation suit

Justice Robert Beaudoin
Judge rejects ex-professor’s allegations of judicial bias in defamation suit (LINK)

 Related: April 2012 Ottawa Citizen article that gave rise to the apprehension of bias: HERE-LINK.
 
 Related: Transcript of the court hearing at which Justice Beaudoin recused himself is HERE-LINK.

 Related: Recent blog article on A Student's-Eye View: HERE-LINK.

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) Orders U of O to provide an access decision

In a ruling released on October 22, 2012, the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario has ordered the University of Ottawa to provide an access decision, which the University sought to avoid by claiming that the requester of the information was acting maliciously: LINK TO IPC ORDER.

The University had its access to information officer swear an affidavit that she was required to work long hours of overtime because of the requester's many requests over the years. The University also said that one time the requester cancelled a cheque and did not pay the access fee, and that the requester was misrepresenting the IPC in blog articles critical of the IPC, and that the University staff feared for their safety, and so on.

Adjudicator Haly did not accept the University's arguments, and concluded her ruling as follows (below). She also stated that if unspecified "aspects of the appellant's [requester's] behaviour ... were to continue" then this could possibly provide a basis for a future University claim (to avoid access pursuant to the law).

[60] I adopt the approach set out by the Senior Adjudicator for the present appeal. The appellant has provided the purpose behind his request which is the subject of this appeal. I find his reasons to be reasonable and I find that his request is not for a purpose other than to obtain access. Accordingly, I find that the university has not established section 5.1(b).

[61] In summary, I find that section 10(1)(b) of the Act and section 5.1 of Regulation 460 do not apply to the appellant’s request that is the subject of the appeal. While I have found that the university has not, in this appeal, established that the appellant is frivolous and vexatious, I have found that there are aspects of the appellant’s behavior, that if were to continue, could form the basis of another claim by the university.

ORDER:
1. I do not uphold the university’s decision that the appellant’s request is frivolous and vexatious.
2. I order the university to issue an access decision regarding the request, in accordance with sections 26, 28 and 29 of the Act, treating the date of this order as the date of the request, and without recourse to a time extension under section 27.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

How to find the room number to attend a public Court hearing at the Ottawa Courthouse

The open court principle is a right in a democratic society, including in Canada and Ontario. This means that the court is open to public attendance and scrutiny. The main reason is to secure just behaviour of the courts themselves.

Cases before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa are heard at the Elgin Street Courthouse, corner of Elgin and Laurier.

Even though you know the date and time of a hearing, the court does not publish the room number until the morning of the hearing.

To attend a hearing, therefore, you must arrive early at the Courthouse and find out the room number where the hearing will be held. There should be a list of all the day's hearings and room number's at the security desk (in front of the elevators) on the second floor (main Elgin Street entrance level).

Go to the security desk and consult the list to find the room number. For example, room "34" is on the third floor, and so on. If security does not have the list, then ask them when they will get it or how else you can find the room number. You can always go to the "Civil Counter" on the second floor, as they should also have the list for the day's hearings.

You will need to know the name of the case, such as "St. Lewis v. Rancourt". The list also tells you the name of the judge.

Good luck.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Send me dirt ::: Invitation to use new post office box for anonymous disclosures about U of O

You can send documents anonymously to the U of O Watch post office box:


POSTAL BOX NO LONGER ACTIVE 
Ottawa ON  Canada
This is the traditional "brown paper envelope" safe method to disclose documents showing institutional behaviour which is against the public good.
 
[Postal box inactivated November 2013]

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

U of O Watch salutes The Runster


Useful blogging in a world run by unelected and unaccountable CEOs who, well, make it up as they go along...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why donate to my Legal Fund?

This is an appeal to donate to my legal fund (the Denis Rancourt Legal Fund) in order to provide a moderately fair trial in what some observers have characterized as a SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) against me.

I am committed to obtaining justice but justice is illusive when there is a large asymmetry of means between the opposing parties. At this point I will have exhausted all my financial savings within a month or so.

I was wrongly fired in 2009 from my tenured full professorship in physics at the University of Ottawa by a president, Allan Rock, who had a personal mission to get me.  He instructed his executives and hired lawyers to fire me, and this was executed without due process.

Under false pretence, in November 2008, my students and I were locked out of our laboratory and offices without warning.

My research associate of 12 years was summarily fired (she sued and won a settlement).

The laboratory was dismantled before I was even informed of the mock procedure to fire me that was initiated in December 2008 when I was banned from campus, again without notice, under police escort. 

The false pretext used was that I had fraudulently assigned grades in one advanced physics course in the winter 2008 semester. The University’s main witness at a recent hearing admitted under oath that the university had no evidence for this for any student.

The real reason that Allan Rock wants to shut me down may be my (this) “U of O Watch” blog and its persistent criticism of university management and executives, including: criticism of the university’s treatments of students, criticism of Rock’s on-going career dealings, criticisms of administrators and colleagues who, in my view, act against public and/or student interests, exposing executive malfeasance such as doctoring documents “to make a point”, and so on.

The true reasons for firing me may also include: my development of a new and highly popular “activism course”, my weekly “cinema politica” public event on campus, my weekly on-going campus radio show, inviting critical speakers into my classes, my liberating pedagogical methods focussed on learning rather than obedience, my continued invitations in university classrooms as an invited intervener, and so on.

Rock hoped that firing me would be the end of me:

“With any luck, firing him will get him off campus …”
       -- December 15, 2008 email, Allan Rock to staff

After firing me at an executive meeting that he chaired on March 31, 2009, Rock continued to express his views about me and to search for ways to “get the facts out”:

“Far from having had ‘an impeccable pedagogical career’, Rancourt has spent the last several years undermining pedagogy, denying students access to an education and engaging in a cynical mockery of the whole education process; and

Rancourt is trafficking in fictions to try to save his own skin while recklessly and irresponsibly creating tensions in Ottawa’s religious communities. (As to ‘fiction’, I refer to the example of his lying about me going to Israel last July.)

How best to get the facts out?

Allan”

      -- April 19, 2009 email, Allan Rock to Bruce Feldthusen (then VP, now dean of common law)

In what I believe to be the latest episode to “get Rancourt”, Allan Rock has, following a “recommendation” from Bruce Feldthusen, personally agreed to entirely finance – without a spending limit – a private $ 1 million defamation lawsuit against me, for a blogpost on my “U of O Watch” blog. The private litigant did not contact a lawyer until after the agreement for unlimited funding was made – according to sworn testimonies given in my recent court motion to dismiss the action (ref).

Irrespective of the legal merits of the defamation claim and irrespective of the legal merits of my defence, the plaintiff’s unlimited funding is such that, as an unsalaried self-represented defendant, I find myself pitted against two major law firms (Gowlings and BLG), thus creating a Charter breach to my fundamental rights (ref, at paragraphs 61 to 67).

The legal process is complex and expensive. I am working hard to learn the theory and practice of litigation.

Even if I do not pay legal fees to a lawyer representing me, there are court and proceeding costs, and, most importantly, each time I lose an interim procedural motion I must pay the legal costs of the opponents. On some motions, the University of Ottawa itself is a second opponent (using the BLG law firm).

There have been over ten such motions (or mini-trials) to date and I will soon (this month or next) have exhausted my life savings at this point. If I win a motion, the other side argues that I need not have costs because I am self-represented.

It is obvious to me now that a minimum degree of justice requires at least a minimum of funding.

At stake is freedom of expression on matters of public interest (here, namely, the possibility of systemic racism at the University of Ottawa). At stake is access to justice. At stake is fundamental fairness in the justice system itself in treating self-represented litigants. At stake is the need for SLAPP-informed funding rules in private civil litigation in Ontario.

Please contribute to my legal fund. All donations go to my legal costs to obtain a just treatment before the courts. All court documents are posted to the web.

(LINK: Donate, Legal Fund -- donate web page)


Related articles:

This is what targeting a dissident tenured professor looks like in Canada

Hearings into dismissal of Rancourt reveal much

TVO (TV Ontario) interview with Denis Rancourt:

Monday, July 2, 2012

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: IN A NUTSHELL

This is a brief explanation of the St. Lewis v. Rancourt defamation lawsuit presently before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.


SUMMARY -- In 2008 the student union released a public report about systemic racism at the University of Ottawa. The University asked a black professor expert to assess the student report in a responding public report. The expert found that there was no basis for affirming systemic racism at the University of Ottawa. A white former physics professor runs a blog critical of the University of Ottawa and of its (white) president. The physics professor was critical of the expert's report in a 2008 blogpost. After the student union released relevant access to information documents in 2011, the physics professor blogged again stating that the access to information documents suggested that the expert had [COURT ORDER]. The expert obtained funding for a lawsuit from the university president, and then sued the physics professor for $1 million in a defamation action, without disclosing the university funding. The university was later obliged to disclose its involvement and the president's role in the on-going lawsuit.


Denis Rancourt is a former tenured Full Professor of physics, University of Ottawa. He has run the "U of O Watch" blog, critical of the University of Ottawa, since 2007. Rancourt was dismissed from his full professorship in 2009, after 23 years. The dismissal is presently in binding labour arbitration where the hearings are scheduled to continue until June 2013.

In 2008, the student union at the University of Ottawa published a report ("the SAC report", Student Appeal Centre) alleging systemic racism in the University's treatment of academic fraud, based on the SAC's data and on case studies. This SAC report immediately attracted media attention.

The University asked tenured Assistant Professor of law Joanne St. Lewis, then Director of the University's Human Rights Research and Education Centre, to write an evaluation ("the St. Lewis report") of the SAC report. The completed St. Lewis report was announced on the University web site and Professor St. Lewis did media interviews about her report.

The St. Lewis report was critical of the SAC report, found, in part, that

"The short answer for this evaluator on whether there is systemic racism in the administration of the Academic Fraud process at the University of Ottawa is: I don’t know. What I do know, is that this report does not establish this in any measurable or analytically plausible fashion."

and made ten recommendations, as "The Way Forward".

In 2008, Rancourt made a critical assessment of the St. Lewis report on his blog. The post was entitled "Rock Administration Prefers to Confuse “Independent” with “Internal” Rather Than Address Systemic Racism".

In 2011, the SAC posted documents about the St. Lewis report, which it had obtained via an access to information request, to the SAC blog.

In 2011, Rancourt posted another blog article critical of the St. Lewis report, based on the newly released access to information documents. This second blog article was entitled "[COURT ORDER]" and it stated, in part (see p.9, HERE):

"[COURT ORDER]"

The later blogpost gave rise to a $1 million defamation lawsuit against Rancourt, initiated by St. Lewis, see June 23, 2011 Statement of Claim.

As one defence, Rancourt argued that if this lawsuit was a proxy lawsuit by the University, then it violated his Charter rights by suppressing his criticism of a public institution, see p.20-21 of the Statement of Defence.

Rancourt sought to discover if the University of Ottawa was funding the St. Lewis litigation. This question was pursued and even was asked at the University's Senate via a student senator's motion (LINK).

The University replied on October 25, 2011, via hired lawyer David Scott, that it was indeed funding the St. Lewis litigation against Rancourt. A report on the efforts to obtain this reply is here: LINK. Scott's letter states, in part:

"Furthermore, your outrageously racist attack upon her takes this case out of the ordinary and, in the view of the University, alone creates a moral obligation to provide support for her in defence of her reputation."

Following this reply, Rancourt brought a motion that the action be stayed or dismissed for abuse of process (see Notice of Motion). The later motion is presently in process (LINK to report about motion).

As part of the later "champerty" motion, Rancourt cross-examined university president Allan Rock who testified under oath that he had made the decision in April 2011 to fund the St. Lewis lawsuit "without a cap" (with no funding limit) from the University's operating budget (see Transcript of the cross-examination).

Rancourt's "champerty" motion will be heard on August 29, 2011, following Rancourt's on-going "refusals and productions" motion to obtain answers that the cross-examined witnesses have refused to give.

In the first day of Rancourt's "refusals and productions" motion, on June 20, 2012, Rancourt was not allowed to cross-examine a recent affiant put forward by the University of Ottawa to counter the "refusals and productions" motion. In addition, Rancourt had put forward an expert's affidavit to establish the authenticity of a document showing a March 2012 email communication from Allan Rock to St. Lewis' counsel Richard Dearden. The expert's affidavit was stated to be inadmissible for reasons that Rancourt expects will be explained in the Judge's decision about the "refusals and productions" motion.

The "refusals and productions" motion resumes in court on July 24, 2012.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: Update on the Defendant's "champerty" motion


The last update on the St. Lewis v. Rancourt defamation lawsuit on this blog was the February 24, 2012 post.

Justice Robert Smith, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, recently summarized the current status of the lawsuit this way (LINK):

[1] Denis Rancourt (“Rancourt”) is a former professor at the University of Ottawa who publishes a blog. He is being sued by the plaintiff, Joanne St. Lewis (“St. Lewis”), for libel for statements he made in his blog, criticizing the University of Ottawa.

[2] St. Lewis is also a professor at the University of Ottawa who prepared a report which concluded that there was no systemic racism in the University of Ottawa’s treatment of visible minority students. Her legal fees for her libel action against Rancourt are being paid by the University of Ottawa (“University”), which Rancourt alleges constitutes champerty.

[3] Rancourt seeks leave to appeal the decision of Beaudoin J., acting as a case management judge, wherein he refused to allow him to bring a motion (the open court motion) to allow members of the public to attend the cross‑examinations on affidavits that were filed in his champerty motion.

At this time, Rancourt has moved that the action be dismissed for abuse of process ("champerty" motion). That motion hearing will be on August 29, 2012, in open court. The reason alleged is that the University of Ottawa is funding the Plaintiff's entire legal costs with improper motive and stands to benefit from proceeds of the action.

Since the previous update, many events have occurred in the action, including:
In cross-examination, U of O president Allan Rock testified under oath that he made the decision to entirely fund the Plaintiff's litigation without a cap (no spending limit) from the University's operating budget. This decision to fund, according to the Plaintiff's testimony, occurred before the Plaintiff researched or contacted her counsel for the action.

The chosen counsel had been suggested by the Plaintiff's Dean, Bruce Feldthusen, who, according to his testimony, made a strong appeal to Rock that the University had a responsibility to fund the litigation (to sue Rancourt).

The Chair of the Board of Governors provided sworn testimony establishing that Rock had never informed the Board about the fact that the Plaintiff's Statement of Claim sought $125 thousand for a university scholarship fund (that St.Lewis had spearheaded). The Chair learned this fact for the first time at the April 18, 2012 examination of him by Rancourt.

All transcripts and many of the court documents are provided as links HERE.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Faculty of Ed student continues to sue U of O

Court rules students may sue universities, in some cases

Ontario Appeal Court decision could have wide repercussions.

by Judith Knelman

A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal has effectively established a small, newly defined area in which universities no longer have exclusive jurisdiction in disputes with their students. Students seeking money as a remedy for consequences that impact on their academic situation will be able to use the precedent of the case of Manon Gauthier.

Ms. Gauthier was a doctoral student in education at the University of Ottawa who did not graduate because, she maintains, the university was negligent and in breach of contract in not providing her with adequate thesis supervision. >>>more>>>

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Extension of Allan Rock’s mandate to 2016

News Releases & Announcements

Extension of Allan Rock’s mandate as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa

OTTAWA, May 29, 2012 — The Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa is pleased to announce that Allan Rock’s mandate as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University has been extended. The decision was made at the Board’s May 28, 2012 meeting, following a broad consultation with members of the University community. The Board adopted Mr. Rock’s proposal that his mandate be extended until June 30, 2016.

Appointed in July 2008, Allan Rock has guided the University through a period of change and modernization. Under his leadership, the University has focused on improving the student experience, strengthening bilingualism, intensifying research activity and expanding its international links, while modernizing its internal governance structures.

“The Board of Governors is confident that Allan Rock will continue to provide strong leadership as we meet future challenges and implement our strategic plan, Destination 20/20,” said Robert Giroux, Chair of the Board of Governors.

“I am simply delighted to have the opportunity to continue the important work that is now well underway,” said Allan Rock. “I am grateful to members of the Board for their continued confidence. I look forward to working with our outstanding leadership team, as we reach towards the ambitious goals we have set for Canada’s university.”

Allan Rock is the 29th President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa. A graduate of the University’s Faculty of Law, he practised in Toronto for two decades, becoming one of Canada’s leading trial lawyers. He subsequently spent ten years in Parliament, where he occupied senior cabinet portfolios, including attorney general of Canada, minister of health and minister of industry. He left Parliament to serve a term as Canadian ambassador to the United Nations. He joined the University in 2008.

About the University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa is the largest bilingual university in the world, where it is possible for students to study in English, in French, or in both languages. Located in the capital of Canada, a G8 nation, we have ready access to the great institutions of our country. Our breakthroughs in health, science, social sciences and the humanities attract global attention, reflecting our ranking among Canada’s top 10 research universities and our ongoing drive to discover.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New site aims to keep academics honest

In the news:

New site aims to keep academics honest 


"Little Office" hopes to have a big impact

Photo by jurvetson on Flickr

A new website is meant to keep Canadian scholars honest when it comes to research. The Little Office of Research Integrity posts news related to research misconduct and calls for action when it notices what it sees as problems with intellectual integrity.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hearings into dismissal of Rancourt reveal much

There have now been fifteen days of hearings before labour arbitrator Foisy into the wrongful dismissal case at the University of Ottawa of tenured full professor of physics Denis Rancourt.

The hearing dates have been scattered over the last year and as many more hearing days are foreseen until June 2013. The last four days of hearings were May 14, 15, 16, and 17. The next hearing date is in May 2013.

The University has closed its case after only three witnesses: Two students who complained about the teaching method in an advanced solid state physics course given by Rancourt to twenty three students in the winter 2008 semester and former dean of the Faculty of Science, Andre E. Lalonde.

Most of the week was taken up by the cross examination of Lalonde by counsel for the union Sean McGee, and re-examination of Lalonde by counsel for the university Lynn Harnden. Rancourt started giving his evidence at the end of the week.

The cross examination of Lalonde has revealed what many observers had already inferred about the dismissal:

  1. The November 2008 unannounced lockout of Rancourt and his graduate students and post-doctoral associate from their laboratory and offices was meant to permanently render the laboratory unusable (essential materials were permanently removed).
  2. The "context" of this November 2008 permanent shut-down, as the former dean explained, was that an upper management group including President Allan Rock had already decided that Rancourt was to be fired; in advance of both the dean's December 2008 "recommendation for dismissal to the Board" and the Board's April 2009 "decision to dismiss". (Allan Rock chaired the April 2009 Board meeting that made the "decision".)

At the time of the lockout, the university had advanced the pretext of a simple change in radiation safety protocol, unannounced to radiation license holder and principle investigator Rancourt. The "new safety protocol" was not written in time for a meeting involving Rancourt's union that followed the lockout.

The cross-examination of Lalonde also revealed that science student Maureen Robinson (aka, Nathalie Page; false Facebook and Google-group identity) had been hired by the university in 2007-2008, was given access to the dean's email account to compile emails about Rancourt, and gave regular reports to both the dean and former university legal counsel Michelle Flaherty (now a co-Chair at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal) that included:

  • Surveillance of Rancourt and students.
  • Gathering information from third-parties on false pretense.
  • Minimizing the "paper trail" of her activities.
  • Reporting on student electoral events.
  • Reporting on the presence or absence of Rancourt and others at campus and off-campus events.
  • Transcribing Rancourt's campus radio show recordings.
  • Obtaining recordings of Rancourt's talks on other campuses.
  • Attempting to obtain class notes and class communications from Rancourt's courses.
  • Using her former contacts at the Fulcrum (student newspaper) to transmit the Fulcrum's information.

These activities were performed with the full knowledge of both Lalonde and Flaherty. Indeed, Robinson routinely joked about what "Nathalie" (her false identity on Facebook and in Google-groups and by email) had been up to and her coming projects.

For example:
"Hi, it's Nathalie. Haha.
(You know, posing as a smiling schoolgirl to get information makes me feel like those police officers who pose as 9-year old girls online in order to catch pedophiles...)"
Several more emails HERE.

Lalonde stated that he had the login name and password to Robinson's fake account (that she had provided only to him) on a 3M sticky note in his office for many months. Robinson wanted him to have it for the periods when she was absent from her work.

Lalonde stated under oath that he discouraged Robinson from performing her surveillance, that she only did this out of "personal interest", and that he accepted receiving the information she provided because of the "climate of fear" that prevailed on campus at the time.

Lalonde explained that science student Marc Kelly had appeared on campus in a white costume and playing "ominous" music ("The institution controls your mind") from a portable sound box, that part of the white costume had been found in Rancourt's laboratory, that he had seen a picture of Kelly in-costume on Rancourt's office door, and that a biology professor had expressed security concerns a-la-Fabrikant to him. Lalonde further explained that if some unauthorized person "anarchist activist" had access to a laboratory with radioactive materials that this had great potential to create "fear in the community". Lalonde also sought advice from a psychiatrist, to advise him regarding Dr. Rancourt's mental state and the risk that he and/or others represented to the University community, regarding these events. For these reasons Lalonde felt that he was justified in using the information gathered by Robinson.

Many of the emails involving Robinson that were disclosed by the university under the requirements of the arbitration had never been disclosed as required by law following an access to information request made by Rancourt in 2008, even under a subsequent appeal with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, not even their existence in the required table of non-disclosed records. It is difficult to understand how this could have occurred. As a result, the access to information request gave essentially no results.


Background articles and links:

  • Targeting dissident professor Denis Rancourt, HERE.
  • Tribunal hearings page on academicfreedom.ca, HERE.
  • All UofOWatch posts about the dismissal hearings, HERE.
  • Reports on University's covert surveillance practices, HERE.
  • Recent Student's-Eye View reports about the hearings, HERE1, HERE2, HERE3.
  • Globe & Mail letter from concerned parent Julia Debono observing Rancourt's 2006 class, HERE.
[2012-06-22: Correction/clarification: "Lalonde also consulted a psychiatrist regarding these events." was changed to "Lalonde also sought advice from a psychiatrist, to advise him regarding Dr. Rancourt's mental state and the risk that he and/or others represented to the University community, regarding these events."]

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thierry Giordano honoured for his 2007 viscious verbal attack against a graduate student

This year's Student Appeal Centre's annual award for the "most ruthless and/or unjust while showing little or no respect for students" administrator goes to science vice-dean Thierry Giordano for a private-office verbal intimation and threats he perpetrated against graduate student Philippe Marchand in 2007.

A long-overdue Iron Fist Award for Thierry Giordano, Vice-Dean Governance and Secretary, Faculty of Science (link)

The episode was recorded by the student and the sound tracks are available at the latter link.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

GSAED tells Allan Rock to Drop Lawyer’s Fees Against Students


The graduate student union (GSAED) at the University of Ottawa has written to president Allan Rock to request that the University drop their legal fee submission against graduate physics student and University Senate member Joseph Hickey (GSAED letter is in French; lettre en francais):

GSAED tells Allan Rock to Drop Lawyer’s Fees Against Students (link)


As background, a link to the court documents in the main action and all the court motions is HERE.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Students co-sign a letter asking law prof St. Lewis to abandon her legal costs demand against co-student


Twenty three students and community members have co-signed a letter to law professor Joanne St. Lewis asking that she abandon her cost submission to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against physics graduate student Joseph Hickey:

Petition to Social Justice Prof. Joanne St. Lewis to Drop Legal Fees (link)

Hickey sought to have public and media access to the live testimony of public official Allan Rock regarding his use of public funds and student-tuition money to fund a private matter.

The claimed legal costs are for Hickey's court motion to intervene in a motion for leave to appeal a judge's decision to not hear an open court motion that requested that public attendance be allowed at the out-of-court cross-examinations of the evidence of U of O president Allan Rock and others in a "maintenance and champerty motion" in which Rock has stated that it was his decision that the university is entirely funding a private libel litigation of St. Lewis as the plaintiff.

Hickey's stated only interest was to have his say on the open court question of public and media attendance at the cross-examinations. Hickey had attended previous such cross-examinations and the Court had barred the public from a re-examination at that time.

For Hickey to have his say in court would probably have taken 15 minutes, as allowed by the judge for an intervener in this case. Instead, the St. Lewis and U of O lawyers argued during half-a-day before the judge against Hickey having his say. The judge then ruled that Hickey would not be allowed to make his statements or bring his evidence and received costs submissions from both St. Lewis and the U of O.


As background, a link to the court documents in the main action and all the court motions is HERE.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Allan Rock's 2011 income

In 2011 U of O president Allan Rock had a university income of $396,292.

Presumably we can add his estimated parliamentary pension of $63,000., which he is allowed to receive even when being paid with university public funds in a full-time job.

This gives a 2011 income of approximately $459,000.

This income from public and student tuition money is the largest president's income by far far far, adjusted for inflation, of any president of the institution.

It's only fair to ask what Mr. Rock has done and is doing for Canada's university.

What have been the accomplishments beyond the unavoidable population-growth-driven buildings and facilities? And beyond the image marketing?

What are the indicators that matter? Student satisfaction... Reputation of graduates... Societal progress beyond cancer research and the like...

What are students entitled to demand as real improvements?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Student pursued with punitive court costs by U of O for arguing transparency


On March 29-30, 2012 University of Ottawa Senate Member and physics graduate student Joseph Hickey posted these reports on his Student's-Eye-View blog:



Hickey made a motion before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on March 28, 2012 to intervene in a motion for leave to appeal a judge's decision to not hear a motion to allow public and media access at the cross-examinations of public officials U of O president Allan Rock, U of O chair of the Board of Governors Robert Giroux, and others.

Hickey argued that he has a Charter right to attend the cross-examinations in order to blog-report about the sessions which are held under Court supervision at a private court reporter's offices.

Hickey had attended two previous such cross-examinations in the same St. Lewis v. Rancourt action and had blogged his observations and opinions. Hickey and other members of the public had then been barred by court order to not attend two specific re-examinations in the same action.

This had been followed by an "open court motion" served by the defendant (Rancourt) which was barred from being heard on its merits, leading to Rancourt's motion for leave to appeal, at which Hickey sought to intervene.

It seemed clear to this observer, that Hickey had standing to intervene as both a member of the public and as a member of the media seeking access to a court process, but the judge sided with the plaintiff (St. Lewis) and the U of O.

The U of O had not moved to intervene in the motion for leave to appeal or in Hickey's motion to intervene but was given "automatic" leave to intervene in both motions in the "private" action and used this intervener status to argue (in the person of lawyer Peter Doody) against Hickey and then to claim costs against Hickey for having forced it to argue against Hickey.

St. Lewis (via her lawyer Richard Dearden), whose legal costs are entirely paid by the University of Ottawa, also seeks costs against Hickey, at a punitive level, for having forced her to argue against Hickey's request to have his say.

Justice Robert Smith ruled that Hickey did not satisfy the test to have his say on the matter of his (and public and media) access to court processes pursuant to the Charter. Justice Smith reasoned that Hickey's contribution to the "private" libel action would not serve justice.

“I do not find that Mr. Hickey has an interest or perspective different from the Defendant’s. The nature of the case is also a factor to be considered, and in this case it is a libel action between two individuals. I do not find that Mr. Hickey would make any useful contribution to the resolution of the dispute between Mr. Rancourt and Ms. St. Lewis, or make a useful contribution towards resolving the question of whether or not Leave to Appeal should be granted of Justice Beaudoin’s order or Master MacLeod’s order.”

“I also find that Mr. Hickey would not be adversely affected by the judgement in favour of either Ms. St. Lewis or the Defendant, Mr. Rancourt since this is a private dispute between two individuals.”
Smith J, March 28, 2012

Justice Smith also explained to Hickey, regarding costs, that an individual who attempts to intervene in a lawsuit must expect a certain financial risk which counters the costs imposed on the opposing parties.

St. Lewis and the university seek to hit the student with one third of his annual salary for asking to have his say about public access to a court process, as a citizen directly affected.

The university has a duty, enshrined in jurisprudence, to defend academic freedom.


As background, all related posts about the lawsuit are HERE.

Links to all pleadings and court documents in the lawsuit are HERE.

A Law Times media article about the lawsuit is HERE.
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Friday, March 23, 2012

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: Responding Factums filed, Joseph Hickey intervenes for public and media on open court motion Leave to Appeal


Elected University of Ottawa Senate Member and physics graduate student Joseph Hickey has filed a Motion Record and a Factum as an affected-person intervening member of the public and media in the Defendant's (Rancourt) motion for leave to appeal a judge's decision to not allow an open court motion to be heard on it merits.

2012-03-22::: Motion-9 -- Plaintiff's lawyer's Factum (Richard Dearden): HERE-Factum.

2012-03-22::: Motion-9 -- University's lawyer's Motion Record and Factum (Peter Doody): HERE-Motion-Record, HERE-Factum.

2012-03-22::: Motion-9 -- Intervener Joseph Hickey's Motion Record and Factum filed: HERE-Motion-Record, HERE-Factum. And Hickey's report: HERE.


The public in-court judicial hearing of the arguments for and against granting leave to appeal will be held at 10:00 AM, March 28, 2012, at the Elgin Street Courthouse, Ottawa.

The central issue is whether court proceedings such as the cross-examinations of the submitted evidence of university president Allan Rock and common law dean Bruce Feldthusen will be public (with media access) or strictly private.

The first matter is for an appeal to be granted towards allowing the arguments for and against public access to be heard.


As background, all related posts about the lawsuit are HERE.

Links to all pleadings and court documents in the lawsuit are HERE.

A Law Times media article about the lawsuit is HERE.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: Rancourt's Factum filed, motion for Leave to Appeal the Case Conference decision on the open court motion


A factum is a presentation of one's legal arguments.

In a motion for Leave to Appeal a judge's decision, a factum is required.

Rancourt's factum for his motion for Leave to Appeal the case conference judge's decision to not schedule or allow his open court motion was filed on March 19, 2012 and is HERE-LINK.

All court-filed documents are public by virtue of the open court principle which is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The motion will be heard at 10:00AM on March 28, 2012 at the Elgin Street Court House in Ottawa. The hearing is open to the public and media, by virtue of the open court principle which is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The court transcript of the February 8, 2012 Case Conference hearing in question is HERE-LINK. The transcript of the case conference is accessible and can be made public by virtue of the open court principle which is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Civil Liberties Association, National Capital Region's statement about Rancourt's open court motion is HERE-LINK.

The University of Ottawa president is refusing that his cross-examination on his affidavit evidence about how university public funds are being used to finance the litigation be accessible to the public and media. See his affidavit evidence HERE-LINK (at page number "34"). The Plaintiff through her lawyer is arguing that the open court principle does not apply to cross-examinations of affidavit evidence which itself is public.


As background, all related posts about the lawsuit are HERE.

Links to all pleadings and court documents in the lawsuit are HERE.

A Law Times media article about the lawsuit is HERE.
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Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: U of O Senate shuts down rather than discuss open court principle

Is it the governing academic body at "Canada's university" or is it a lemonade stand?


Two elected Members of the University of Ottawa Senate duly submitted a motion to their Senate -- the highest governing body of the institution on all academic and freedom of expression matters -- to discuss the open court motion submitted to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice which would make the anticipated cross-examination of U of O president Allan Rock open to the public and media, regarding why the President decided to fund plaintiff Joanne St. Lewis' private litigation against defendant Denis Rancourt.

Instead of adding the Senate motion to the agenda, as required by the rules, VP-Governance Diane Davidson, an outsider hand-picked by Allan Rock, decided instead to simply shut down Senate and not have the April meeting of the institution's largest and most significant democratic body.

Davidson justified her move by asserting that the courts had already ruled on the open court principle as it applies to cross-examinations, in contradiction to a recent Statement from the Civil Liberties Association, National Capital Region:



Of course Davidson's "reason" is just bad lemonade because: (1) the Court allows the cross-examinations to be public if both sides agree, and (2) the Court's decision in question is scheduled for leave to appeal.

This follows the recent sudden departure without notice or explanation of second-in-command VP-Academic Francois Houle, to which the academic community's response was... deafening silence.

Not democracy's finest hour at the institution once known for integrity and institutional continuity.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: 'Open court principle' appeal to be heard


Main updates in the Joanne St. Lewis v. Denis Rancourt lawsuit include:


(1) Self-represented Rancourt is advancing a motion to stay or dismiss the action as an abuse of process, the so-called "champerty motion".


(2) As next steps in the "champerty motion" Rancourt will cross-examine:
  • U of O President Allan Rock
  • U of O Chairman of the BOG Robert Giroux
  • U of O Dean of Common Law Bruce Feldthusen
  • Ottawa lawyer Celine Delorme
[Cross-examination dates to be set by a judge, see below.]
The University volunteered Rock as the person who directly made the funding decision, after Rancourt proposed to summon Rock as a witness. The Court offered the University an occasion to move that Rancourt's summons to Giroux be quashed but the University declined the offer.

(3) Rancourt has advanced an "open court motion" seeking that all the cross-examinations be open to the public and media.


(4) Rancourt's "open court motion" was quashed by a judge on February 8, 2012.


(5) Rancourt filed a motion for leave to appeal the judge's decision to reject the open court motion and called on the Regional Chief Justice to schedule the appeal prior to the cross-examinations.


(6) The cross-examination schedule was stayed in order for the motion for leave to appeal to be heard in court on March 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM at the Elgin Street Court House. All court proceedings are bilingual, following Rancourt's request to exercise his language rights.


(7) Civil society is reacting to the open court proposal:

The Civil Liberties Association - National Capital Region (CLA-NCR) has published a statement in favour of Rancourt's open court motion: HERE.

University of Ottawa Senate Member Hazel Gashoka has publicly called on Allan Rock to stop refusing a public cross-examination on the question of his decision to finance the St. Lewis litigation against Rancourt: HERE.



As background, all related posts about the lawsuit are HERE.

Links to all pleadings and court documents in the lawsuit are HERE.

A Law Times media article about the lawsuit is HERE.
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Student in battle with U of O over his currency proposal -- METRO News



JESSICA SMITH
METRO NEWS
Published: March 12, 2012 11:39 p.m.

A University of Ottawa student was found guilty Monday of escaping lawful custody in April after he ran away from campus security guards onto an OC Transpo bus while handcuffed.

Marc Kelly has had a series of disputes with the university. In April, he was apprehended for trespassing, at which point he ran away.

“I fled the security guards to try to reach the police before they did,” he said, adding that it was to stop the guards from lying to police about him.

He was charged with mischief, breaching the peace and escaping lawful custody, but the first two charges were dropped, he said.

The judge in his trial heard about his “Blinky Blinkies” — a form of currency similar to the Internet-based currency Bitcoin — because security guards testified that he was throwing them to a crowd of students when he was arrested.

“It’s decentralized, it’s not controlled by the banks,” he said, describing the currency as electronic light pulses. “It’s an innovative idea of replacing money on campus with a campus-specific currency that would enable a market independent of society. It’s one possible solution to eradicating tuition fees.”

Since his arrest, Kelly has been banned from contacting U of O students, faculty and staff because he has developed a mass-email system that he has used to contact them about various things, including his currency, he said.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Faculty for Palestine (Canada) calls for action to redress the Allan Rock administration


Today Faculty for Palestine put out this call:


*URGENT CALL FOR SOLIDARITY: UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA TRIES TO SILENCE SOLIDARITY FOR PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS (SPHR) AND WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!*

Defend the right to critical discussion around Israeli apartheid on our campuses! Call on the University of Ottawa Administration to uphold free expression and follow clear and transparent procedures.

On March 5th, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) 2012 opened at the University of Ottawa to a packed room, as students, faculty, and community members were treated to an informative lecture entitled “Arab Spring, Apartheid Falls? The Egyptian Uprising and Possibilities for Palestinian Resistance.” It featured an Egyptian activist who played an important role in the revolution that overthrew the Egyptian dictatorship, as well as a community activist from Montreal (for full schedule, see: http://ottawa.apartheidweek.org/).

Moreover, two students from the organizing committee were harassed by unidentified individuals, who on several occasions attempted to intimidate SPHR and Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) just outside the lecture hall during the event.

On March 6th, a member of SPHR received an email from Conventions and Reservations Services at the University of Ottawa telling her that their room booking for Thursday’s Keynote IAW event is now “on hold”, that SPHR “may not continue with this event for now”, and that SPHR's contract was being forwarded to “Protection Service for evaluation.” These heavy-handed measures are because of an unnamed “incident” that supposedly occurred at Monday’s event. When members of SPHR met with the University administration, they were not told what this “incident” was (see below for full email from U of O). The very fact that the organizers were put in a situation, where their event was threatened with cancellation, is a form of intimidation from the University of Ottawa administration.

In 2009, the Administrations at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University banned the international-used IAW poster, gaining national and international headlines. SPHR and SAIA see today's email as another attempt to silence the voices of students who advocate for Palestinian human rights. When the IAW poster was banned in 2009, we stood up and fought back with all of your support.


In response to this email:

Email sent to SPHR from University of Ottawa:

Hello [SPHR member],

Following the incident that occurred during your event in Fauteux 147A on March 5th 2012, your event scheduled for March 8th in Hagen 302 from 18:00 to 23:00 is on hold therefore in ``Pending`` mode. You may not continue with this event for now. Also, I urgently need you to provide the name of the speaker(s) who spoke on the 5th of March as well as the ones that are scheduled to speak on the 8th of March 2012 in Hagen 302. This information needs to be provided to me no later than today. Also, I am forwarding your contract to Protection Services for evaluation. Again, you may not proceed with your event in Hagen 302 on the 8th of March until I confirm.

Please respond to this email promptly

Martin Bergeron
Agent de coordination, Coordination agent
Service de congrès et réservations / Conventions and Reservations Service

UofOWatch Note: The last time this happened the CCLA wrote THIS stern letter of reprimand to Allan Rock. This time, the CCLA boss is Nathalie Des Rosiers, whose salary is paid by the University of Ottawa.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rancourt exige des contre-interrogatoires publics -- La Rotonde


The St. Lewis v. Rancourt litigation was covered in the University of Ottawa French-language student newspaper La Rotonde:

Rancourt exige des contre-interrogatoires publics -- La Rotonde

The article is mostly about Rancourt's open court motion to require that all out-of-court cross-examinations be public; starting with Rancourt's motion to stay the action on the basis of an alleged champertous relationship between the plaintiff and the University of Ottawa which is entirely financing St. Lewis' lawsuit.

St. Lewis' lawyer Richard Dearden is quoted in part as saying (translated from the French):

"Cross-examinations are private. I have never, never, never heard of a public cross-examination."

Both president Allan Rock and chair of the Board of Governors Robert Giroux are to be examined by Rancourt regarding the champerty charge.


As background, all related posts about the lawsuit are HERE.

Links to all pleadings and court documents in the lawsuit are HERE.

A Law Times media article about the lawsuit is HERE.
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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Former USA Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney at University of Ottawa


Former USA Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney led a Black History Month workshop in the Rotunda of Tabaret Hall at the University of Ottawa on February 27, 2012, 7pm to 10pm.

The event was sponsored by PSAC. Co-organizers Hazel Gashoka and Jean-Marie Vianney were highly pleased with the depth and quality of the event. McKinney stressed a multicultural mosaic of allies to fight racism at the University of Ottawa. She showed awareness of local issues and brought her vast experience into play in catalyzing a search for answers.

Shamefully, university president Allan Rock was "out of the country" and left the organizers with the impression that he supported the event while his chief of staff was not even able to provide chairs. The university did provide security, following some Jewish Student Association attempts to intimidate Gashoka away from the event. McKinney is a known critic of Israeli policy against Palestinian rights.

The entire event has been posted in nine parts on YouTube:
http://youtu.be/gLkeghEDMBo

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tribunal hearing DAYS-5-6-7 in Rancourt's wrongful dismissal case


Hearings before a binding labour arbitration tribunal are on-going in the wrongful dismissal case of tenured full professor Denis Rancourt at the University of Ottawa.

Rancourt was fired using the pretext that he assigned fraudulent grades to all 23 students in one advanced physics course in 2008: It is the on-the-record position of Rancourt's union that the grades allegation was a pretext to remove Rancourt and that the dismissal was done in bad faith.

The particulars of university bad faith advanced by the union include:
  • an extended covert information gathering campaign against Rancourt and students,
  • a defamation lawsuit against Rancourt funded by the University,
  • the removal of Rancourt from all the large introductory courses that he developed,
  • a refusal to assign any teaching to Rancourt,
  • barring Rancourt from his students and from campus using police,
  • barring Rancourt and his students from their laboratory and removing essential materials from the laboratory, and
  • refusal to accept document submissions in Rancourt's defense.

Rancourt's documented chronology of the events leading to his dismissal is HERE-LINK.

There have been seven hearing days to date and eight more hearing days are scheduled into May 2012. See the hearings schedule and reports HERE-LINK. See all U of O Watch posts about the hearings HERE-LINK.

On DAYS-5-6 (January 23-24, 2012) the University presented evidence from two student witnesses from the 2008 course in question, followed by cross-examinations and redirect-examinations of the witnesses.

On DAY-7 (February 21, 2012) there was a full day of evidence from the University's main witness, former dean of the faculty of science Andre E. Lalonde. The dean's evidence is expected to continue for at least another full day, followed by cross-examination.

The dean described his relationship with the griever since 1987, including his observations about the griever's career path and evolution towards environmental science and broad societal concerns. He described the creation of the "activism course" (SCI 1101, Science and Society) and his desire to have this course created and approved for professor Rancourt to "explore the consequences of science and technology on our society".

The dean went on to describe how he disciplined Rancourt for "not respecting the intent of the course"; despite Rancourt's responses to the contrary and without ever attending class or performing a teaching evaluation as foreseen in the union rules (collective agreement) and without any student or other complaints.

The latter testimony is part of two grievances being determined along with the main dismissal grievance, as part of the same binding labour arbitration.

All the tribunal hearings are open to the public and media. See schedule and location HERE-LINK.

Friday, February 24, 2012

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: An array of motions aligned


Some updates in the Joanne St. Lewis v. Denis Rancourt defamation lawsuit are as follows.

A chronological list of Court documents is HERE.


After Mandatory Mediation the Plaintiff (St. Lewis) served a motion to force summary judgement and to stop examinations for discovery.

The motion hearing resulted in the case being assigned by consent to Case Management. The Plaintiff dropped her summary judgement demand and now wants a 7 to 10 day trial.

The Plaintiff stopped opposing discovery and now wants discovery in parallel with a Defendant's (Rancourt) motion to stay or dismiss the action.

The Defendant's motion to stay or dismiss is based on alleged maintenance and champerty; or improper funding by the University of Ottawa of the Plaintiff's private lawsuit.

In opposing the champerty motion, university president Allan Rock has provided an affidavit (see 2012-02-21 entry HERE) explaining that he made the decision to fund the Plaintiff's legal costs to sue Rancourt.

The dean of the faculty of common law Bruce Feldthusen has provided an affidavit explaining his role (HERE).

The Plaintiff has provided an affidavit (HERE) explaining how she obtained university funding and why she wants Rancourt to pay $125 thousand in punitive costs to a university scholarship:

"The reason I will donate half of any punitive damages that may be awarded against the Defendant to the Danny Glover Routes To Freedom Graduate Law Student Scholarship fund is to create a record that the Defendant was held to account to the Black community for his destructive use of Black History Month and for his racial slur that I acted as a "house negro" to the President of the University of Ottawa."

All affiants are expected to be cross-examined out-of-court before an officer of the Court.

Rancourt has served a motion (HERE) for the out-of-court cross-examinations to be subject to the open court principle guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This would give public and media access to all out-of-court examinations of affiants and witnesses.

The Case Management Judge did not allow Rancourt's open court motion to be filed with the Court and heard on its merits: Judge's decision HERE.

Rancourt has asked for Leave to Appeal the Judge's decision: HERE.

Rancourt has filed a motion (HERE) to stay all out-of-court cross-examinations until his appeal for open court is determined.

Oh, and the University of Ottawa has been granted party status to intervene in Rancourt's champerty motion. Self-represented Rancourt is therefore opposed by two legal teams from two of the largest law firms in Canada, all paid for with student tuition and public money, in the interest of access to justice.

See the chronological list of Court documents HERE.


As background, all related posts about the lawsuit are HERE.

Links to all pleadings and court documents in the lawsuit are HERE.

A Law Times media article about the lawsuit is HERE.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Telfer of U of O fame named in Fraud probe


CEO Ian Telfer gave $25 million to U of O under university president Gilles Patry's reign, hence the "Telfer School of Management". Related background link: HERE.

February 7, 2012 Toronto Star article:

The OSC (Ontario Securities Commission) will not investigate allegations of health and environmental harms, human rights violations and repression caused directly or indirectly by companies like Goldcorp and Hudbay. However, the OSC will investigate - in defense of the "public interest" - the sharing of insider information. What is supposedly of the "public interest" and of concern to law-makers and investors are not harms and violations caused by mining companies against other people, far away, but improperly sharing investor information.

Source: www.rightsaction.org