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, July 21, 2013

U of O linked to a benefactor with neo-Nazi ties

In 2009, following a series of show panels personally organized and hosted by university president Allan Rock, there was to be a comprehensive "donor recognition" policy at the University of Ottawa. The President's promise went like this:

"Diane Davidson, our Vice-President, Governance, will be preparing a draft policy and sending it out for consultation and reactions in the weeks to come. We will be looking for your opinion and suggestions, so that we can develop and adopt a policy that is in the best interests of the University."(LINK)

To our knowledge, no such policy was ever brought to the university community for "consultation and reactions". Instead, the President's entire originally public web-site (http://www.president.uottawa.ca) is now locked and only accessible via a password.

Here it was, as reported on October 14, 2009, by the student newspaper The Fulcrum:

U of O President Allan Rock mentioned that a committee will be created to address the issue. It will be in charge of coming up with guidelines on how to deal with recognition and encouraging transparency through student and community involvement. [really?]

According to Rock, a donation needs to be extremely generous for the amount of time a name is kept on a building. [umm humm, and how generous does it need to be to be an anonymous donation...?]

In an email to the Fulcrum, Beaulière [elected graduate student executive member] reinforced his thoughts on donor recognition.

“One thing was clear at the end of the panel discussion: it is high time the University of Ottawa adopts a policy that will render the naming process transparent, truly collegial, as well as representative of the values of its community.” [Comments by UofOWatch]

Not only was a proper policy for donors and benefactors not transparently developed and adopted, but, instead, all this was followed, in 2010, by a "U of O anonymous research chair for ethical management", no less.

Now, recently, it has come to light in a CBC media report that the University of Ottawa, under President Allan Rock's watch, has a benefactor who allegedly had intimate ties with a large US neo-Nazi organization:

American neo-Nazi group to get part of Ottawa exhibit (link)
CBCNews, June 29, 2013

Indeed, the benefactor willed a $1 million collection housed in the University of Ottawa classical antiquity museum to the said neo-Nazi organization, which theorizes about creating an all-white society without Jews and non-whites.

Following the media disclosure, according to the CBC video, the University stated that "the collection can be packed up and removed whenever [the lawyer executing the will] wants".

President Rock had a good initiative back in 2009, to create a donor policy with ethical guidelines and transparency, then he suddenly abandoned this important consultation, and then his president's web site and his personal "Rock Talk" blog went into hiding, it would seem? (The contents of these sites can no longer be accessed by the public.)

The end result for U of O is no policy and no transparency. More and more it looks like any money will do, with any degree of secrecy wanted.

Would it not be time for a thorough independent and transparent review of donors, benefactors, and partners of the University of Ottawa? The public, alumni, staff, and students are entitled to know all the contracts, terms of reference, and deals that tie the publicly funded institution to outside money. No?

Along those lines, what is the "University of Ottawa Foundation" and what does it do? How is its mission linked to the University's statutory obligations? Where are its annual audit reports on the U of O web site?

Why did Mr. Rock decide in 2009 to change his course and instead to gamble with the institution's reputation by not transparently developing an ethical donor and benefactor policy, which the entire University community (including himself?) wanted? What's up with that?


Anonymous said...

"Why did Mr. Rock decide in 2009 to change his course and instead to gamble with the institution's reputation ..."

You first need to have reputation before you can gamble it away.

Denis Rancourt said...

I think that Mr. Rock deserves far more credit than you are willing to grant him. He has gathered his team from the outside and he does what he wants with the institution. There has never been a peep from the Board of Governors. Most students, staff, and alumni could not even name the Chair of the BOG. The BOG members gather when told to, and they look at what they are told to look at, as far as I can tell.