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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Profs at the University of Ottawa vote 82% in favor of strike mandate

From the professors' union web site, regarding today's strike vote:


Members have voted 82% in favour of authorizing the Executive Committee to call a strike if necessary. 691 ballots were cast, 563 voted “Yes,” 127 voted “No,” with one spoiled ballot.

The APUO remains committed to negotiating a fair deal that promotes the quality of education and fair working conditions at the university. Mediation is scheduled for August 3rd and 4th.

We sincerely thank our members, our union partners on campus, and student associations for this strong show of support.

The Executive Committee

Profs' union at U of O files application to the Ministry of Labour: Seeks an order and award of damages

The University of Ottawa is arguably experiencing its most tense labour relations circumstances in its institutional history. The professors' union finds itself forced to sue the institution in order to recover the rule of law...

On July 29, 2013, the professors' union (APUO) had this to say to its members:

Dear APUO members,

Throughout these negotiations, the APUO believes that the employer has acted in many ways that contravene both the spirit and the letter the Ontario Labour Relations Act. Such actions have included stating false information; refusing to share data they are legally obligated to release; communicating in ways that constitute attempts to negotiate directly with the membership; and now, seeking to intimidate members in order to influence the strike mandate vote planned for July 31.

Since the beginning of this process, it has been clear to the APUO that the employer has been using its vast institutional resources to wage a battle against members and the APUO. Up to this point, the APUO has assumed that members would prefer that we focus on negotiations rather than use the legal system to respond to the employer’s unacceptable actions. We had also hoped that, even if the employer continued its dishonourable actions, it would have at least ceased the ones we believe to be unlawful.

As you all know by now, this has not been the case. With its communications on Thursday and Friday of last week, the APUO can no longer ignore the issue. Peter Simpson (one of CAUT’s most seasoned advisers with more than 20 years experience) said that the employer’s communication was “unprecedented” in his experience, and that “it is hard to read it as something other than an attempt to interfere in the union’s credibility and its communications with its members ahead of a strike vote”.

Therefore, this morning the APUO has responded in the only way possible under the Ontario labour law. We have filed an application to the Ministry of Labour requesting that it (a) investigate the employer’s violations of the Ontario Labour Relations Act; (b) force the employer to disclose information required by the APUO for bargaining and insist that the employer respect the law regarding its communications; and (c) award the APUO damages to compensate for the employer’s illegal activity. You can find more detailed information about this in the Bargaining Bulletin #9.
and continued HERE.

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?