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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Six more IPC rulings released against the University of Ottawa, in the last two months

Between January 16, 2014, and March 11, 2014, six more rulings of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Ontario have been released against the University of Ottawa.

No other university in Ontario has so many violations of access to information law.

Here is the list for that period alone:

Order PO-3294: University ordered to disclose all the records to the individual.

Order PO-3298: University ordered to require a named doctor to perform a search.

Order PO-3302: Adjudicator does not uphold the University's application for its exclusion on the alleged basis of "employment or labour relations".

Order PO-3312: University ordered to disclose 20 records that it was withholding.

Order PO-3314: University ordered to disclose 50% of the records that it was withholding.

Order PO-3318: University ordered to disclose all the responsive information in the withheld records.

To me, this suggests an institutional disregard for the law of access to information.

In my opinion, instead of using its discretion to promptly provide access to requested information, the university appears to be using constructive attempts to avoid its statutory obligations, and appears willing to fight lengthy and costly appeals to prevent being transparent with its students and the public.

It's not winning the appeals. But it is delaying fair access. Rather than using the law primarily to protect the privacy of individuals, the university is using the law to shield itself against needed institutional transparency.

As a result, individuals are being prevented from accessing their own personal information generated by and/or kept by the university, while others see their information improperly disclosed to political opponents.

Certainly an area where the U of O stands out. A culture of political-party-style management darkness coupled with irresponsible refusals to protect the information of its students and professors. For example, THIS, and THIS.

More to come before that particular culture changes... stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Law student Paula Frawus has correctly gauged the mind and motives of president Allan Rock on rape-culture -- Opinion

In our opinion, this (below) media article shows that law student Paula Frawus has correctly gauged the mind and motives of president Allan Rock and his administration regarding primacy of image over substance:

Sexually explicit song on University of Ottawa law school field trip draws fire -- Ottawa Citizen, march 18, 2014

“It is disappointing that it takes involving the media to get a statement from the administration” Krawus said, adding that the statement is geared toward the media as opposed to the student body.
But according to Krawus, the university’s fear of attracting bad publicity trumps a stance against sexist behaviour.

“In failing to apologize in a timely manner, the message (the administration) is sending is: We’re afraid of attracting bad press,” says Krawus, adding that “the message should be: what happened will not be tolerated at school sanctioned events.”

Additionally, our opinion is that rather than asking the institution to impose a "this expression will not be tolerated" stance or rule, the adult law students could have talked it out on the bus ride back from the sugar bush, as a first step. If not sufficient, then the discontent students could search to implement more venues to continue the talking out of the matter, possibly asking for institutional resources in seeking out such venues. The university ombudswoman could be of some assistance here.

If professors or staff were involved, then there is a formal complaint process, which foresees mediation at an early stage.

We fail to see how a knee jerk reaction of calling for immediate institutional reprimand or sanctions, without making a significant effort to communicate in view of improving relations and working out differences, is productive.

Nonetheless, there is hope that Mr. Rock might eventually, with the help of his hand picked rape-culture advisory committee (which excludes all unions and associations of staff and students), come to understand that his primary role should be to enable communication and learning through inter-personal exchanges, rather than to create a facade, and to delay while the media crisis dissipates. (His public relations advisers, hired at corporate rates, regularly give him this advice, as access to information records have shown.)

Or the advisory committee might unfortunately make the usual canned recommendations of more and required classroom training and courses, with just the right "curriculum" and Power Point presentations?

We are in a nasty place when the students themselves ask for institutional controls on thought and expression, rather than primarily dedicate themselves to making the community through rich and intense (also risky) interpersonal exchanges of all sorts. In community, the question and practice of crass or vulgar language needs to be continually discussed and challenged in each of its inter-personal contexts, not regulated from above.

The institution has removed the physical spaces where such exchanges can spontaneously and routinely occur, and regulates posters, classroom access, physical disposition of furniture, etc. There are no true agoras on campus. The institution has segregated students into different programs of study, and created demanding yet sterile curricula. It appears that the institution has succeeded in atomizing us all when students themselves demand more rules that stifle social confrontation and protect individual isolation and group segregation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Professor's union takes Rancourt arbitration to judicial review

The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) will challenge the Foisy arbitration of the university's unjust dismissal of Denis Rancourt by filing for judicial review before a panel of three judges of the Ontario Divisional Court.

The APUO's announcement was released on March 10, 2014, after careful consideration of the arbitration judgment, and reads:

The APUO is extremely disappointed in the decision rendered in Professor Denis Rancourt’s case. While the decision not only upheld the Employer’s unjust dismissal decision, the arbitrator also made some troubling statements concerning Academic Freedom which can have a profoundly negative impact on academics everywhere. APUO has filed for judicial review and will continue to work diligently on this case so the decision does not adversely affect the right to academic freedom of professors, librarians, and students in the university setting. (LINK)

This is the first time in APUO's history that an individual grievance is taken to judicial review. The Divisional Court is one of the busiest appellate courts in Canada, and it hears appeals from administrative tribunals such as labour arbitrations.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Grassroots community addresses rape culture at U of O -- U of O Watch comment

An ad hoc association of community members, union representatives, staff, and students has moved ahead and formed a campaign to address the rape culture at the University of Ottawa. It has produced eight recommendations for discussion, which are presented on its web site here:

Click image for link to web site

There is also a petition to support this discussion.

One of the organizers, Anaïs Elboujdaïni, graduate student representative on the Board of Governors of the institution,was interviewed today on Radio Canada (CBC) about this initiative.

Ms. Elboujdaïni stated that students have been asking president Allan Rock to move on this issue for a long time. For example, there has been the concrete demand for a telephone help line, and other requests.

Ms. Elboujdaïni stated that the recommendations were meant for immediate discussion in view of implementing measures before the start of the new academic year, and before initiation week, whereas Allan Rock's advisory committee can be going on in parallel and will not produce changes prior to the new academic year.

U of O Watch hopes that a broad and inclusive discussion will occur in which open criticisms of the recommendations can be heard without being excluded by insurmountable accusations of rape apologism. We hope that a discussion about effective or counter-productive aspects of the actual implementations of any recommendations can be vibrant, free, and receptive.

There is a broad criticism of the related and relevant theoretical construct known as "critical race theory" which should be heard and considered.

Rules, regulations, norms of behaviour, detecting atitudes, and so on, in view of behavioural modification, including normative modification of expression, can be highly counter productive. This is evident already in many systems of behaviour and expression suppression, such as implemented by several religions, and the state education system itself.

Therefore, less rules and more debate between individuals of differing view points is the way to go. Rules should be designed solely to limit the harmful effects of institutional oppression of the individual, not to limit individual expression and political participation.

Let us look at the best societal outcomes of the 1960s. This creative, liberating, and unifying period was the result of rejecting rules and rejecting parenting by the institution, in favour of teach ins and sit ins. We need to rediscover our power to discuss and debate without exclusionism and mobbing. The present institutional (education, legal, government, police, employers, etc.) pressures are so great that the individual has become insecure and highly defensive. The same pressures are at the root of male predation and rape culture. It's a pressure cooker. We must find ways to alleviate the pressure, without relying on paternal "protections" from the very institutions that are causing the problems. We must take some democratic control of those very institutions to limit their oppressions of individuals.

Those are some of this author's concerns.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Supreme Court of Canada refuses to address judicial bias -- Complaint to UN Human Rights Committee to follow

In a judgement released today, three judges of the Supreme Court of Canada joined seven judges from two lower courts, in refusing to address an evidence-based complaint of apparent bias of a judge in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

As a result, the bias complaint was never heard on merits in a court of competent jurisdiction and the allegedly tainted rulings stand, even the rulings made by the judge after he recused himself for actual bias moving forward.

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association released THIS response:

Release: Supreme Court of Canada refuses to address judicial bias loophole

(OTTAWA, March 6, 2014) – The Supreme Court of Canada has refused today to close a loophole that allows judges to circumvent their duty to address complaints of bias made against them by litigants.
Three judges of the Court dismissed a leave to appeal regarding an egregious case of apparent bias. A judge of the Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa had a financial and emotional connection with a party in a lawsuit, and a family connection with the law firm representing that party. When the defendant in the lawsuit requested to bring a motion regarding the judge’s appearance of bias, the judge threatened him with contempt of court, then abruptly withdrew from the case. Previous decisions made by the judge still stand and have never been reviewed in light of the bias allegations.
The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) intervened both by providing material witness evidence about the judge’s in-court conduct, and by seeking intervener status to address the national importance of the matter before the Supreme Court. Its motion for leave to intervene was denied, as was the applicant’s leave to appeal.
This opens a new era within the Canadian legal system, where judges can circumvent their duty to directly address bias accusations against them, making it possible for a complaint of bias to never be heard on its merits before a court of competent jurisdiction.
OCLA is taking the necessary steps to make a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee for violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees an impartial court to every litigant in signatory countries.
About the Ontario Civil Liberties Association
OCLA is an organization formed to defend civil liberties at a time when fundamental freedoms are subjected to systemic erosion in all spheres of social life. OCLA opposes institutional policies and decisions that remove from the individual his or her personal liberty or exclude the individual from participation in the democratic functions of society.
Background: An Ontario superior court judge had strong personal, family, emotional, and contractual financial ties to a party intervening for the plaintiff in the case, and also to the law firm representing the party in court, and did not disclose any of these ties. This party was also the employer of the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and funded the plaintiff’s litigation. The judge was tasked with determining the propriety of the party’s funding of the plaintiff, which was done with public money. The judge’s ties made it inconceivable that he would rule against the party. When the defendant discovered the judge’s ties and presented the evidence, the judge lost decorum, threatened the defendant with contempt of court, and recused himself, but refused to consider whether there was an appearance of bias, and continued to release decisions. The judge’s in-court reaction and walkout further confirmed his ties with the party in the lawsuit. The defendant raised the matter with six more judges, up to the court of appeal, but all of them refused to duly consider and properly apply the facts. As a result, all the decisions of the judge in the impugned motion to end the action stand to this day, even the decisions he released after recusing himself. [From: the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada of Dr. Denis Rancourt]

Allan Rock on rape culture at the University of Ottawa

Allan Rock has been silent and hiding from the media until today. His explanation is that "he had nothing to say until today", until today's press conference.

Michaëlle Jean essentially confirmed that there is a rape culture at the University of Ottawa, while clarifying that it is also a broader societal phenomenon.

Rock did not acknowledge any responsibility for the apparent rape culture at the school, and appeared to be in denial:

"Rock said he’s been involved with the school for over 50 years and recent events 'stand in shocking contrast' to what he’s experienced."(LINK)

Rock's answer is to create a "task force" that will make recommendations. There is no evidence of immediate interim measures, apart from having summarily suspended an entire hockey team.

Rock did not acknowledge the significant union and association joint efforts that have already occurred to address the crisis.

On the positive side, Rock appears to have received the student association message that academic sanctions for non-academic offenses will not be tolerated. Now he needs to tell his staff.

Anne-Marie Roy did not attend the press conference. No effort was made to expressly include the unions and associations as an integral part of any solution at the school. Corporate paternalism seems to be the order of the day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Male witches burn a lot less frequently

[Original title: Response to "University of Ottawa statement on comments made about Student Federation President"]

University of Ottawa statement on comments made about Student Federation President

OTTAWA, March 1, 2014  —  The University of Ottawa is appalled by the recent online dialogue about Anne-Marie Roy, President of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa.

uOttawa President Allan Rock spoke with SFUO President Roy directly on Friday to offer the University’s support and committed to work with her to develop an appropriate response.

“The comments demonstrate attitudes about women and sexual aggression that have no place on campus, or anywhere else in Canadian society” said Mr. Rock.  “The University will work with our student President to ensure the situation is addressed properly.”

The University of Ottawa is committed to maintaining a campus that promotes respect for the dignity of every individual and a University community that is free from sexual harassment and discrimination.

Allan Rock has stepped-in to "work with her" to "develop an appropriate response", and to "ensure the situation is addressed properly".

“The comments demonstrate attitudes about women and sexual aggression that have no place on campus, or anywhere else in Canadian society” said Mr. Rock.


There appears to be no consideration given to the fact that this was a private exchange that was made public against the will of the participants, and that a large public mobbing ensued, which caused irreparable damage to four elected student representatives, who are being burned as witches that practice "rape culture". And Allan Rock wants to be seen as providing the stage. (media links)

If we start using extracted private exchanges (i) as a measure of success in our social engineering endeavors, and (ii) to identify those worthy of punishment and banishment, then we are headed straight into a totalitarian nightmare.

Your staging, Mr. Rock, does not address the root of the problem, and only drives us further down the wrong path. Open dialogue, without the fear of crippling material and status punishments, is what is needed, combined with less institutional oppression of the students all-round (who are bored to death by meaningless demands, and who dare not try to have a say).

Generating fear of expression and of having bad thoughts only makes things worst Mr. Rock. It is a mess you could have helped defuse but instead you joined and encouraged the mob. U of O is developing mobbing as the ultimate social betterment tool, under your enlightened leadership. What a mess.

It's not an election with branding points to be made Mr. Rock. It's a campus for learning. Is that so difficult to understand? You can't fight "rape culture" with campaigns and threats. You have to speak to the hearts of men. D - I - A - L - O - G - U - E.