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 29, 2015

Gee-Gees hockey team has a new head coach, no players yet


At today's press conference, a nervous new head coach, Patrick Grandmaitre, said he wants to "establish a continuity of success". Too late for that.

Grandmaitre also said he wants to produce "good-character people". Hopefully these well-produced people will not later behave like Allan Rock who was willing to summarily throw an entire team under the bus, goalie, jerzees, and all.

From the media report:
The Gee-Gees hockey team dates back to 1889, some 125 years of ‘Garnet and Grey,’ mostly quality programs at this quality post-secondary institution – all of which came crashing to the ground when a couple of players were criminally charged in connection to an alleged sexual assault in Thunder Bay in February 2014.

In a classic example of over-reacting to a public scandal, the entire hockey program was shut down for the remainder of the 2013-14 season and all of 2014-15; innocent players paying the price of having university careers radically altered or prematurely ended.

A year and a half later, there is still no resolution in the criminal matter, and a class action lawsuit has been brought against the school. Stay tuned for developments.

Meanwhile, out of the ashes of this scorched earth comes the relaunch presented Wednesday: a fresh-faced new coach named Patrick Grandmaitre and a public boost from some high-profile hockey people in Jacques Martin, the former Senators head coach and Cyril Leeder, president of the Senators.
Scanlan: Gee-Gees relaunch hockey, with a boost from Martin and Leeder
Wayne Scanlan, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: July 29, 2015 | Last Updated: July 29, 2015 5:22 PM EDT

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Professors' union rebukes U of O for irresponsible increases in executive salaries

Jennifer Dekker, President, APUO (professors' union)

The University of Ottawa, under the control of Allan Rock, has been exposed by its employee unions for playing an unethical "shell game" to cover up an alleged illegal and arbitrary salary increase. This is the opposite of sound public management. It is the kind of thing political parties are known for, not publicly funded service institutions.

The matter was initiated with THIS open letter, and developed as reported here:

“We don’t accept it as a valid argument,” said Jennifer Dekker, president of the APUO, which represents 1,250 employees at the university, including professors, counsellors and librarians.

“When she was originally hired as vice-president of research, one would expect that her portfolio as a researcher would have been taken into account in her terms of offer,” said Dekker. “And so to say that she’s getting an extra stipend for doing things that would normally be expected of a (vice-president of research) doesn’t make sense to us.”

The university declined requests for interviews with Nemer and the board of governors’ chair.

The Association of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa, the Support Staff University of Ottawa and the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 2626 also stand behind the APUO’s position.

In a open letter published July 16, the APUO alleged that Nemer’s annual stipend was paid out in a lump sum “retroactively during a period of wage and benefit freeze” for university vice-presidents, contrary to the Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures).

“I would characterize it as a shell game,” said Dekker. “The money obviously all comes from the same source and goes to the same source.”

She said what Nemer earned last year “far exceeds” what senior university executives ought to be paid per year. And she said the extra yearly payments are troubling amid the administration’s “rhetoric” about a structural financial challenge at the university, claims the APUO disputes.


Professors' union rebukes University of Ottawa over 'redundant' pay for top exec

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Allan Rock is lucky to dodge this bullet, for the suspension decision was an unjust and irrational response to the known facts--National Post

Barbara Kay, National Post
July 15, 2015

... As a case in point, you may recall that in 2014, when two players from the University of Ottawa hockey team were charged with one count of sexual assault each while partying during a trip to Thunder Bay, the whole team was suspended and the rest of their season cancelled. Twenty-four team members, who had nothing to do with the incriminating sexual incidents, are seeking a combined $6 million for damage to their reputations.

The U of Ottawa sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, but an Ontario court has just found that the suit’s claims that the school was negligent are admissible for trial, and also found the decision to suspend the hockey team was outside the university’s broad discretion to manage academic affairs.

The proposed suit would have charged U of Ottawa president Allan Rock with malfeasance in public office, but the court ruled the charge was not sustainable. Rock is lucky to dodge this bullet, for the suspension decision is down to him in the end, and it was an unjust and irrational response to the known facts surrounding the sexual incidents. ...

Use the labels below to find all related blogposts.

Alan Rock has had a long career of dodging "ethically challenged" bullets, both in parliament and on campus. See partial and not-up-to-date list HERE.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hockey players can sue U of O, judge rules, BUT...

Hockey players can sue U of O, judge rules

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Allan Rock's legacy will include dismantling the graduate school at U of O

The process is already well under way.

A committee convened by VP-Research Mona Nemer recommended in 2014 that the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS), responsible for all graduate degree standards and professional standards of post-doctoral researchers across all disciplines, be dismantled, basically to save money and allow more home-faculty control without campus-wide oversight of individual graduate student and post-doctoral fellow standards.

The committee's 14-page report was accompanied by a 14-page minority report penned by committee member Timothy J. Stanley. Both reports (dated July and August 2014) and a cover letter are HERE.

The main-committee recommendations are surprising because virtually every major research university in Canada has a "graduate school", which, at the U of O, is called the FGPS.

If this is to save money, then one has to wonder why the university has been wasting money throughout its entire modern research history, and did not get this idea before?

If it is to allow more control by the field-specific faculties, then one has to question the wisdom of such a move in an environment of "publish or perish", and in view of the systemic tendencies of research professors to exploit graduate students and post-doctoral researchers as cheap labour in the publication mill.

The recommendations have a smell of being half-baked and give off an odor of "we know best how to treat our students".

In addition, the minority report is damning, and is written by the highly informed interim dean of the FGPS. Stanley denounces the main-report as being misguided, and points out that its recommendations are not evidence-based (there you go, typical Allan Rock program). Stanley warns of several specific and significant negative consequences, and urges the administration to give more weight to the voices of those who know what the FGPS actually does, rather than those who have no idea.

In addition, the graduate student union (GSAED) has formally opposed the main-report recommendations, based on the union's broad experience of graduate student grievances.

This is all being done under the watchful eye of a president (Allan Rock) who does not have a graduate degree (as opposed to a professional degree) and who has never attended a graduate program or done post-doctoral research (one needs a PhD for that).

But guess what? The Rock machine is pushing ahead with the plan, rubber stamped by an obedient Senate (minority student representation), and an obedient (and clueless) Board of Governors. This will be part of Allan Rock's legacy at the University of Ottawa. Allan Rock's final term ends July 2016, and he will stay to train the next guy or woman (in evidence-free management, no doubt).

Christian Detellier suddenly departs after a single term as second boss man at U of O

The July 8, 2015, uOttawa Gazette announced after-the-fact that Christian Detellier's mandate as VP-Academic (second in command below Allan Rock) ended on June 30, 2015: LINK.

Allan Rock will have seen four (4) different second boss mans during his watch: Robert Major, Francois Houle, Christian Detellier, and whoever Rock will name next.

This is the second unannounced sudden departure of a VP-Academic under Rock. Houle was suddenly paid out in mid-mandate over a dispute about the institution's bilingualism, and following the Ann Coulter media fiasco in which Rock hid the truth that he had asked Houle to write the controversial letter of threat to Coulter, until everything was disclosed via access to information as reported by the National Post.

The VP-Academic position tends to be the only position in which Rock can't simply parachute someone in from outside the institution, as he has hand picked everyone.

Detellier's sudden departure, without a search for a new VP-Academic having been announced prior to the departure, follows a June 9th CBC News report that Christian Detellier may have been unfair to students: LINK.

Detellier said: "I have research grants and contracts, including an NSERC Discovery grant, until July 2017, when I will retire." (Gazette)

In any case, word in the halls has it that Detellier was not particularly on top of things, and that the real doer was his chief of staff Ms. Rachel Ouellette.

Rancourt loses Ontario appeal in defamation case

The decision of the Court of Appeal for Ontario was released on July 8, 2015, and is posted on CanLII here:

St. Lewis v. Rancourt, 2015 ONCA 513 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/gjxxd>

The Court of Appeal's rendition can be compared with the appeal factums of the two parties:

  • Rancourt's (Appellant's) factum: LINK
  • St. Lewis's (Respondent's) factum: LINK
  • And with the Appellant's court-filed Notice of Constitutional Question: LINK

The summary of Rancourt's factum, on its page-1, is:

In this defamation trial, among other errors, the judge circumvented the jury by saying that the defendant (a blogger) had “no defence”. The judge said: “The defendant here has not introduced any evidence establishing a defence. Therefore, there is no defence for you to consider.” In fact, the defendant had explained his defences to the jury on the first day of trial and more than sufficient evidence to establish his defences was entered by the plaintiff while the defendant was present.

The media reports are based on a reading of the Court of Appeal's decision:

Ex-U of O prof loses defamation appeal