On June 3, 2008, former Canadian politician/UN
ambassador/pro-Israeli flack Allan Rock became U of O president.
His administration's marked by secrecy, political censorship, abuse
of students and faculty, and repudiation of fundamental university
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association reprimanded him for banning
an Israeli Apartheid Week poster. He then pressured a student union
president into distancing the organization from the student-run
Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG). It opposes
repressive Israeli practices as do growing millions.
In September 2008, Rock got the Executive Committee of the Board of
Governors (EBOG) to suspend tenured Professor Denis Rancourt. In
December, he recommended dismissing him and barring him from campus.
In March 2009, he fired him for his principled stand on
Israel/Palestine, but blamed it on his creative teaching methods.
Rancourt is a distinguished physics professor, a recognized expert
in his field, and a "phenomenal teacher" according to members of the
Environmental Studies Student Association.
Its members said he provided an "extremely enriching
individualized.... empower(ing and) positive learning environment
where inspired students gained confidence and courage."
Yet Rock twisted his innovate pedagogical approach and grading
methods as pretext to fire him. He then ordered campus police to ban
and remove him from campus, assigned his graduate students to other
faculty members, fired his post doctoral research fellow, and
summarily dismissed him without cause.
That's how despots operate. Under Rock, U of O is more police state
than university. As a result, education and learning suffer.
Ironically, U of O's Vision 2010 claims it "Support(s) and
recognize(s) initiatives designed to implement a range of new and
diversified strategies for learning and evaluation."
Rancourt wanted U of O pedagogically improved and more democratic.
He also advocated effectively on environmental concerns,
professional ethics, lobbying, media influence, and the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In response, university officials
silenced him by banishment.
In addition, Freedom of Information (FOI) documents showed he was
victimized by intense illegal surveillance. A student spy and
professional reporters were enlisted to produce transcripts of his
academic and professional talks at other universities to use against
Most likely, it was the first time a university used a student to
spy on a professor and like-minded students in violation of Canadian
and international law.
Under Rock, U of O is a hotbed of autocratic extremism. It's also
racist, according to a November 2011 lawsuit. A January 30, 2012
press release explained, saying:
"Dr. Waleed AlGhaithy (Neurosurgery Residency Program, University of
Ottawa), Dr. Khalid Aba-Alkhail (Cardiac Surgery Residency Program)
and Dr. Manal Al-Saigh (same) have filed a joint action against the
University of Ottawa and several of its officials."
Those charged include Dr. Jacques Bradwejn (Dean of the Faculty of
Medicine), Dr. James Worthington (Ottawa Hospital's Vice President
of Medical Affairs and Patient Safety), Dr. Paul Bragg (Associate
Dean Postgraduate Medical Education), Dr. Eric Poulin (Chair of
Cardiac Surgery), Dr. Richard Moulton (Neurosurgery Chair), Dr.
Fraser Rubens (Cardiac Surgery Program Director), and Dr. John
Sinclair (former Neurosurgery Program Director.
Charges relate to university discrimination against foreign medical
students at both provincial and national levels. It also focuses
specifically on U of O abuses.
In spring 2011, plaintiffs held a press conference announcing a
Human Rights Complaint against U of O. Attorneys Douglas Christie
and Barbara Kulaszka represent them.
Their November 2011 lawsuit detailed charges explicitly and
extensively. For example, plaintiff Khalid Aba-Alkhail AlGhaithy
asked for $25 million in damages for wrongful dismissal and
violation of his freedom of expression under Section 2(b) of the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as Section 15(1),
pertaining to issues of equality, right to equal protection, as well
as benefits without discrimination.
Other charges included conspiracy to injure, public office
malfeasance, defamation, intimidation, breach of fiduciary duty,
negligence, breach of contract, U of O liability for negligence and
breach of contract, vicarious liability, and violations of the 1990
Human Rights Code.
Plaintiffs also said defendants treated them "in a high-handed and
oppressive manner. The conduct of the University and the individual
defendants described herein constitute such wanton and reckless
disregard of their professional duties, their contractual obligation
as well as their Charter obligations, and (have) caused such
devastating harm that an award of punitive and aggravated damages is
Damages plaintiffs suffered include loss of income, reputation,
mental distress and suffering (including depression and anxiety),
loss of future employment as surgeons, and loss of time and
opportunity to pursue other medical specialties.
A Toronto trial was requested. At issue is securing a neutral venue,
exposing U of O administration and faculty abuses, and assuring
justice is served. Nothing less is acceptable.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
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