THIS SITE IS DEVOTED TO THE OTTAWA FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT

"Youth should be radical. Youth should demand change in the world. Youth should not accept the old order if the world is to move on. But the old orders should not be moved easily -- certainly not at the mere whim or behest of youth. There must be clash and if youth hasn't enough force or fervor to produce the clash the world grows stale and stagnant and sour in decay."

-William Allen White

THE NEWS FLOW

Oct. 20, 2009. Documents obtained by the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Email exchanges between President Allan Rock and publisher of the Ottawa Citizen Jim Orban reveal how the University of Ottawa controls the media.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The University of Ottawa's Administration Has Hijacked The Institution

On Sept 11 2008, at approximately 1h15, the Executive of the Board of Governors (EBOG), after holding a one-and-a-half hour meeting behind closed doors, barred from the public by force of several Protection Officers, ruled on the temporary suspension of Prof. Denis Rancourt. While the EBOG met in secrecy, Prof. Rancourt, and approximately 15 students, professors, and community members, stood outside of the glass wall at the entrance to the University's main governance facility in Tabaret Hall. Prof. Rancourt was prevented from attending, and prevented from speaking at, his own disciplinary meeting. Students, professors, and community members were prevented from observing the deliberation. The ruling has yet to be divulged.

Since Aug 20 2007, the University of Ottawa has been pursuing Prof. Rancourt for openly criticizing university activities and for publicly exposing unethical university governance with his internet blog uofowatch.blogspot.com. The University of Ottawa first attempted to coerce Prof. Rancourt into removing content from his blog with a private lawsuit threat issued by Vice President Victor Simon, then with a threat of "discipline up to and including termination of employment" issued by the Dean of the Faculty of Science Andre Lalonde. The University of Ottawa's official position is that Prof. Rancourt is violating a policy which states that "Images found on the University of Ottawa website are the sole property of the University of Ottawa. They may be used by faculty, staff, students and the news media solely for positive promotion of activities related to the University of Ottawa" and that "The images posted on the U of O watch blog site have not been used for positive promotion of activities related to the University of Ottawa." Prof. Rancourt explained on record that "Criticism is positive, healthy, and necessary to produce change. Congratulatory niceties only support the status quo. Not exposing known problems encourages their continuation. Criticism is vital work that needs to be encouraged rather than censored and attacked."

. . .



. . .

On Sept 11 2008, at 12h10, while the EBOG begins their deliberation, a press conference is held in the court yard outside of Morisset Library, where Prof. Rancourt voices himself to the crowd:

"This blog is part of my work as a University Professor. And the absolute legal proof of the fact that it is part of my work is the following: they couldn't discipline me if it wasn't part of my work. Now when a Professor does his or her work in this way, the University has a legal responsibility to support that work, and to support academic freedom in performing that work. And instead of doing that, they're trying to frustrate, they're trying to censor, and they're even going so far as to discipline -- my own Dean threatens to dismiss me outright."

"This blog should be celebrated. It is criticism of the institution itself. Its intent is to try to make things better. It goes to the heart of questions and of unethical behaviour. There are reports on that blog of Deans lying, of Vice Presidents falsifying documents, of the University closing public venues to the public and the students. There are reports of all kinds on that blog that are detailed, and that are supported by documents, and in fact, my defense is: truth. [...] This is the kind of inquiry and criticism that can improve the university, that can take it away from the administrators, who are acting like thugs."

"I think that I need to explain this to the Executive of the Board of Governors. I think they need to hear these things, and I think they need to hear my version of the logic, or the illogic, events that they're trying to put forward in order to discipline me. I think that I have a right to be heard at this meeting and I think that this meeting needs to be public, needs to be transparent, and so I'm going to go over there now and try make those arguments, try to be heard by the Executive of the Board itself. [...] If you want to accompany me, I'm going to argue to this committee that you, the public and students, should be allowed to hear this deliberation about the format of the meeting, and about transparency at the University of Ottawa, and about this discipline that they're trying to apply."

On Sept 11 2008, at 12h30, approximately 15 students, professors, and community members walk to Tabaret Hall to partake in the Executive of the Board of Governors meeting. Protection Officers are stationed at every door leading into the University's main governance facility, behind the glass wall. One of the doors is barricaded from the inside with a bicycle. Standing outside of the glass wall, Prof. Rancourt voices himself to the crowd once again:

"You have to realize that the meeting that is being held in here at this time is the meeting to decide whether or not I am to be disciplined. The proceeding is at the level of the highest authority here at the University of Ottawa. [...] I think it's a principle of natural justice, that at the final decision point at any kind of legal attack on a person, that the person is entitled to defend himself or herself in person, at that committee, or in front of that judge, and so on -- that's a fundamental principle of natural justice and it's being violated here today. The Board of Governors is normally a public board, it's supposed to operate transparently in our society, it governs one of the biggest, most important institutions in our society, and it's supposed to be public. It has given its authority temporarily on this question of discipline to the Executive of the Board, and the Executive of the Board refuses to be open to the public, refuses to see me, refuses to acknowledge my natural right to present my arguments, to even discuss the format of the meeting. This is where we're at at the University of Ottawa. This is the situation as we see it. That's how incredible it is. And this needs to be changed. And I think there is a movement afoot. A movement of a change. I think students and committee members, more and more, are going to see that this is not admissible, it's illogical, it doesn't make sense in a democratic society to behave this way."

"This administration needs to be brought down a notch, so that it can understand that this is a public institution, that it has rules, that is has a Board of Governors that needs to be listened to, that the Board of Governors is the highest authority (under the law and under the University of Ottawa Act 1965) and that it needs to be in authority. You can't hijack that with an administration that just decides on a whim we're going to discipline so and so, we're going to fire this other person, etc. It's inadmissable. If you allow that then you might as well get rid of academic freedom altogether, you might as well get rid of all criticism in our society, you might as well say that we all have to have big smiles on our face, and bow to our leaders, and not criticize how to improve things. That's where we're going. That's where society is headed."

"So what's next?", voices someone in the crowd.

"You're next. People have to stand up more and more. Prof. Claude Lamontagne has joined the struggle for sanity. Other professors -- I know of one professor who's here today, whose not even tenured yet, who has decided that this was insanity, and that she's going to speak out. So that's what's next. People more and more are going to stand up. And hopefully this will be a movement that will be catalyzed to the point that there will be changes in our institution. Something like what happened in the 60s. In the 60s is when University students won their rights to have representatives on these University committees. So that was taken in the 60s. We've lost the reason for doing that. We've tended to be a little too obedient, a little too accepting of the mythology that is being proposed by power. Nonetheless we won those battles. And I think we can redefine what is normal for our institution, if we fight in this way, for sanity."

On Sept 11 2008, at approximately 1h30, two additional security guards arrive to intimidate the crowd. The group of students, professors, and community members, disperses soon after.

Other media links:
Ottawa Indy Media
La Rotonde
YayaCanada
Ottawa Sun

20 comments:

Jason A. Chiu said...

HI, the photos in the right corner are my intellectual property. I've licensed them to Maclean's OnCampus, Canadian University Press, and La Rotonde.

I'd ask that they be removed as soon as possible, as I did not license or give permission for them to be used in this venue.

I appreciate your cooperation.

my email is jasonachiu@gmail.com, I am the former Directeur de la Production at La Rotonde. You can delete this comment after the photos are removed, if you'd like.

Thanks.

the voice of the university said...

The goal of U OF O VOICE is to increase awareness and raise consciousness over issues of freedom of expression on campus.

The original sources are linked, and you are credited.

-Marc

Jason A. Chiu said...

Marc,

Thanks for your quick reply, but I've asked that they be removed, not that a credit be given and a linked attached.

Because of my licensing agreement with the aforementioned parties, I'm not supposed to be re-licensing images. When, say Maclean's, tracks my photos back to this site it will be on me for allowing distribution, when in fact I did not.

Kindly remove them. Thanks.

jasonachiu

the voice of the university said...

The goal of U OF O VOICE is to resist and fight against the suppression of freedom of expression in all the forms that it exists in our society.

The original sources are linked, and you are credited.

-Marc

Jason A. Chiu said...

Marc,

I've asked that they be removed, not that a credit be given and a linked attached. Kindly remove them. Thanks.

jasonachiu

Alain St-Amant said...

Hey UofO Voice,

Next time I'm at the Pivik and I just don't quite feel like paying for my can of Coke, can I just tell the cashier on my way out that "My goal is to resist and fight against the suppression of freedom of expression in all the forms that it exists in our society"....or would you come after me for copyright infringement for having stolen that little pearl of wisdom?

After 15 years of service at this University, I never knew that it had a voice, let alone that it was so inconsiderate. Seems to me that the above request is reasonable and it's pretty callous to ignore it. If you want any kind of respect, treat his request with respect.

Anonymous said...

By refusing the requests of the owner of intellectual property displayed on this site, you are simply making yourselves look more and more like militant fanatics who are just out to push people's buttons.

Do you really think that your cause is just? When did the original issue of freedom of speech at the U of O turn into some sort of bashing-for-bashing's-sake tirade on the hard working and respectable members of the U of O staff and Board of Directors?

I am all for freedom of speech and expression, but using up the time and resources of both faculty and students simply for keeping your useless cause alive is disrespectful and even outright selfish. As an alumni, I am ashamed by you claiming to be the "voice" of this otherwise wonderful establishment.

the voice of the university said...

It is the opinion of U OF O VOICE that openly linking to freely available content on the internet serves to increase public awareness of important societal issues, and should be encouraged rather than attacked.

Openly linking to freely available content causes no financial burden. Openly linking to freely available content directs internet traffic to the original source.

It is the opinion of U OF O VOICE that material existing in the public domain is public material.

The photos were obtained from Macleans.ca and are now credited to Macleans.ca. U OF O VOICE acknowledges that Mr. Chiu has no affiliation with uofovoice.blogspot.com, and U OF O VOICE assures Mr. Chiu will suffer no damages.

-Marc

Anonymous said...

Wow! So, you openly admit to hotlinking an image on your site, and then proceed to pretend that it does not have any financial repercussions?

I guess you have not done your research on this, and are simply quoting D. Rancourt as if he were the authority on the subject (reality check: he is not).

Here's a little bit of reading for you:

http://altlab.com/hotlinking.html

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot-linking

In short, hotlinking imposes a financial burden on the site that hosts the image. When people visit this blog, it uses bandwidth from whoever hosts the image (in this case Maclean's). This costs them money. They pay for their bandwidth, and you are essentially stealing some of their bandwidth by having their image on your site.

So, by hotlinking, you are directly imposing a financial cost on Maclean's.

So much for your mindless comment about causing no financial burden. I don't care what your beliefs are about how the internet works, the facts are in plain sight.

Perhaps you should honour M. Chiu's request, and avoid having to deal with legal action by Maclean's, as you are stealing from them (yes, as in money).

Do your research.

the voice of the university said...

U OF O VOICE does not practice hot-linking.

Wikipedia: " hot-linking is when someone uses a link to an image that is saved on another website instead of saving a copy of the image on the website that the picture will be shown on."

All images on the U OF O VOICE blog are hosted by www.blogger.com.

For further debate, please refer to fair use and fair dealing of copyrighted material.

Melanie said...

Wow. Way to prove yourselves to be a bunch of self-serving assholes. Suspicion confirmed.

Anonymous said...

Marc,

You sound just like the university, plain copying and pasting of your own "The original sources are linked, and you are credited." BS - you do not sound like a voice I want to represent the students. Just take off the damn pictures.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is this world is full of whiny complainers. Suck it up and grow up.

Obviously you've done something stupid. I don't see this happening to every student. Not even close. If they rejected your thesis, do a new one, or leave. The university owes you NOTHING, and thats what people have to realise. Ask for a refund in tuition payment. hahaha

And as for the people complaining about high tuition fees, go to college for cheaper education. I don't mind paying for better education, because my degree is ACTUALLY useful and ill make the money back working...

Anonymous said...

first of all
you arent even taking the best out of Paolo Friere's literature, you should be ashamed of slaughtering his writing to benefit your ridiculous movement
second, how can you justify having a university that does not give grades? that defeats the total purpose of coming here. instead of taking free A+'s, learn to read and write, and benefit yourself, because this bullshit won't pass in the workforce when (AND IF) you graduate

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Helen said...

Writing a review of products and services inside of your definite niche is always a great way to make money blogging. It doesn’t take very long to write a review. If at all possible, you should try the product or service out for a bit before writing a review. The more informed you sound, the more readers will trust your decision.

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