All posts tagged workplace harassment

Allan Rock given another chance as U of O president

In a local Ottawa story that speaks to the state of universities across Canada, Allan Rock was recently reappointed for a second term as President of the University of Ottawa, despite the university being embroiled in one scandal after another since he assumed the position in 2008. This is a blow to accountability at the university and, given his administration’s actions, sends a clear message to dissenters. But at least it exposes the farce that is the appointment process.

For anyone unfamiliar with the controversies, here’s a list:

  • The firing of tenured professor Denis Rancourt, in violation of the principles of academic freedom. Emails which the university fought to keep secret also showed that they employed a student to spy on him.
  • The arrest and banning of student activists from the university.
  • The nomination of the then-dean of Education as worst workplace bully in the university the university newspaper- she quietly moved on soon afterward.
  • The debacle of the Anne Coulter visit, in which Rock pretended he wasn’t involved. Later emails showed that he was the driving force behind “discouraging” her visit.
  • A multi-million dollar lawsuit involving three Saudi doctors who were discriminated against, which was exposed in emails leaked to the entire university administration.
  • Read the rest

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There’s no accountability at Veterans Affairs Canada

The article below was first published in Ottawa’s Hill Times on February 27, 2012

By Allan Cutler and Ian Bron

Three weeks ago, John Larlee, chair of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, responded to an op-ed written by Sean Bruyea. Bruyea’s comprehensive evidence and testimony effectively called Larlee to account for the failure of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) to provide dignified and adequate recourse for veterans as guaranteed by Canadian law.

What struck us as most curious about Larlee’s letter was its near complete lack of a substantive rebuttal to Bruyea’s original article. And since then, a scandal has arisen inside the VRAB which challenges Larlee’s missive.

To begin with, Larlee ignores the fact that in the last five years, the board has voluntarily and reluctantly granted permission for only two files to be returned to the Minister of Veterans Affairs for reconsideration. In the three years of Larlee’s tenure as chair, the board has not granted a single compassionate award allowed for in the legislation, another glaring shortfall in Larlee’s accounting of VRAB.

Hearing the story of VRAB member Harold Leduc, who was awarded $4,000 by the Canadian Human Rights Commission because of ill treatment by his colleagues, it makes perfect sense.… Read the rest

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Denis Rancourt vs. the U of O: the saga continues

Last week I and a number of members of Canadians for Accountability attended the mandatory arbitration hearing for Denis Rancourt, who was fired by the University of Ottawa in 2009. The reason given was his pedagogy – which, contrary to university policy, included a simple pass/fail system in which those who passed got an A+. This firing was unprecedented as Prof. Rancourt was a tenured professor with quite a record of accomplishment in his field. As to marking practices, the growing consensus is that the university violated the principle of academic freedom when they used it as a pretext to fire him.

The real reasons are considerably murkier, with evidence suggesting political motives and spitefulness by those whose egos have been bruised by his persistent criticism of the university’s administration. In particular, Allan Rock, former Liberal Cabinet Minister and now president of the university, has been singled out.

Evidence suggests a student was hired to spy on Prof. Rancourt, as well as other forms of academic mobbing so well described by Prof. Kenneth Westhues, an expert in the field.

It took some effort by Prof. Rancourt to get the union actively working for him, but now that they are committed they are reportedly confident that he will win.… Read the rest

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