- Until his early March Board of Directors removal, Mahdi
Darius Nazemroaya was Fulcrum Publishing Society (FPS) Ombudsman, the English-language
student newspaper at Canada's University of Ottawa (U of O).
- It resulted from his critical reports, including a preliminary
February 23 one for FPS's editorial mistreatment of Professor Denis Rancourt,
fired in March 2009 for his political activism - specifically his courageous
stance on Occupied Palestine.
- In 2007, after criticizing university opposition to academically
boycotting Israel, repression against him intensified under new president
Allen Rock, a former Canadian politician, UN ambassador, and staunch Israeli
- Nazemroaya accused the Fulcrum of "publishing opinion
pieces against Dr. Rancourt. (They've) strongly criticized him, his university
classes, his position, and his brand of activism."
- In his January 9 report, Nazemroaya cited illegal U of
O "covert surveillance," adding that "The Fulcrum has a
duty to cover all news concerning campus life in an unbiased way and to
the best of its abilities," especially over denying a distinguished
tenured professor academic freedom and firing him for his views - the way
a police state silences dissent.
- Nazemroaya also accused the FPS Board of endorsing:
- "a conflict of interest" (and) tr(ying) to
force (him) to be quiet about it and to accept it without initially offering
a remedy....Contrary to FPS rules, the Board also (attempted) to force
(its) Ombudsman to play a passive role;" in other words, forced compliance
to quash an independent investigation into Rancourt's firing, one that
surely would vindicate him.
- After his dismissal, Nazemroaya wrote an open letter
to the FPS, the university Students Federation (SFUO), Graduate Students
Association (GSAED), and U of O, saying he was FPS Ombudsman until early
March, then removed over "a sequence of events launched by the investigation
of a formal complaint by Denis Rancourt."
- He accused FPS Business Manager Frank Appleyard of "breach(ing)
the FPS constitution by simultaneously working for Allan Rock and the FPS.
This was a conflict of interest. Appleyard claimed that this was okay because
the BOD had authorized this violation. The BOD has no such power,"
any more than a head of state may violate constitutional and international
laws. Doing so is a criminal act. In academic environs, violations are
ethical conflicts of interest, clearly explained in the FPS Constitution's
Section 1(1), stating:
- "Employees (include) section editors, editor-in-chief,
unelected editorial positions, business positions, and any other individual
on the Corporate payroll."
- They may not simultaneously work for the Fulcrum, SFUO,
GSAED or U of O Administration. Doing so is a constitutional violation
and conflict of interest.
- "There is no debate or divergence of interpretation
on this fact. No one can authorize breaches of the FPS Constitution or
FPS By-laws, including the Board of Directors. According to Section 2.03
of the FPS Constitution, amendments can only be made at a duly constituted
meeting of the staff approved by the Board or vice-versa."
- Appleyard breached his constitutional duty, then falsely
accused Nazemroaya in his Ombudsman capacity.
- He also "mismanage(d)....FPS funds, which are obtained
through student fees. The constitution clearly says 'no employees' can
work for the FPS and either the university administration, SFUO, and/or
GSAED at the same time. This is to prevent political influences from biasing
- "The BOD now claims there was a 'typographical mistake
in the constitution," an entirely bogus assertion to justify an unjustifiable
act. Appleyard then "accuse(d) me of personal attacks and false statements,
which BOD member Scott Bedard informed me was reason for my suspension,"
bogus again to remove him and attack academic freedom.
- As troublesome, the Fulcrum "imposed a media blackout
on this scandal. My position is that a cover-up has been underway. A public
inquiry is in order," one not forthcoming to let Allan Rock run the
U of O like a feudal lord, ruling by edict with no opposition.
- BOD members gave Nazemroaya two choices - obey or go.
He chose honor, stepped down, and accused university president, Allan Rock,
of unfitness and damaged credibility in asking him to resign, then added:
- "Appearances are pertinent for judging conflicts
of interest. Did Allan Rock forget about the Conflict of Interest Code
- He should have known that hiring Appleyard was unethical,
after he backed Rancourt criticism - what Nazemroaya called "notoriously
negative and ill-informed." Hiring him looks "like a reward and
was an infringement of ethical norms expected for the governance of a publicly
- Because of arrogant Allan Rock leadership, the U of O
is despotically run, tolerating no views divergent from his own. Effectively,
he declared free expression and academic freedom dead, so long as he's
lord and master of U of O's administration.
- A Program Note
- Professor Denis Rancourt will be this writer's guest
on The Progressive Radio News Hour on The Progressive Radio Network - Saturday,
May 8 at 1PM Eastern time.
- Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya will be on the same program -
Sunday, April 11 at 1PM.
- In-depth discussion will focus on the gross injustice
to both guests - to freely air what FPS suppresses.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and
Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.