- Denis Rancourt is a distinguished, tenured Professor
of Physics, a recognized expert in his field, and an Environmental Science
Researcher at the University of Ottawa, Canada.
- Yet because of his activist position on the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, he was unfairly fired and barred from campus on threat of arrest
- a violation of his tenure, academic freedom, and beliefs about human
rights and equal justice.
- Author Jeff Schmidt wrote the following article and letter,
calling on Canadian Civil Liberties Association board members to repudiate
their organization's attack on a man to be honored, not vilified or abused.
- Challenging Canadian Civil Liberties Association Members
for Opposing Academic and Expression Freedoms at the University of Ottawa
- By Jeff Schmidt
- OTTAWA -- Dr. Jeff Schmidt,
author of Disciplined Minds, has written individually to all 66 directors,
executives and board members of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association
to ask that they publicly distance themselves from their organization's
recent attempt to justify the firing of dissident University of Ottawa
physics professor Denis Rancourt. 
- Schmidt found it odd that a civil liberties organization
would seek to justify the silencing of a dissident -- and do so without
conducting any investigation -- until he learned that the head of the organization,
General Counsel Nathalie Des Rosiers, had played a direct role in the firing.
Des Rosiers was the university's vice president for governance last year
and remains on the university payroll (2009 salary: $182,500.08).
- Des Rosiers responded to Schmidt , arguing that she
shouldn't be held responsible for silencing Rancourt, because she was just
doing her job: "As VP governance, I had the job of requesting compliance
with University's decisions, including the suspension from campus, and
did so." Physically removing Rancourt from campus was the first step
in his dismissal. Des Rosiers also defended CCLA's decision to accept
as fact, without hearing from Rancourt, the university's accusations against
Rancourt and its explanation of why it fired him. Despite the toll that
such apparently unfair behavior by CCLA could take on the organization's
reputation, Des Rosiers told Schmidt that she does not intend to resign
"at this stage."
- Schmidt, a physicist, was outraged that CCLA was willing
to stab a dissident in the back to protect its director. His letter asks
the organization to investigate Rancourt's firing and Des Rosiers's role.
It is appended below and posted elsewhere . Schmidt asked each CCLA
member to answer individually so that their positions could be made public.
- CCLA board member Janet Keeping, who is president of
the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, responded to Schmidt's
letter.  She admitted that Rancourt's firing may raise civil liberties
issues, but she said that CCLA should not look into the matter, despite
its director's admitted participation in silencing Rancourt.
- Most board members, however, shamefully acceded to CCLA's
backstabbing through their silence. A list of those members appears below.
- Rancourt had called for Des Rosiers' resignation from
CCLA, based on eight professional decisions of Des Rosiers while she was
an executive officer at the University of Ottawa, alleged to be contrary
to protecting civil liberties. 
- Jeff Schmidt lives in Washington, DC, and can be reached
- 1. Jeff Schmidt's letter to all CCLA members below
- 2. Nathalie Des Rosiers' response to Schmidt:
- 3. Janet Keeping's response to Schmidt:
- 4. Denis Rancourt's call for Des Rosiers's resignation
from the CCLA: