- On October 21, 2008, for the first time in school history,
the University of Ottawa (U of O) Faculty of Science, without cause, deregistered
undergraduate Marc Kelly, an exemplary student, expelling him for the semester
and preventing him from completing the final three courses he needed to
graduate. The official email sent him read:
- "The Faculty of Science has been asked to deregister
you. (This) message is to notify you that you are no longer registered...."
- The official reason was the Department of Physics' displeasure
over the nature and methods of his valid, legitimate research, twice secretly
rejecting it, then informing him through pro forma letters saying, "It
is common sense that (your research) has to use physics tools and physics
- Kelly was never contacted or questioned. When he tried
approaching Physics Chair Bela Joos for an explanation, he refused to see
him, suggesting this action wasn't over academic performance, but for publicly
supporting tenured Professor Denis Rancourt, unfairly fired as explained
below and in detail in an early April article titled, "Targeting Academic
and Speech Freedoms: The Case of Canadian Professor Denis Rancourt."
- In March 2009, it was for his political activism - specifically,
courageously supporting oppressed Palestinians, criticizing the university's
refusal to academically boycott Israel, and gallantly backing what U of
O officials and President Allan Rock opposed - a former Canadian politician,
UN ambassador, and staunch Israeli supporter.
- Affected also was Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, student and
former Fulcrum Publishing Society (FPS) Ombudsman (U of O's English-language
student newspaper) until his March 2010 Board of Directors dismissal for
supporting Rancourt, criticizing offensive FPS reports about him, refusing
to stay quiet and go along, and confronting Business Manager Frank Appleyard's
violation of FPS rules by simultaneously working for President Allan Rock
and the FPS.. His case was discussed in an April article titled, "Targeting
Activist University of Ottawa Students."
- Kelly's Background
- An exemplary U of O physics and math undergraduate, he
worked for Rancourt as a research assistant. In December 2008, he was arrested
for trying to film proceedings at a school Senate meeting, inspired by
the University's Vision 2010, in particular the phrase: "transparency
and accountability are the principles that guide our university governance."
The Senate is U of O's highest academic matters governing body.
- At the time, proceedings were open to the public, and
no policy prohibited videotaping them, members of the media having previously
done it freely. This time Vice President/Provost Robert Major and then
Vice President Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers objected. Kelly explained
his rights and suggested the issue be raised at the next Senate meeting.
- Instead, Major had the Ottawa police arrest him, treat
him like a common criminal, handcuff and forcibly remove him, criminally
charge him with disturbing the peace, then tell him he'd be released if
he signed a freedom restriction agreement barring him from campus.
- Kelly protested, explained he was a U of O student and
employee. Administration officials lied, saying he was neither. After his
release, he was under constant surveillance, reports then sent to police.
When he tried registering for a course at the Faculty of Science undergraduate
office, police were informed to stop him.
- A year later, criminal charges were dropped but not his
U of O banishment. On November 13, 2008, Allan Rock publicly assailed him.
In January 2009, he (and Rancourt) were arrested at a campus event where
he was making a presentation on student activism. Afterward, the Crown
and U of O pressured him to accept a Peace Bond under Section 810 of Canada's
Criminal Code - to excuse the university from a court defense and have
Kelly agree to stay off campus. At the time, the Crown Prosecutor and U
of O collaborated with Ottawa police, acting no differently than in a police
- On May 14, 2009, late at night, police arrested Kelly
again, criminally charged him with "breaching his (campus prohibition)
conditions," and jailed him. One charge was for questioning Allan
Rock at a public event - his legal right under Section 2(b) of the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, affirming among other provisions that:
- Everyone's "fundamental freedoms" include....freedom
of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press
and other media of communication (as well as) freedom of peaceful assembly
(and) freedom of association."
- During summer 2009, after negotiations with Des Rosiers,
an agreement was reached as follows:
- -- Kelly would fast track his degree, avoid taking three
additional mandatory electives, and finish his course requirements at Carleton
University, except for one course at U of O (MAT 2762);
- -- U of O would clear his debt;
- -- it would award him a $3,500 scholarship; and
- -- would ask the Crown Prosecutor to drop all charges.
- Ahead of the fall semester, U of O Legal Council Alain
Roussy emailed Kelly the agreement, introducing several previously unmentioned
provisions. They not only prohibited his taking civil action, but also,
under Ontario's Trespass to Property Act (a provincial law dealing with
illegal entry into private and public property), indefinitely prohibited
him from applying to any U of O undergraduate or graduate program for the
next five years. Yet the university failed to deny his right to apply for
graduate work, and student protests continue in his behalf.
- In February 2010, he was arrested again at the Student
Federation U of O (SFUO) Senate Appeals Committee (SAC), where he was discussing
his abusive treatment. Dean of Science, Andre Lalonde, spotted him, and
alerted police to arrest him.
- At first, under Trespass to Property Act provisions,
they asked to see the SAC student union lease. The Act defines a domain's
"legal occupier." Union leader Sean Kelly (no relation and SAC
Student Appeal Officer Mireille Gervais, a law student, explained it.
- U of O lawyer Roussy countered, saying the university
"owns all the property." Kelly was then arrested for trespassing.
So was union President Seamus Wolfe "for disturbing the peace by swearing,"
despite Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms affirming everyone's free
expression right, cussing included.
- Kelly's struggle for exoneration and reinstatement continues
against outrageous U of O injustice - determined to deny him, disgracing
the university, its complicit officials, and their debasement of fundamental
- Lost Academic and Speech Freedoms As Well As A Conducive
Teaching and Learning Environment
- Lost also is U of O tradition, stated in its "Mission,
Vision and Values" as follows:
- "Since 1848, the University of Ottawa has been Canada's
university: a reflection, an observatory and a catalyst of the Canadian
experience in all its complexity and diversity. Our university is characterized
by its unique history, its commitment to bilingualism, its location both
in the heart of the national capital and at the juncture of French and
English Canada, its special commitment to the promotion of French culture
in Ontario and to multiculturalism. As a result and through the groundbreaking
work of our community members, we are uniquely positioned among Canada's
research-intensive institutions to give students a remarkable education,
to enrich the intellectual and cultural life of Canada and to help the
country achieve greater international prominence."
- U of O claims to be "what Canada represents;"
- -- "places its students at the core of its educational
- -- values cultural diversity....;
- -- builds strong partnerships to fulfill its social responsibilities;
- -- encourage(s) freedom of expression in an atmosphere
of open dialogue, enabling critical thought, supported by intellectual
integrity and ethical judgment."
- U of O corrupts this code under an abusive administration,
assailing academic and speech freedoms in support of privilege and power,
ruthlessly enforcing them at the expense of its students and faculty. It's
intolerant of progressive activism, and dedicated to replacing truth, open
expression and fundamental justice with authoritarian control - what Rancourt
calls "emergent fascism (through) an optimized balance of force and
a designed mental and social environment (under which) Independent thought
is eliminated (and its) influence rendered foreign," Canadian universities
no longer safe havens. US ones never were with very rare exceptions.
- America already is in advanced decay, Canada close behind
toward a dark future, prevented only by "authentic (determined grassroots)
- Today Denis Rancourt, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya and Marc
Kelly - Tomorrow Anyone Advocating Progressive Ideas and Principles - A
Chronology of Other Post-October 21, 2008 Events
- On October 27, 2008, the Student Federation University
of Ottawa (SFUO) publicly released a letter to President Rock titled, "Flagrant
Mistreatment of Students and Disregard of SFUO Nomination Rights,"
demanding redress for grievously mistreating Kelly and international student
Ting Ting Wang. It also insisted U of O officials accept Kelly's SFUO Senate
Appeals Committee (SAC) nomination.
- SAC has eight members - six full-time professors, one
undergraduate, and one graduate student. It has final say over student
appeals with regard to "regulations governing admissions, promotions
and degree requirements, and any other (U of O) academic regulations (as
well as recommended) disciplinary sanction, or appeal(s) referred to the
Committee by the Senate or its Executive Committee."
- Vice-President/Provost Robert Major defamed Kelly, calling
him mentally unstable to block his nomination. Addressing students at the
time, President Rock implied they have no say over Senate Appeals Committee
nominations of professors and executives. Under his authority, U of O is
despotic, ruthless, and dismissive of fundamental academic principles,
ethics, freedoms, and responsibilities.
- On November 10, 2008, activist students defeated an Administration
attempt to institute a Student Code of Conduct, arguing that an Executive
Code was needed instead to curb abuses of power, especially by Allan Rock,
calling his behavior toward Kelly "inexcusable (by its) disproportionate
use of force."
- On October 21, 2009, SAC members accused Administration
officials of persecuting Kelly for "having spoken out and for having
ultimately taken his grievances to President Rock." In 2008, he filed
multiple U of O appeals and publicly denounced injustices committed against
- On November 11, 2009, Rancourt, in a letter to Des Rosiers
and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, called for her CCLA resignation
for her role in:
- -- Rancourt's political firing;
- -- banning him, a tenured professor, from campus;
- -- persecuting a student for his activism and public
- -- assailing academic and speech freedoms;
- -- implementing a required "snitch-line for all
- -- refusing to investigate and stop illegal covert surveillance
of a professor's legitimate political and academic activities;
- -- targeting a student the same way;
- -- acting unethically and irresponsibly; and
- -- making unjustified, bogus accusations.
- On November 29, 2009, the Crown Prosecutor dropped criminal
charges against Kelly, and was prepared to drop others in exchange for
his accepting a Peace Bond as explained above. Kelly declined, wanting
the court to stay the charges. On June 2, a judge will hear them.
- On January 20, 2010, U of O imposed a "final solution"
on Kelly, demanding he accept its terms, despite no cause and without explanation.
SAC vigorously opposed it. Academic and speech freedoms hang in the balance.
So do democratic rights in a free society, no longer assured in Canada
or at an abusive university, at the expense of its student body and academic
staff, tenure no assurance of protection nor Canadian law.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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