Update, March 7 Motion
Date: March 5, 2011
Subject: Update, March 7 motion — exchange program with U. of Haifa
Dear Members of Senate,
I have this update to share with you about the motion on the University of Ottawa – University of Haifa exchange program for Monday’s meeting:
(1) I have not yet received a confirmation of attendance from invited guests Hillel Ottawa or Gerald Schwartz or Heather Reisman.
(2) Ms. Diana Ralph of the national organization Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) has agreed to speak at the meeting and provide relevant information for us to consider.
(3) Members of Students for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) have confirmed their presence.
I would also like to inform you of new information that I have received in relation to the July 31, 2008 article by the Canadian Jewish News (document #7 in the information package that I sent to you on Thursday, March 3, and also re-attached to this e-mail).
The article reports that University of Ottawa president Allan Rock, along with five other Canadian university presidents, participated in a trip to Israel in 2008 paid for by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) and private donations and that the University of Ottawa exchange program with the University of Haifa was a result of this trip.
I met with President Allan Rock on Friday, and he clarified that he did not go to Israel in 2008, as reported in the article, but he chose not to otherwise clarify the circumstances of the trip.
Therefore, I remain concerned on this point that the new academic exchange program may have been formulated for broader political reasons that extend beyond academic motives consistent with the mission of the University of Ottawa.
Finally, I have learned that university Policy 112 allows the donors of scholarship programs to determine or influence the selection of award recipients and would have required the terms of reference of the Schwartz-Reisman Foundation scholarship donation to be reported and approved yet these terms of reference have not been shown to Senate, despite this scholarship’s intimate meshing with the new academic exchange program.
Policy 112 is available here:
Policy 100 is also relevant to the extent that the new scholarship program is a university asset and is associated with the name of the Schwartz-Reisman Foundation:
“Each naming must contribute to the University’s objects and purposes under the University of Ottawa Act and to the University’s mission and priorities, while preserving its integrity and academic freedom”
Policy 100 is available here:
As a final note, the reputation of the Schwartz-Reisman Foundation appears to be a contentious issue, with direct ties to the Israeli military, as evidenced in this major Toronto magazine article:
These are all matters of consideration for Senate as all our decisions must not harm the reputation of the University, must in priority contribute to the university mission, and must be consistent with Christian values (University of Ottawa Act).
Cc: Concerned members of the community