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Public letter: President Allan Rock’s absence from Senate

September 16, 2011

Joseph Hickey
To: University of Ottawa President Allan Rock
Cc: Senate Members, concerned community members
Date: September 16, 2011
Subject: Absence of the President from Senate Meetings

Dear President Allan Rock,

The Senate is the supreme governing body on all academic matters at the University, charged with determining the educational policy of the institution and the implementation of its academic mission.

The University of Ottawa Act, 1965 mandates you, the President, to be the Chair of the Senate. This is therefore your most important statutory and leadership role in the University community, as part of the University’s collegial governance. This is true for both new and continuing Senate Members, especially at the beginning of the Fall semester, when we are all looking to get off to a fresh start in our work on campus.

Therefore, I am worried that the proper respect and functioning of Senate is at risk when you do not come to the Senate’s meetings, or when you leave before the meeting has finished.

You were absent from the May and June 2011 meetings of the Senate, without providing explanation.  At the meeting of last Monday, September 12 you left the Senate early.  This was your third unexplained absence in a row, on the important first meeting of the semester.  You also missed the November and December 2010 Senate meetings, meaning that you have been absent or partially absent from 5 of the last 9 meetings of the Senate. Such systematic absences of the Chair of Senate are unprecedented at our institution.

The President’s attendance for full sessions of the Senate’s meetings is of great importance.  This includes the “For Information” section, where individual elected Senators, representing entire constituencies on campus, often announce future Senate work and concerns that the Chair, who is also the CEO of the U of O corporation, should be aware of.

As President, chairing the Senate is a primary responsibility to the institution, as per Article 16(1) of the University of Ottawa Act.

Could you please inform the Members of Senate of what business you had at 4:30 p.m. on September 12 that required you to leave the Senate’s first session of the Fall 2011 semester?

It is troubling to see your absence continuing into the new semester.  I hope that the Members of Senate can look forward to a year of fruitful work with you as Chair to lead the Senate’s monthly meetings.


Joseph Hickey
Graduate student representative to Senate, Sciences section

Cc: Members of Senate, concerned community members

* This letter was also published in the September 21, 2011 edition of The Fulcrum: link

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Azadeh Almaari permalink
    September 16, 2011 4:31 pm

    I must say I am so very impressed with your outstanding attempts to make those with power accountable for their acts of commision or omission. Such efforts are so very rare but it is only this sort of passion that can make a difference and turn the rhetoric of democracy into a meaningful reality.
    All the best

  2. Joseph Hickey permalink
    September 22, 2011 6:12 pm

    This letter was also published in the September 22, 2011 edition of the University of Ottawa’s English-language student paper, The Fulcrum:

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