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Allan Rock Makes a Commitment to Attend more Senate meetings

September 29, 2011

President Allan Rock has responded to all Senate members today to my public letter to him of Sept. 16 questioning his absence from Senate meetings.  Mr. Rock’s e-mail is below.

From: Joseph Hickey
To: Allan Rock
Cc: Senate members
Date: September 29, 2011
Subject: Re: Absence of the President from Senate Meetings

Mr. Rock:

Thank you for your commitment to attend more Senate meetings in the future and for recognizing the emergency nature of the absence provision in the Act.

Joseph Hickey

Cc: Senate members


From: Allan Rock
To: Joseph Hickey
Cc: Senate members
Date: September 29, 2011
Subject: Re: Absence of the President from Senate Meetings

Dear Mr. Hickey:

I first want to record my agreement with your premise: the Senate plays a vital role in the academic life of our University. I consider my role as chair of the Senate not just a responsibility but also a privilege.

Despite my best efforts to be present at all Senate meetings, scheduling conflicts do arise that sometimes make it impossible for me to attend. Fortunately, I am able in such circumstances to call upon one or another of the Vice-Rectors to preside in my place.

Just such an eventuality is provided for expressly in the legislation that created the Senate and that sets out the governance model for our University. Indeed, section 16 (1) of the University of Ottawa Act, 1965 (“the Act”), provides as follows:

16.–(1) The Rector or, in his absence, the first Vice-Rector or, in the absence of both, the second Vice-Rector shall preside at all meetings of the Senate.

I shall of course continue to attend as many Senate meetings as I possibly can in the months to come. There will, however, be occasions when it is simply not possible for me to be there. When that happens, I shall ask a Vice-Rector to preside in my place, all in accordance with the Act’s provisions.

Please do not regard this message as an invitation to engage in a protracted email exchange on the subject. In my view, we owe it to our Senate colleagues not to abuse the privilege of access to their email addresses. Now that you have expressed your concern and I have responded, let’s leave them in peace.

Allan Rock

One Comment leave one →
  1. steve permalink
    September 30, 2011 6:26 am

    The ending paragraph is most telling. Apparently serving on the Senate, by sending out a note of concern as to the large number of absences of the University President, is a privilege; but not as great a privilege as accessing email addresses. Rock seems to have a habit of addressing issues concerning him in a minimal way and then shutting down further discussion – in an approach reminiscent of a parent toward a child. Students are seen, but not heard. Not very democratic….. but then universities are not places for dissension.

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