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Allan Rock’s Senate Absence Continues: Francois Houle Shuts Off Senate Camera

October 4, 2011

On Friday, September 30, President Allan Rock wrote to all members of the University of Ottawa Senate defending his absence from previous Senate meetings.  The President’s e-mail came in response to my public letter of September 16, calling on him to explain his absences and to show up in the future.

3 days later, on October 3, Mr. Rock was again absent from a meeting of the Senate, without explanation.

At the initiation of yesterday’s Senate session, I pressed replacement Chair François Houle (Vice-President, Academic) to inform the Senate of what work President Rock was undertaking that caused him to miss another Senate meeting.  Mr. Houle stated that the President was “abroad, on University business,” and that he did not know what work the President was doing abroad.  When I proceeded to inform the Senate that the President had now been absent from 6 of the last 10 of its meetings, Mr. Houle ordered the Senate camera to be turned off.

I protested this unilateral violation by the Chair of the Senate’s Policy on Video Recording, Broadcasting, and Picture Taking during the Senate Meetings on a Point of Order.  Mr. Houle attempted to plow on with Senate business with the camera turned off and my Point of Order left unresolved.  I maintained my Point of Order for the duration of the session.

In a disgraceful atmosphere created by Mr. Houle’s refusal to turn on the Senate camera, a Senate member left the Senate in protest, the University Ombudsperson Lucie Allaire declined to present her first annual report, and Arts Vice-Dean, Denis Bachand loudly defamed me as being “sick in the head.”

Following the meeting, Vice-President of Governance, Diane Davidson and Acting Vice-President of Resources, Denis Cossette also informed me that they did not know where President Rock was, beyond that he was “not in the country.”

Mr. Houle has promised to post the video of the meeting taken up until the point when he ordered the camera turned off.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. steve permalink
    October 5, 2011 6:53 am

    As Jack Layton stated to Michael Ignatieff during the leaders’ debate this year – if you want a job you have to show up for the job. As far as I’m aware not showing up for a central role so consistently should be grounds for dismissal. Mr. Rock should be able to work his timetable in order to be present at these meetings that are known in advance. If he can’t then he is very poor at scheduling. The rest of us mere mortals not being paid more than the American President certainly seem to be able to do so….. in my opinion Rock is acting like a spoiled child pretending to be all grown up…

  2. steve permalink
    October 5, 2011 6:57 am

    Francois Houle has no business turning off the camera regardless of his excuse. That act is one of fundamentally undermining democracy. Carrying out this act unilaterally, with no discussion on camera highlights, in my mind, his utter contempt for democracy – is it any wonder the University, generally, runs so autocratically…. hypocrisy abounds….

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