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Letter to Allan Rock: Please act to protect video transparency at University of Ottawa

October 15, 2011

Dear President Allan Rock,

The University of Ottawa is currently engaged in a  high-profile binding labour law arbitration against the professor’s union (APUO) in the wrongful dismissal case of tenured professor Denis Rancourt.

Filming of the proceedings is a preliminary issue that will be decided by the arbitrator, Mr. Claude Foisy, before the next hearing date of Oct. 31.

The Union wants the proceedings to be filmed (link), and your administration has agreed (link).  However, Arbitrator Foisy appears to be set to completely ban filming and recording after hearing submissions from any interested observers or parties.  Please see this video report from the most recent hearing of Oct. 12:

During your presidency, the University of Ottawa has moved to the forefront of video transparency in matters of university governance and accountability.  In light of the dedication and sacrifices made by students and professors to achieve these advancements, it would be inadmissible for your administration to stand by while our student and academic community is deprived of its most effective means of documentation, observation, and debate of a landmark case about principles that are fundamental to scholarship and research in a Canadian public institution.

Please intervene immediately with submissions from your office in order to protect video transparency in this academic matter of great public interest.  Submissions can be sent by e-mail to University lawyer Lynn Harnden ( or to Union lawyer Sean McGee ( before the deadline of Oct. 18.


Joseph Hickey
Student Senate member
FGPS, Sciences section

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Paule permalink
    November 4, 2011 11:00 am

    I have just seen a Youtube video that was posted by Mr. Rancourt, in which you question the lawyer for the University and the arbitrator during a break, and I am so appalled by your behaviour that I felt a need to say so. Whatever sympathy you may have had with me vanished completely when I saw this. Please explain how your behaviour helps, in any way, the case of Mr. Rancourt, or advances your ideals of freedom of expression, freedom of the press or access to justice?

  2. November 4, 2011 11:11 am

    Dear Paule,

    I noticed that you are logged in using the same e-mail address as a commenter named “George” in previous comments.

    The video in question is on Youtube here.

    I think it is important for student media to obtain interviews with powerful figures involved in campus events. A documentary film professor recently told me that a basic rule of journalism is that you get your interviews on-site.

    I am surprised that other student media such as The Fulcrum or La Rotonde does not link to the available video of the arbitration hearings in their coverage.

    Joseph Hickey

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