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Petition to Social Justice Prof. Joanne St. Lewis to Drop Legal Fees

April 7, 2012

23 students of the University of Ottawa and other univerities have written to Professor Joanne St. Lewis, requesting her to withdraw her legal fees demand on student Joseph Hickey:

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From: Students
To: Joanne St. Lewis
Cc: Joseph Hickey
Date: April 7, 2012
Subject: Petition to Social Justice Prof. St. Lewis to drop legal fees

Dear Professor of Social Justice, Joanne St. Lewis,

We are undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Ottawa as well as members of society. We have become aware of your demand for your lawyers’ fees in the amount of $3,876.95 against student Joseph Hickey. You are demanding this amount to pay for your lawyers’ opposition to Mr. Hickey’s March 28 motion to obtain public observation of President Rock’s cross-examination in relation to his decision to use student tuition money to fund your private defamation lawsuit.

We are astonished that you, as a Professor of Social Justice in Common Law, would oppose transparency of the President’s cross-examination, and that you would use the court system to charge and punish a student for trying to obtain transparency. We are very troubled by your and President Rock’s refusals to allow students to observe the President’s sworn testimony about how he is using student tuition money to fund a lawsuit.

We live in a democratic society whose people have the right to gain access to knowledge of matters concerning and affecting their freedom and rights. As a member of a democratic institution and as one who has the authority to instruct the democratic process, we would think that you would not needlessly punish a young member of society whose sole interest was in the freedom and rights of his fellow students. By refusing to withdraw your demand of legal fees and pursuing in this unjust treatment, you infringe upon all that Canada’s democracy stands for.

We support Mr. Hickey as students who are also concerned with how members of society in high positions of power are using our tuition money, money that is used towards our education and future, to fund their own interests outside of the educational system. We have the right to know where and how our money is being spent and, as a graduate student, Mr. Hickey possesses this right as well.

Professor St. Lewis, your costs demands on Mr. Hickey are outrageous and unjust. How does this accomplish anything besides discouraging students from participating in the politics of our university?

Please immediately withdraw your costs demand and please agree to permit student observation of President Rock’s testimony in this matter.

Sincerely,

Katrina Dolar, Alyssa Girard, Jessica Kokin, Vince Amatuzio, Rachel Nischal, Venus Daliri, Tommy Olopade, Shahrzad Rouzbeh, Andrea Partab, Aru Sharma, Meghan Beale, Marc Catangay, Elliott Grant, Scott Ramirez, Abigail Sackey, Taylor Wright, Eliver Del Mundo, Colleen Shair, Tiana Caponio, Andrei Borissenko, Cyrilene Guilaran, Nashmil Ghazi, and Ryan de Rushe

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. steve permalink
    April 8, 2012 5:57 am

    Academia is filled with professors who believe “Do as I write, not as I do.” Professors truly believe in what they write, research and publish about – about fariness, equality, justice, etc. It’s easy when these concepts are abstractions, removed from a personal life. When an incident becomes personal, then all one has written about becomes irrelvant. Ever since the Dean of Education rather sleazily revoked my 2010/2011 teaching contract (despite consistently very high student evaluations), I’ve come across a large number of former university academics who left Academia by choice. They, like I, am finding that universities are an incredible mess – the neo-liberal impulse is alive and well. Students are pawns in an ego-filled game. These public intellectuals, like I, have found freedom where what we write, research, teach and publish all reflect how we believe, act and behave. Our actions align with our work. Are the best professors in academia? With situations like this one, I’m not so sure. Does “having a name” on the outside, create a great professor “on the inside”? Again, doubtful. The professors on the inside certainly know how to “play the game” – but at what cost? Dissent certainly is not valued. Groupthink is. Can St. Lewis fit into any of what this comment is about? I leave it to the reader to decide. Just my opinions and thoughts on all of this.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    April 10, 2012 8:08 pm

    P.S. I look forward to you having to pay off those legal fees, even though that is the least of your worries. You will soon become unemployable in academia, just like your buddy Rancourt.

  3. steve permalink
    April 16, 2012 7:59 pm

    Here’s a news flash for Anonymous… if any Ph.D. graduate thinks he or she is automatically going to get on the tenure track can forget it! Between shrinking numbers of tenure opportunities, the majority of teaching positions being disposable contract and part time positions – well the future of tenure is all but dead. And further, current university administrations and faculty refuse to tell Ph.D. students that their fate after graduation is a desperate one in Academia. That’s why most of us are now working outside Academia as public intellectuals, freelance academics, alternative academics and enjoying the freedom that comes from not being a toady to the whims over over paid, inflated ego university administrations.

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