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uOttawa Students to Joanne St. Lewis: “Outrageous and Unjust”

April 18, 2012

Another petition from U of O students has been sent to Social Justice Professor Joanne St. Lewis, about her legal fee demands on a student who asked to observe the court process in her defamation lawsuit.

No response from Professor St. Lewis or President Allan Rock to any of the many letters sent by students on this central question of transparency and access to education has been reported (apart from one bristling reply from the mouth of Ms. St. Lewis’ lawyer to Joseph Hickey, here).

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From: U of O students
To: Joanne St. Lewis
Date: April 18, 2012
Subject: Lawyer’s fees against student Joseph Hickey

Dear Professor of Social Justice, Joanne St. Lewis,

We are undergraduate students at the University of Ottawa.  We have become aware of your demand for your lawyers’ fees in the amount of $3876.95 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.

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,

Emily Procher (Biomedical Mechanical Engineering),
Meagan Budgell (Software Engineering),
Pauline Napast (Geography),
Sarah Williams (Biochemistry),
Christopher Whittington (Mechanical Engineering),
Michael Eagar (Social Science),
Jordan Bussanich (Software Engineering),
Adam Desjardins (Mechanical Engineering),
Liam Kennedy-Slaney (Geology),
Hoang Pham (Classical Studies)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. steve permalink
    April 18, 2012 12:48 pm

    We, as in the general society, the broader community, students, faculty and administrators, should be collectively outraged at the nonsense going on at the University of Ottawa (and most other universities). Here, we have a university president earning more than the President of the United States wanting to hide his testimony from the very people who pays his salary and the running of the university (and who apparently seldom shows up for Senate meetings), an apparent social justice professor and lawyers suing relatively marginalized members of society, who, in turn, simply want to create transparency and voice dissent – and these same lawyers are apparently being paid through student monies. I get (but don’t agree with) that these elites are wanting to ‘safeguard their reputations’ and muzzle dissenters to keep elite power intact – but who protects us from these elites who act as bullies against marginalized people they say they work to liberate? When those who are supposedly for social justice act like those who socially oppress – who protects us from those people? I’m sorry, but the version of “social justice” that St. Lewis seems to practice and theorize is not mine. I prefer to live among people who are marginalzied, dispossessed, silenced, to think critically with them and have them shape their needs – to teach me so that i might understand, so that I can walk with them and we can ally together to help liberate one another along the way. I don’t get that sense from St. Lewis. I fear she’s been co-opted by a narrow institutional elite. I am so thankful I’ve found other doctorates who have divorced themselves from the oppressive Academy and found their own self empowerment along the way. I keep in my mind’s eye the abusive exploitation faced within the Faculty of Education at the U of Ottawa to feel incredibly lucky I no longer have to endure Berger’s unethical and abusive exploitation. No wonder U of Ottawa consistently scores rock bottom on MacLean’s polls.

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