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U of O Spy-Files Released

May 14, 2012

E-mails were released at today’s hearing in the wrongful dismissal arbitration of former U of O professor, Denis Rancourt, revealing the University’s covert surveillence of the professor and several students.  This matter was initially reported in December 2009 (see HERE).

Former Dean of Science, Andre E. Lalonde, was cross-examined by the professors’ union (APUO) about the University’s employment of former science student, Maureen Robinson.  The Dean began his testimony claiming that Robinson was no more than an “archivist” tasked with printing and categorizing e-mails in his office.  The fact that Robinson held a “personal grudge” against Rancourt was of “no concern” to Dr. Lalonde in making his decision to hire Robinson, according to his testimony.

However, questioning by the APUO based on e-mail evidence (see below) brought out that Robinson was paid by the University to secretly transcribe Rancourt’s radio shows and obtain transcriptions of the professor’s talks at Queen’s University and the University of British Columbia.  The e-mails show the student using a false identity to infiltrate student groups and gather video, website links, and articles about campus and community activists and feeding the information to the Dean and the University’s Legal Counsel, Michelle Flaherty (now a judge at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal: LINK)

The Dean and Legal Counsel were in possession of the username and password to the false Facebook account set up by Maureen Robinson under the name Nathalie Page (e.g, see: here).  Dr. Lalonde also stated that former U of O Vice-President of Academics, Robert Major, may have been involved in assigning surveillence missions to Maureen Robinson.

Today’s SPY-FILE e-mails are linked below:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Yawn... permalink
    May 15, 2012 5:41 pm

    Not sure what’s your point – did they do anything illegal? Using a pseudonym for an online account seems pretty routine these days. From what you’ve posted, it seems they hired a student to gather publicly available information – aren’t they free to do that? If the student had a grudge, then it might just make them more motivated to do the job well. Just because they did stuff that Rancourt thought was wrong doesn’t mean its illegal or immoral. Unless the information was false or distorted, not sure there is any revealing issue here, just another form of stunt to counter the other stunts in this ongoing melodrama. I thought there would be more to this, turns out its pretty dull.

  2. May 16, 2012 8:37 pm

    The amount of deceit (see for example March 6, 2008, for example) goes beyond just using a false name. And this case (the university’s case against Rancourt) is all about allegations of dishonesty and deceit. There are high standards of honesty in academia – some types of lies and misrepresentations which are not illegal, still carry a heavy penalty in the university world. Also, there are rules in collective agreements about how a Dean can carry an investigation on faculty. Therefore, even if not illegal, these actions from the Dean could have an impact on the outcome of the arbitration case.

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