March 29, 2009
Dear Hon. Allan Rock,
The Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World write in protest of the University of Ottawa’s intention to dismiss Professor Denis Rancourt.
The university’s stated grounds for dismissal—saying he was awarding high grades to all at the beginning of one course—do not justify his removal. Instead, we see this move to fire Dr. Rancourt, an outstanding teacher, academic and researcher by all standards, as a pretext for removing a passionate academic reformer and advocate for pedagogy that does not rely on the carrot-and-stick approach of the current system.
Dr. Rancourt’s dismissal is not only an attack on academic freedom, but it is an attack on academic workers’ rights. The university’s argument that Dr. Rancourt put the reputation and credibility of the university at risk is not credible. Indeed, the university’s brutal treatment of Dr. Rancourt and its insistence on his dismissal is the gravest threat to the university’s reputation as a place for critical thinking and respect for academic staff.
We demand the University of Ottawa Board of Governors and President reinstate Dr. Rancourt without penalty and ensure he has the academic freedom and respect for his rights as a worker to provide education worth having to this and subsequent generations.
In solidarity with Dr. Rancourt,
IWW Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch
PO Box 52003,
298 Dalhousie St.,
Ottawa, ON K1N 1S0