The University of Ottawa in Canada is planning to fire Denis Rancourt, physics professor, IWW member, and renowned researcher, today, March 31, 2009 .
The university claims it is firing Denis because he announced that all of his students would get A+ grades on the first day of the physics class so that they could get on with learning, rather than compete and perform for grades. The university claims this educational approach damages its reputation and credibility as well as that of its students. In short, grades equal credibility.
The IWW General Defense Committee Local 6 (GDC Local 6) rejects this pretext as an exaggeration that does not justify the university’s repressive approach, which is a threat against academic freedom and education workers’ rights.
More information about Denis’ case is online at the Academic Freedom and Governance at the University of Ottawa weblog http://www.academicfreedom.ca/
We urge all GDC and IWW members to adapt the sample letter below and email it today to University of Ottawa President Allan Rock firstname.lastname@example.org and please be sure to copy the chair of Denis’ defense committee email@example.com. Your email can help save Denis’ job so send it today and keep up the pressure.
To: University of Ottawa President Allan Rock (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cc: email@example.com (defense committee chair)
March 31, 2009
Dear President Rock,
I am writing to protest the University of Ottawa ’s planned dismissal of Professor Denis Rancourt. The university’s claim that Dr. Rancourt’s assignment of high grades on the first day of one of his classes damages the university’s credibility is an exaggerated pretext for removing a passionate professor dedicated to high quality teaching and research as well as academic reform.
To fire Dr. Rancourt on these weak grounds is a signal that education workers’ rights and academic freedom at the University of Ottawa are under threat. We are gravely concerned that removing Dr. Rancourt will intimidate both faculty and students from speaking up, being creative and taking the initiative in the future.
I urge the university to accept Dr. Rancourt’s offer to resolve this conflict through mediation. I also demand that the University of Ottawa end its suspension of Dr. Rancourt and restore him to his position immediately with no penalty.
For the reinstatement of Dr. Rancourt,