(Ottawa – December 11, 2017) An independent committee of inquiry into the dismissal of a tenured University of Ottawa professor has concluded there was no violation of academic freedom.
Beginning in the early 2000s, Prof. Denis Rancourt and the University of Ottawa administration became involved in an escalating series of disputes over the pedagogy and grading of his assigned courses that culminated in his termination in 2009.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) established an independent investigation to determine whether the dismissal of Prof. Rancourt was justified.
The committee’s report concluded that the University of Ottawa was justified in terminating Dr. Rancourt for insubordination.
“He was not fired for his ideas or beliefs, but rather for persisting in violating the Collective Agreement by not grading on an objective basis after being warned on several occasions to do so,” the committee found.
The report notes that Prof. Rancourt had the right to teach his courses as he saw fit as long as he covered in a general way content from the approved course descriptions.
“But, academic freedom could not shield him from his violation of other clauses in the Collective Agreement, particularly his requirement to adhere to the University’s grading policy as stated in the Collective Agreement,” the report states.