Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Targeting Activist University of Ottawa Students
By Stephen Lendman
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, April 12, 2010
Until his early March Board of Directors removal, Mahdi Darius
Nazemroaya was Fulcrum Publishing Society (FPS) Ombudsman, the
English-language student newspaper at Canada's University of Ottawa (U of
It resulted from his critical reports, including a preliminary
February 23 one for FPS's editorial mistreatment of Professor Denis Rancourt,
fired in March 2009 for his political activism - specifically his courageous
stance on Occupied Palestine.
In 2007, after criticizing university
opposition to academically boycotting Israel, repression against him
intensified under new president Allen Rock, a former Canadian politician, UN
ambassador, and staunch Israeli supporter.
Nazemroaya accused the
Fulcrum of "publishing opinion pieces against Dr. Rancourt. (They've)
strongly criticized him, his university classes, his position, and his brand
In his January 9 report, Nazemroaya cited illegal U
of O "covert surveillance," adding that "The Fulcrum has a duty to cover all
news concerning campus life in an unbiased way and to the best of its
abilities," especially over denying a distinguished tenured professor
academic freedom and firing him for his views - the way a police state
Nazemroaya also accused the FPS Board of
"a conflict of interest" (and) tr(ying) to force (him)
to be quiet about it and to accept it without initially offering a
remedy....Contrary to FPS rules, the Board also (attempted) to force (its)
Ombudsman to play a passive role;" in other words, forced compliance to
quash an independent investigation into Rancourt's firing, one that surely
would vindicate him.
After his dismissal, Nazemroaya wrote an open
letter to the FPS, the university Students Federation (SFUO), Graduate
Students Association (GSAED), and U of O, saying he was FPS Ombudsman until
early March, then removed over "a sequence of events launched by the
investigation of a formal complaint by Denis Rancourt."
FPS Business Manager Frank Appleyard of "breach(ing) the FPS constitution by
simultaneously working for Allan Rock and the FPS. This was a conflict of
interest. Appleyard claimed that this was okay because the BOD had
authorized this violation. The BOD has no such power," any more than a head
of state may violate constitutional and international laws. Doing so is a
criminal act. In academic environs, violations are ethical conflicts of
interest, clearly explained in the FPS Constitution's Section 1(1), stating:
"Employees (include) section editors, editor-in-chief, unelected
editorial positions, business positions, and any other individual on the
They may not simultaneously work for the
Fulcrum, SFUO, GSAED or U of O Administration. Doing so is a constitutional
violation and conflict of interest.
"There is no debate or
divergence of interpretation on this fact. No one can authorize breaches of
the FPS Constitution or FPS By-laws, including the Board of Directors.
According to Section 2.03 of the FPS Constitution, amendments can only be
made at a duly constituted meeting of the staff approved by the Board or
Appleyard breached his constitutional duty, then
falsely accused Nazemroaya in his Ombudsman capacity.
"mismanage(d)....FPS funds, which are obtained through student fees. The
constitution clearly says 'no employees' can work for the FPS and either the
university administration, SFUO, and/or GSAED at the same time. This is to
prevent political influences from biasing Fulcrum reporting."
BOD now claims there was a 'typographical mistake in the constitution," an
entirely bogus assertion to justify an unjustifiable act. Appleyard then
"accuse(d) me of personal attacks and false statements, which BOD member
Scott Bedard informed me was reason for my suspension," bogus again to
remove him and attack academic freedom.
As troublesome, the Fulcrum
"imposed a media blackout on this scandal. My position is that a cover-up
has been underway. A public inquiry is in order," one not forthcoming to let
Allan Rock run the U of O like a feudal lord, ruling by edict with no
BOD members gave Nazemroaya two choices - obey or go. He
chose honor, stepped down, and accused university president, Allan Rock, of
unfitness and damaged credibility in asking him to resign, then added:
"Appearances are pertinent for judging conflicts of interest. Did Allan Rock
forget about the Conflict of Interest Code in Parliament?"
have known that hiring Appleyard was unethical, after he backed Rancourt
criticism - what Nazemroaya called "notoriously negative and ill-informed."
Hiring him looks "like a reward and was an infringement of ethical norms
expected for the governance of a publicly funded institution."
Because of arrogant Allan Rock leadership, the U of O is despotically run,
tolerating no views divergent from his own. Effectively, he declared free
expression and academic freedom dead, so long as he's lord and master of U
of O's administration.
A Program Note
Rancourt will be this writer's guest on The Progressive Radio News Hour on
The Progressive Radio Network - Saturday, May 8 at 1PM Eastern time.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya will be on the same program - Sunday, April 11 at
In-depth discussion will focus on the gross injustice to both
guests - to freely air what FPS suppresses.
lives in Chicago and can be reached at
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to
cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio
News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time
and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy