Thursday, April 23, 2009

Student Appeal Centre Asked to Share Its Confidential Data With The University of Ottawa

On March 24, 2009, Vice-President Academic Robert Major wrote to the Student Federation’s Vice-President of University Affairs, Seamus Wolfe, announcing that the University of Ottawa was launching an ‘independent’ evaluation of the processes followed in dealing with academic fraud cases. (Letter available in French).

The Vice-President chose Joanne St. Lewis, Professor and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre to conduct the evaluation and requested that the Student Appeal Centre collaborate with Ms. St. Lewis, namely by sharing all of its data.

In the fall of 2008, Ms. St. Lewis had conducted an ‘independent’ evaluation of the Student Appeal Centre’s Annual report, saying that its content was ‘unsubstantiated, inconclusive and inflammatory.’ Ms. St. Lewis also questioned the SAC’s data in her evaluation, stating that ‘the data is too limited to enable any analysis […] and does not enable the University to identify where there may be problem areas.’

The fact of the matter is that the University of Ottawa holds the complete data on academic fraud cases, seeing as the SAC has not acted on every single case of academic fraud brought forth by the University. By requesting SAC’s data, the only new information that would be gathered by the University is the identity of the Centre’s clients.

The Student Appeal Centre therefore reaffirms to all students that our data is entirely confidential and will not be released to any third party without express consent from the concerned student. (See the letter sent to Vice-President Major, in French)

On that note, the SAC is looking forward to sharing the expertise of its representatives and collaborating with Ms. St. Lewis with regards to the evaluation of the academic fraud procedures. The SAC had recommended a revision of all regulations and practices concerning academic fraud in its 2008 yearly report. The University of Ottawa has not yet taken action to address any of the SAC’s other recommendations.