The Rock Administration's Persecution of Student Marc Kelly Must End
In May 2008 students killed the administration’s attempt to impose a student code of conduct. Code of conduct like measures targeting individual students cannot be tolerated.
Marc Kelly’s case (described below) is the most outrageous case of targeted political discrimination against a student seen by the Student Appeal Centre. Any such injustice to a single student is an injustice to all students.
Prior to December 1st, 2008 Marc Kelly had filed multiple appeals with the University administration and had vocally denounced the injustices he had suffered at the hands of the Rock Administration. The University’s recent actions against Marc Kelly appear to be reprisal against him for having spoken out and for having ultimately taken his grievances directly to President Rock.
In light of the University’s own rules and regulations that penalize students who do not attend class, the administration’s multiple recent efforts (see below) to keep Marc Kelly out of the classroom are not only hypocritical, they raise serious ethical questions about the University administration.
The University has a societal mission to educate students and to foster and maintain an environment where freedom of expression and critical thought are welcomed and protected. Whereas the University should be lobbying the Courts to have Marc Kelly back on campus, it has done everything in its power to ensure that Marc Kelly’s freedoms are restricted.
This persecution must end.
On December 1st, 2008 undergraduate student Marc Kelly attended the
But on December 1st, 2008, some Senators did not want to be filmed. Members of the upper administration, including then VP Academic Robert Major and then VP Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers, approached Marc Kelly. Marc explained that there was no policy prohibiting filming, and Marc suggested the issue be raised before the Senate prior to the start of the meeting.
Instead of calling for a democratic discussion on the question of video recording, the Ottawa Police was called with the full consent of VP-Academic Robert Major who presided the Senate meeting in Allan Rock's absence. Marc Kelly was handcuffed, thrown in the back of a police cruiser and bogus criminal charges were laid against him.
Many students witnessed the arrest and later filed complaints against the Ottawa Police who, once arrived on campus, began confiscating their video recording equipment and repeatedly threatened them with arrest.
A police officer told Marc that he would be released immediately only if he signed an undertaking that barred him from all
The restriction of freedom in the signed undertaking was not only outrageous, it was a contradiction of the University’s own regulations. After all, Marc Kelly is a student who must abide by the University’s rules on mandatory class attendance! After student protests, the undertaking was modified by the Court to give Marc access to campus once again, and he continued his studies.
During this time, the University kept a close watch on Marc Kelly’s whereabouts. They used the surveillance cameras on campus to store video records of his every action, they took photographs, wrote detailed reports and they sent this information to the
On January 23, 2009 in an attempt to intimidate Marc Kelly away from campus, the Ottawa Police, with the assistance of the University’s “Security Services”, falsely arrested him while he was giving a public presentation in McDonald Hall Auditorium. Marc was held in jail for several hours while students and professors successfully protested outside of the police station for his release.
During the rest of the Winter, both the Crown and the University set out to have Marc Kelly enter into a Peace Bond under section 810 of the Criminal Code of Canada. This would mean that the
On May 14, 2009 the
DuDuring the Summer of 2009, Marc Kelly entered in negotiations with Vice President, Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers and came to an agreement with the University. The agreement included the following:
- Marc would fast track his degree (he would avoid taking three additional mandatory electives).
- The University would clear Marc’s debt with the University.
- The University would award Marc with a bursary of $3500.
- The University would ask the Crown Prosecutor to drop the bogus criminal charges against Marc.
The agreement, however, was under the condition that Marc take all of his courses at Carleton University, except for MAT 2762, which Marc would take at the University of Ottawa. A few days before the fall semester courses were to begin, the University’s Legal Council Alain Roussy emailed the ‘formalized agreement’ to Marc. The University unilaterally introduced several new elements never once mentioned by VP Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers during the many months she negotiated with Marc. The modified agreement would not only force Marc Kelly to give up his right to file a civil lawsuit against the University, the new agreement also served as an indefinite notice under the Trespass to Property Act, and included a clause prohibiting Marc from applying to any graduate or undergraduate program of study at the University of Ottawa for the next five years. The University tried (and failed) to take away Marc Kelly’s right to apply for graduate studies.
Since December 1, 2008, many students have protested the Rock administration’s treatment of Marc Kelly. In March of 2009, the Senate agreed to be filmed and adopted a policy to that effect. Videos of all Senate meetings are now posted on the University of Ottawa website.