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CAUT Bulletin Archives

January 2009

CAUT Appoints Committee to Investigate Ottawa U Rancourt Case

CAUT has appointed an indepen­dent committee of inquiry to investigate a series of disputes between the University of Ottawa and physicist Denis Rancourt that initially resulted in grievances, human rights complaints and legal actions and subsequently led to Rancourt being relieved of teaching duties, locked out of his laboratory, barred from campus and most recently sus­pended pending the university’s governing board approval of his dismissal. In the meantime, Rancourt’s graduate students have been assigned to other faculty members.

Rancourt has taught at the university for more than 20 years and is a full professor in the department of physics. He has published nearly 200 articles and essays on subjects ranging from marine geochemistry, condensed matter physics, planetary science, and spectroscopic measurement theory to the physics profession, climate change, critical pedagogy and activism.

The independent committee is chaired by Joyce Lorimer, professor and department chair of history at Wilfrid Laurier University, and includes Walter Whiteley, pro­fessor of mathematics and statistics at York University, and Jeffrey Hal­pern, asso­ciate professor of anthropology at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and a mem­ber of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure.