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Ottawa U activism course will fly no matter what
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June 6, 2007


Ottawa U activism course will fly no matter what

(OTTAWA) University of Ottawa physics professor Denis Rancourt plans to give the SCI 1101 Science in Society “activism course” in protest this fall 2007. “Even if I must give it in Tabaret Hall…” he said. Tabaret Hall is the central administration building which has a large central lobby area.

The course was cancelled by university officials after it was given only once in the fall 2006 term, following 18 months of controversy in which students and Dr. Rancourt successfully pressed the faculty of science to offer a course on social issues in science.

“It will be a real squat and students can use their activism to win the deserved official credits for the course,” said student Tammy Kovich. “It’s time the admin admitted the academic freedom of students” continued graduating high school student Graeme O’Farrell.

Physics professor Denis Rancourt is suing the University of Ottawa for $10 million, alleging violation of academic freedom, executive interference, sustained harassment, slander, and misfeasance, by the President, Mr. Gilles Patry, the VP-Academic, Mr. Robert Major, and the Dean of Science. The first-step required mediation attempt is to be scheduled before the end of the week.

The full 12-page text of the grievance has been made public and is posted here:

The university has broken many of its own rules in removing Prof. Rancourt from three courses that he developed, including the controversial SCI 1101 Science in Society activism course, and from the popular Cinema Politica series that he organizes.

Students and community members have formed the Freedom of Expression Committee (FEC) to redress the apparent excesses of the administration. The FEC plans continued actions until Prof. Rancourt’s courses and professional initiatives are reinstated. The FEC has more than fifty members and is growing. It has created a web site to report progress and to document support: The FEC is calling for the resignation of Patry, Major, and dean André Lalonde and is mounting an aggressive petition campaign:

The FEC encourages all prospective students to get on the class email list (contact: to receive “registration” information for the planned squat.


For more information contact:
Graeme O’Farrell,, 613-739-7240 (h), 325-0186 (c).
Sean Kelly,, 819-775-9021 (h), 613-562-5800x6744 (w).
Prof. Denis Rancourt,, 613-562-5800x6774 (w).
President Gilles Patry,, 613-562-5809.

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