May 20, 2015

Petition to the Canadian Prime Minister to open an inquiry into the cases of bullying and mobbing in Canada

In recent years Canadians have witnessed how dangerous and devastating the phenomenon of bullying and mobbing can be. For this reason the purpose of this request for a thorough inquiry into the cases of bullying and mobbing in Canada is to ensure that there are mechanisms and procedures in place to confront that evil phenomenon at the very moment its seeds start to appear.

For three reasons an appropriate starting point of this inquiry can be the case of a distressingly successful academic mobbing followed by even more alarming developments as summarized below:
  1. If academic mobbing can succeed even in a case like mine, given my academic background and experience, one can easily imagine how successful this evil phenomenon can be in other cases.

  2. Despite that the evidence presented at the arbitration hearings of my suspension case proved that there was a conspiracy at Concordia University ("There was a serious conspiracy to eliminate him from the University" - see the summary below) and that Concordia's allegations against me were completely groundless (see summary), arbitrators and lawyers acted inexplicably (see summary), which gave rise to the suspicion that organized crime in the very legal system of the Canadian province of Quebec might be involved. This suspicion was further strengthened when my lawyer told me that powerful people are behind this case and I could not win it.
  3. Not only arbitrators and lawyers acted disturbingly inexplicably by ignoring and contradicting the evidence in this case. No less inexplicable was the refusal of the Canadian media to follow the case, particularly the facts behind the suspicion of organized crime, which I think is professionally dishonest (and perhaps even immoral), because the media already covered the beginning of the case by spreading Concordia University's unfounded allegations and had the professional obligation to report on its alarming developments. An inquiry can determine whether this refusal is just another manifestation of how democratic and independent the Canadian media really are, although it clearly cannot be compared, for example, to the much more worrying inaction of the Canadian media - their virtually not informing Canadians about Canada's vote AGAINST the United Nations resolution on Combating glorification of Nazism.
Montrealers would agree that the most urgent reason for dealing particularly with academic mobbing is that not only bullying, but it too could lead to tragedies and innocent victims - academic mobbing might have been behind two tragedies involving researchers in two Montreal Universities:
  • In 1992 the Concordia University engineering professor Valery Fabrikant reached such a crazed state of the mind that he did the unthinkable - took human life.
  • In 1994 the McGill University neurology and neurosurgery professor Justine Sergent and her husband (and colleague) Yves Sergent committed suicide after a series of actions against Justine Sergent, including an anonymous letter accusing her of scientific fraud and after a report on the case by the Montreal Gazette. An inquiry after their death found no evidence of fraud.
An inquiry into the cases of bullying and mobbing in Canada should ensure that there will be no more tragedies caused by this cancerous phenomen in our society. Unfortunately, we are unable to undo the past tragedies. We will probably never learn who "A member of the Montreal academic community" was, who wrote the anonymous letter against Justine Sergent claiming that his or her colleagues "had long suspected (Dr. Sergent) of scientific fraud" and whether there were people at Concordia whose actions might have brought Fabrikant to that crazed state of his mind and might have indirectly contributed to the tragedy.

Before and in 2010 I asked Concordia's administration to investigate seriously the facts (documented actions against me) of academic mobbing, because I feared that similar mobbing practices that might have contributed to the 1992 tragedy had not yet been completely eradicated from Concordia (and this concern was conveyed to the administration exactly as it is written here). Moreover, the author of one of the two reports on the 1992 tragedy - the Arthurs report - Harry Arthurs, lawyer and former president of York University, told an assembly of professors at a conference of the Canadian Association of University Teachers in Ottawa on November 2, 2007 what he found about Fabrikant's allegations: "Many of his allegations were in substance correct."

After a special panel to examine the situation in the philosophy department (where three other colleagues also had problems) ignored both an eyewitness' testimony of the mobbing against me (see summary below) and all the facts I presented (including two copies of the Minutes of the same departmental meeting), I again urged Concordia's administration to deal decisively with the practices of academic mobbing because of all obvious reasons particularly the potential of such practices to lead to tragedies when psychologically sensitive people are targeted as the 1992 and 1994 tragedies, apparently caused by this evil phenomenon, show.

Instead of doing what Concordia's administration was supposed to do (without my urging them) - to confront the facts of academic mobbing - they even refused to meet with the eyewitness and punished the victim by suspending me (but inexplicably did nothing to four philosophy professors who wrote slanderous letters against me, whose untrue content was proved at the arbitration, and one of them referred to me as "pathology" in her letter; as there is no ban the letters can be posted online). Concordia's most serious reason for the suspension was: posing "serious threats to persons at the University" only because Fabrikant's name appeared in several of my letters to them. It is not only I who think that Concordia's allegation is an obvious demonization technique because they called "threats" my very concerns that Concordia's administration ignored the evidence for the existence of academic mobbing at the university and that they were not acting to eliminate this dangerous phenomenon (Concordia's inaction raised the disturbing question of whether Concordia's administration might have acted similarly in 1992, which might have prevented them from avoiding the tragedy). Moreover, the names of Justine and Yves Sergent also appeared together with Fabrikant's name in a very clear and explicitly unthreatening context (as indicated above); for an independent and professional opinion on my mentioning Fabrikant's name see below the letter of September 29, 2010 by Professor Kenneth Westhues, a renowned researcher of academic mobbing (and author of the book The Envy of Excellence: Administrative Mobbing of High-Achieving Professors), which he sent to the Montreal Gazette's Managing Editor and Concordia's President Woodsworth.

NOTE: Even now I do not know what caused the academic mobbing in my case. Before the actions against me became open, I had friendly relations with the colleagues behind those actions - letters and emails from these colleagues, congratulating me for the successfully organized biennial International Conferences on the Nature and Ontology of Spacetime (e.g., "Thanks for the excellent conference"), for the conference grant applications (all were successful and were granted the maximum amounts by SSHRC), for the gaining popularity Montreal Inter-University Seminar on the History and Philosophy of Science and for my research (e.g., "Congratulations on this significant coverage of your work"), were presented at the arbitration (the slanderous letters were written later, behind my back, and Concordia's administration refused to tell me even the names of their authors, which made it impossible for me to file a harassment complaint). After I was susspended, colleagues and friends have been telling me that the reason for the academic mobbing is simple - pure envy: the conferences and my other results had been apparently viewed as too successful by the people behind the actions against me. The fact is that I noticed those actions after the 2004 conference and they escalated as the 2006 and 2008 conferences were increasingly successful (and they sabotaged the 2010 and the following conferences; sabotaged was also the Montreal Inter-University Seminar on the History and Philosophy of Science, which I started in January 2002).



Anonymous said...

it does seem that Canadian academe is peculiarly toxic

I vividly recall the struggle of a colleague, a Chinese professor who had been promised a potential tenure in Canada only to have the rug pulled from him because the project lost its funding- no fault at all of his

but the university involved fired him within days of the news that they had lost their grant- and withdrew support for his emigration status, and his HR director said "you can always sue us from china...good luck with that".....

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised at any of this.

While I was an instructor at a certain post-secondary institution in another part of Canada, I endured several years of bullying and harassment from certain administrators. They were likely assisted by certain colleagues and the institution's staff association often collaborated with my detractors in this campaign, depending on who was in charge.

No formal investigation was ever conducted, despite my entreaties to that end. Information damaging to my reputation was illicitly put into my personnel file without my knowledge, contrary to institutional rules and regulations.

Unfortunately, my situation there was not unique and little was done to stop it.

I eventually quit when I saw the writing on the wall. I gave my enemies what they wanted but did so on terms that I dictated.