June 04, 2013

Taiwan: University administration extorting payments from faculty members in return for greater job security

A university in central Taiwan has been demanding that its faculty members bring in outside sources of income into the university coffers in exchange for helping ensure their continued employment. Faculty members who do not receive research funding or other grants from outside the university are expected to find opportunities for and establish academic-enterprise cooperation agreements with businesses, while the university collects ten percent of this secondary income claiming "administrative costs," regardless of whether the individual faculty members or the business with which they cooperate require the university's administrative assistance. Those who do not receive research funding or work for businesses off campus are severely penalized by either having half of their customary year end bonus cut by half and forbidden to work part-time off campus as part of receiving a second tier performance evaluation rating, or even receive zero bonus and no customary annual pay rise for having a third tier performance evaluation rating, and will be dismissed altogether after receiving this level of the performance evaluation.

While the budget for research grants has been cut drastically and most faculty members at this university are not very interested in pursuing research opportunities, regardless of whether they could even acquire funding after they had applied for it, very many individual faculty members have resorted to establishing fraudulent "academic enterprise agreements" while the university administration turns a blind eye to this form of fraud while gladly collecting what is akin to extortion.

 This has become a widespread practice in the country, and there has been talk in government circles about how this type of fraud has become prevalent, but it remains to be seen whether anything is going to be done, and there has not been even any talk about confronting university administrations for compelling faculty members to make such involuntary cash donations to their employers.

Anonymous contribution

June 02, 2013

The cross-examination of Professor Rancourt continues: Blog articles and student spy report introduced into evidence

The public tribunal hearings into the 2009 firing of tenured Full Professor Denis Rancourt at the University of Ottawa are on-going this May and June 2013.

These hearings will determine if the dismissal of the professor was (1) justified, and (2) whether it was done in bad faith for reasons other than the alleged pretexts given.

The main alleged reason given by the University of Ottawa for firing the professor is that he would have assigned fraudulent grades to 23 students in an advanced physics course in the winter semester of 2008, grades that are alleged to have no relation to the students' actual performances and progress in the course.

A recent ruling by the Arbitrator has allowed the university to cross-examine Rancourt on his radical blogs "U of O Watch" and "Activist Teacher", and on any broad question to impeach Rancourt's "credibility" and/or fitness to be a university professor.

Rancourt's union had argued that such questions should not be permitted (HERE and HERE). The University had argued that such questions are proper cross-examination questions (HERE and HERE).

The Arbitrator explained that allowing the cross-examination questions is a distinct step from a determination of the relevance of the questions and answers, and cited the factors for determining admissibility of the thus gathered evidence.

The questions about the blogs appear to be aimed at establishing that Rancourt cannot be allowed back on campus because he incites and/or condones violence (link), because he is an anarchist, because he attacks University administrators with no regard for their feelings (link), because he uses his blogs for vengeance against any University executive associated with the dismissal (link), because he celebrates burning cop cars at G20 (link), because he promotes academic squatting (link), and so on.

On May 23, 2013, the University was allowed to put into evidence a report covertly prepared by a hired student spy about a talk Rancourt gave on another campus in 2007. Rancourt requested that he be provided a complete document rather than an incomplete report, and requested that the source of the report be identified and documented on the record, prior to answering questions about the report. Rancourt's requests were not granted. The Arbitrator ordered Rancourt to answer questions about the report. Rancourt was then cross-examined about the report.

The union will introduce a new witness when the hearings resume on June 5, 2013. The cross-examination of Professor Rancourt will then continue after the new witness is cross-examined and re-examined.

From: http://uofowatch.blogspot.ca/2013/05/the-cross-examination-of-professor.html