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University of Ottawa Activist Student Persecutions: The Case of Marc Kelly

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University of Ottawa Activist Student Persecutions: The Case of Marc Kelly - by Stephen Lendman

On October 21, 2008, for the first time in school history, the University of Ottawa (U of O) Faculty of Science, without cause, deregistered undergraduate Marc Kelly, an exemplary student, expelling him for the semester and preventing him from completing the final three courses he needed to graduate. The official email sent him read:

"The Faculty of Science has been asked to deregister you. (This) message is to notify you that you are no longer registered...."

The official reason was the Department of Physics' displeasure over the nature and methods of his valid, legitimate research, twice secretly rejecting it, then informing him through pro forma letters saying, "It is common sense that (your research) has to use physics tools and physics knowledge."

Kelly was never contacted or questioned. When he tried approaching Physics Chair Bela Joos for an explanation, he refused to see him, suggesting this action wasn't over academic performance, but for publicly supporting tenured Professor Denis Rancourt, unfairly fired as explained below and in detail in an early April article titled, "Targeting Academic and Speech Freedoms: The Case of Canadian Professor Denis Rancourt."

In March 2009, it was for his political activism - specifically, courageously supporting oppressed Palestinians, criticizing the university's refusal to academically boycott Israel, and gallantly backing what U of O officials and President Allan Rock opposed - a former Canadian politician, UN ambassador, and staunch Israeli supporter.

Affected also was Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, student and former Fulcrum Publishing Society (FPS) Ombudsman (U of O's English-language student newspaper) until his March 2010 Board of Directors dismissal for supporting Rancourt, criticizing offensive FPS reports about him, refusing to stay quiet and go along, and confronting Business Manager Frank Appleyard's violation of FPS rules by simultaneously working for President Allan Rock and the FPS. His case was discussed in an April article titled, "Targeting Activist University of Ottawa Students."

Kelly's Background

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An exemplary U of O physics and math undergraduate, he worked for Rancourt as a research assistant. In December 2008, he was arrested for trying to film proceedings at a school Senate meeting, inspired by the University's Vision 2010, in particular the phrase: "transparency and accountability are the principles that guide our university governance." The Senate is U of O's highest academic matters governing body.

At the time, proceedings were open to the public, and no policy prohibited videotaping them, members of the media having previously done it freely. This time Vice President/Provost Robert Major and then Vice President Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers objected. Kelly explained his rights and suggested the issue be raised at the next Senate meeting.

Instead, Major had the Ottawa police arrest him, treat him like a common criminal, handcuff and forcibly remove him, criminally charge him with disturbing the peace, then tell him he'd be released if he signed a freedom restriction agreement barring him from campus.

Kelly protested, explained he was a U of O student and employee. Administration officials lied, saying he was neither. After his release, he was under constant surveillance, reports then sent to police. When he tried registering for a course at the Faculty of Science undergraduate office, police were informed to stop him.

A year later, criminal charges were dropped but not his U of O banishment. On November 13, 2008, Allan Rock publicly assailed him. In January 2009, he (and Rancourt) were arrested at a campus event where he was making a presentation on student activism. Afterward, the Crown and U of O pressured him to accept a Peace Bond under Section 810 of Canada's Criminal Code - to excuse the university from a court defense and have Kelly agree to stay off campus. At the time, the Crown Prosecutor and U of O collaborated with Ottawa police, acting no differently than in a police state.

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On May 14, 2009, late at night, police arrested Kelly again, criminally charged him with "breaching his (campus prohibition) conditions," and jailed him. One charge was for questioning Allan Rock at a public event - his legal right under Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, affirming among other provisions that:

Everyone's "fundamental freedoms" include....freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication (as well as) freedom of peaceful assembly (and) freedom of association."

During summer 2009, after negotiations with Des Rosiers, an agreement was reached as follows:

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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