In terms of medical reports, the Provost had made the following specification in his letter of 27 of July 1994:
1. Prior to September 1, 1994 [sic] you will obtain a medical report from a medical specialist duly qualified to practice medicine in the Province of Ontario which addresses [sic] the following issues:I returned to Canada from Ireland on August 16, and between that date and 1 September I had been 'assessed' by four specialists. On the appointed date, therefore - 1 September 1994 - I brought to the Provost's Office two reports, one from Ivan Roma-Guzman, Community Addiction Services, Kensington Clinic, The Toronto Hospital, saying that I had been 'assessed' for 'substance' - i.e. alcohol and drug 'misuse' and that the 'final report will be sent as soon as possible.' The reason, I suspect for the second doctor, is that Dr. Ivan Roma-Guzman is attached to the Toronto Hospital but is from Brazil, and therefore technically does not fill the bill for the Provost's demand that the doctor 'practice medicine in Ontario.' Dr. Roma-Guzman therefore contacted his colleague at the Toronto Hospital, Dr. F. Allodi (who saw me in the afternoon of September 1) before the two of them would send in their 'final report'. But it was Dr. Roma-Guzman who did the drug and alcohol 'assessment'; Dr. Allodi chiefly chatted with me about my two recent books, and was very happy to accept copies which I inscribed for him.
(a) Whether there is any underlying condition or illness which might affect your ability to perform the duties and responsibilities at the University of Toronto.
(b) Whether you are likely to be a risk to yourself or others in the University community.
(c) Whether treatment is recommended and, if so, the likelihood of success if such treatment is undertaken.
2. Prior to September 1, 1994 [sic] you will obtain a report from a doctor qualified to practice medicine in Ontario or other Ontario health professional who specializes in assessment and treatment of individuals with substance misuse problems which addresses the following issues:
(a) Whether you have a substance misuse problem [sic]
(b) Whether any treatment is recommended [sic]
3. The University will pay the full cost of obtaining such reports and will recommend specialists if requested by you or your lawyer.
The second report that I submitted to the Provost's Office on September 1 was from the physician and surgeon Dr. P. Sauret:
On August 26,1994, I did a General Assessment at the request of Mr. O'Driscoll.
The results of the Assessment are that Mr. O'Driscoll is in good health and perfectly able to carry on his usual activities. During the examination, I was able to ascertain that his mental processes are normal and his mind well-balanced.
Nevertheless, on September 2, Acting Provost Carolyn Tuohy suspended me from my teaching responsibilities to the students of this Province - and in the process damaged my professional career -not on a matter of substance but on a mere technicality: the fact that, although the
assessments had been completed, all of the reports of the doctors had not reached her by September 1. I publish below my response to the Acting Provost.
Labour Day 1994
Dear Acting Provost Tuohy,
I am glad that you realize, as you state in your letter of September 2, that I am 'cooperating with
the University by attempting to obtain the [medical] reports.' I wish to continue this co-operation until this matter is settled.
The difficulty was that I did not receive the Provost's request for medical certificates until
late in July when I was in Ireland and it was not until I returned on August 16 that I was able to make the appointments with the specialists. On 29 July, my lawyer, Mr. Charles Roach alerted your lawyer, Mr. John Murray, to the possibility that there might be difficulty in meeting the deadline:
Vice-President and Provost Adel Sedra has imposed an unreasonable and unrealistic deadline on Professor O'Driscoll to obtain the two medical reports.
Sedra has required that these reports be available by September 1, 1994, which gives Professor O'Driscoll four weeks notice.
In normal circumstances it would take more than the time imposed to locate and retain a
specialist and then have that specialist do the type of reports requested.
The condition being imposed at the end of July makes the task more difficult. Professor O'Driscoll is out of the country until mid-August. Further, it is difficult to find a specialist who is not on vacation at this time of year.
Professor O'Driscoll will, nevertheless, attempt to obtain the reports, by the specified date.
By September 1, however, I had managed to be assessed by four doctors, the last appointment re 'substance' misuse or abuse being on September 1 itself. The doctor said that it would take him a few days to write up the report; he will then send it on to Dr. Sauret (Dr. Sauret is synthesizing the reports of the various doctors) who will send it on to you.
In suspending me, as you do, as of September 2, 'from duties and responsibilities, including the teaching of classes,' I cannot fail but note that I am being suspended because of a 'technicality,' the fact that I have had the medical assessments done, but that the reports have not yet reached you. Am I correct in assuming that once the reason for the suspension is removed (and you actually receive the reports), the suspension itself will no longer apply?
Does it not strike you, Acting Provost, that the punishment exceeds the crime? Certainly it reminds me of my dismissal from the Celtic Studies Programme which I had founded - in 1987. I challenged the decision. A University Tribunal was set up, chaired by Faculty of Law Professor E. R. Alexander. The Tribunal reported in the autumn of '87:
The penalty imposed as a result of that disciplinary action was excessive. To remove Professor O'Driscoll permanently from the Program was to, again using the analogy of the Charter, inflict 'cruel and unusual treatment and punishment' on him.You also write: 'l have been in contact with Dr. Allodi.'I s this not rather unusual and irregular for an institutional University of Toronto? Does this not place him in a rather compromising position? l do not have a problem with alcohol nor have I ever taken other 'substances' in my life - so his report can only be in the negative. But the fact that you have been talking to him leaves me rather uneasy.
Can the Acting Provost of a University be 'in contact' with one member of her staff who is assessing another member of the staff without the risk of exercising 'undue influence'? And is not your 'contact' with him bearing rather quick fruit, for already I am being found delinquent in at least one respect: You write: 'He indicated that you had not made him aware of the matters that the University had specified to be addressed in medical reports.' There must be some misunderstanding here because I gave Dr. Allodi ALL of the pertinent material in the Provost's letter that related to the medical reports (I enclose a copy of the material that I gave him).
You also request that l 'inform him [Dr. Allodi] of the particular concerns raised in the letter of June 24,1994 from the University's solicitor to Mr. Charles Roach.' Why should I select one letter from the hundreds - actually I believe it to be thousands - of pages that relate to the Provost's Office 'Investigation' and pass it on to a doctor? If I am to pass him on one document, I must pass them all on: according to the legal system, 'partial disclosure' is not an acceptable form of proceeding.
Why too should one pass on a letter that has no status? I indicated how this was so in my letter to Provost Sedra of 7 August 1994 (incidentally, I have not yet received a reply to this letter). Have you seen it? It reads in part:
This harassment seems never-ending. You sent me, for example, a 17-page Summary of two Reports on my work in March. I devoted six whole weeks meticulously answering each and every allegation. My Memo to you containing the responses is dated 16 June 1994. On 24 June your lawyer sent me the same allegations, some of them dressed up in different prose, and asked me to comment of them again Having done so once, I am reluctant to do so again. My response, you will remember, was something in the region of 43,000 words. Was this too long for your lawyer, too short, not enough detail, too much detail? Does he not understand the prose? What? If I send the 24 June 1994 letter to Dr. Allodi, I would have to send also the Summary (by the University's solicitor) on which it is based AND the two Reports on which the 'Summary' is based, as Mr. Murray, the lawyer, states in a letter to Suzie Scott (Executive Director of the Faculty Association) that his summaries ‘may differ substantially' from the original Reports. I am as a Faculty Member entitled to access to these Reports, but since I have not been able to obtain a copy of the original Reports either through the Faculty Association or the three-month effort of a Toronto lawyer, Mr. Charles Roach, I obviously cannot send them on to anybody. I would too have to include my 43,000-word response to the allegations that have been made against me.
It would have been inappropriate as well as cumbersome to send all of this material to the four doctors involved in the assessment. Are not the doctors responsible for the medical as opposed to the legal components of this operation, in which case the legal aspect does not really concern them? You write:
The Provost did indicate in his letter of July 27, 1994 that failure to provide the reports would result in suspension without pay.... we are not prepared to determine with finality whether the suspension is with or without pay. Should you continue to cooperate in the provision of medical reports needed, including one addressing the matter of substance abuse, the University will consider continuing salary payments throughout the period of suspension.
I am deeply grateful for your consideration in this matter. When I did get the Provost's letter of 27 July I wrote to him saying that 'I hasten to respond to say that I will comply with your 'Conditions of Return to Work' and your 'Conditions Upon Returning to Work.' l had all the assessments done by September 1. It would hardly be just to penalize me financially (I have no other income) simply because the doctors involved didn't have time to get their reports into you: doctors have priorities too, priorities that are almost always more pressing than those of the academic. You must forgive me if I consider it arrogant for the University to think it can force other people to fit into its schedule.
I have asked the Faculty Association to check into the legality of suspending my pay when I am in mid-contract as well as to the legality of the continued impounding by the Provost's Office of the books, files, and papers in my office: it has now been over five months since you impounded them, and I need them for my work.
In closing, I should remind you that I have now been 'investigated' by your office for the last seventeen months: first, it was antisemitism, which I was exonerated from; then it was whether I had committed a 'pedagogical error' in showing a student 40 pages of a 440-page book three weeks prior to publication; then it was my 'professional conduct'; now it is my 'medical condition'. If it is not one thing, it is another. When may I expect the 'investigation' to be completed and to be freed from this harassment?
I look forward to hearing from you when you have had an opportunity to study the assessments.
Professor of English & Celtic Studies
I have received no response to this letter. Nor did I receive any response to my letter to Provost Sedra of 8 August. As of today, 13 September 1994 - and it is now literally only hours before this book is put on the press - I am still suspended. I note with sadness that Acting Provost Tuohy not only spoke with Dr. Allodi on September 2, but wrote him a four-paragraph letter, one of which reads as follows:
I have urged Professor O'Driscoll to make you aware of the matters which we expect to be addressed in your report, as set out in Provost Sedra's letter to him of July 27, 1994. Ihave also urged him to inform you of the particular concerns raised in the letter of June 24,1994 [sic] from the University's solicitor to Charles Roach.
Does this not constitute a further breach of confidentiality, or even of distortion - to suggest to the doctor in question that I am holding something back, when I am not. I had submitted to Dr. Allodi what precisely I was to be tested for [the items listed in the 'Headnote' above]. The reader has by now noted that the 24 June 1994 letter is a decoy, a red herring, merely a repetition of the same allegations that had been answered by my Memo of 16 June. In drawing the doctor's attention to the letter of 24 June the Acting Provost gives the impression that the allegations contained therein have not been answered. I am forced to conclude that the Provost's Office has transcended its authority - in the gravest way - by interfering between doctor and patient.
Nevertheless, the doctors remained true to the integrity of their profession and the reports were sent to Dr. Sauret as soon as they had been written up. The Report of the psychiatrist, Dr. Sanchez, is dated 12 September 1994:
During the evaluation the patient had coherent speech, he was logical, he did not show any flight of ideas, or pressure of thoughts, but he was easily stimulated and became over talkative, giving more details than needed, when asked certain questions. He did not show or report any hallucination or delusions of persecution. His thought processes, memory, concentration, orientation, insight and judgement were normal. The effect was one of slight euphoria. He reported no depression, no suicidal ideas, no death wishes.
I did not detect any psychotic symptoms. I believe that the patient is not dangerous to himself or to others.
The Report was received by Dr. Sauret later in the week, the first week of classes. It was, I decided, useless to go to the Provost with the assessment, as he declared in the Staff Bulletin of mid-September: “he [O'Driscoll] will not be back in the classroom because all of his classes have been reassigned to other instructors," the Provost said, "It would be very unfair to the students to change things in mid-term."
Dr. Allodi's Report is dated 7 September 1994. There is a caveat at the end of the Report, undoubtedly caused by the pressure he was experiencing from the Provost's Office. This is evident in the paragraph that precedes the actual drug and alcohol assessment where we can see the doctor straining between his responsibility to his patient and his loyalty to his employer:
Re: Robert O'Driscoll
DOB: May 3, 1938
Following our conversation [i.e. with Dr. Sauret] last week on the above named, and at your request I saw the above named in my office on September 1, 1994, after he was interviewed by the counsellor of the Kensington Clinic, as you know a community addiction service of which I am Director. The next day, that September 2, 1994, I received a call from the Acting Provost of the University of Toronto, Ms. Carolyn Tuohy. I regret I could not give much information to her since I did not have a signed consent from Professor O'Driscoll allowing me to release information. In fact it was the first time that I knew that the Office of the Provost was involved in this matter or that they were interested in a report from me. All I had in my power was one page given to me by Prof. O'Driscoll with no date, address or letterhead indicating that a ‘medical report should be obtained from a doctor qualified to practice medicine who specializes in assessment and treatment of individuals with substance misuse problems'.
My conclusion from the information that I took from the history and the direct psychiatric examination is that there is no evidence of a problem of alcohol or substance abuse. This, of course, should be qualified because in many cases of people who abuse alcohol or drugs their own statements may not be fully reliable and in this case I have no other source of information. However, it is very probable that this man at the present time is not abusing alcohol or drugs.
The integrity of those four doctors should hearten Canadians, should stand as living testimony that our country is not yet lost. Once more I quote Rolf Rentmeister of Echo Germanica in Toronto:
An individual in communistic society, stepping out of the bounds of their rules, will finally be given over to psychiatric institutions to be 'controlled' through the typical subhuman way which makes psychiatry so famous. Reports from Russians confirm that this was the most loathed punishment a Russian citizen could experience. All other punishments like prison, Siberian labour camps, etc. paled in comparison. In other words, psychiatry is used by a communistic government as the ultimate control agency if an individual steps out of line. In short, the communistic society is basically a slave society. While communism is fighting a losing cause in Russia, what about Canada?
Pinch yourself! We are not living in Russia! We are living in Canada! Pinch yourself again as the horrifying realization gathers to a dark knot in your throat: the same techniques that turned Russia into a slave society are being used in Canada.
For seventeen months - and seventeen months in a Soviet psychiatric prison ward, I was told by a Russian friend Roman Finn, can seem a very long time - I have been subjected to the most gruelling and agonizing 'investigation' in my own country and in a University where I have nurtured my students' minds for twenty-eight years. What kind of an example is this for a University to set before the youth of a nation? Had I been a younger man and less established internationally, I would have been broken. May I say further that the University of Toronto 'lnvestigation' of me transcended my privilege as a teacher, my rights as a citizen, and amounted to nothing else than an attack on my existence as a human being and through me on the integrity of all human beings.
Pain is sometimes necessary for consciousness and certainly for clarity and morality. Consider my pain, but take to your inmost soul Elizabeth's pain, she who suffered in silence ('holding her cards close to her chest'), feeling every nuance of my mental anguish, heroic yet powerless to intervene. The pain is often greater for the one who is watching the effects of pain than for the one who is attempting to diagnose the source of the pain. Consider carefully what you have read in this book, the fruit of our pain in this country of Canada in '94. Cast your mind back to the people who built this nation 'ad mare usque ad mare' - your parents, grandparents, and far far beyond, and then cast your mind forward to the dim coming days and to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom we leave to live here. Ask yourself one simple question: has not the time come to investigate the Investigators? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? We will - The PEOPLE:
Did ye think to conquer the people,
Or that Law is stronger than life and than man's desire to be free?
We will try it out with you, ye who have harried and held,
Ye who have bullied and bribed, tyrants, hypocrites, liars!
(Patrick Pearse, The Rebel)
The title of this section of new world order Corruption in Canada is 'Let the Students/Public Decide: Character Assassination at the U of T.' If you have been able to make a judgment, please write to The President, The University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A1, with a copy of your letter to either Elizabeth or myself, Alexander Fraser House, Arthur, Ontario NOG 1A0. President Pritchard has not yet shown his hand in this 'Investigation'. When he does, Elizabeth and I are of the hope that justice will be done.
ROBERT O'DRISCOLL: PROFESSIONAL CAREER
Books and Books Edited:
Theatre and Nationalism in Twentieth-Century Ireland. Ed. with Introduction. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. London Oxford University Press, 1971.
Yeats and the 1890's. Ed. with Lorna Reynolds. Shannon: Irish University Press, 1971.
Theatre and the Visual Arts: A Centenary Celebration of Jack Yeats and John Synge. Ed. with Lorna Reynolds. Shannon: Irish University Press, 1972.
Intruder: A Poem. London: Advent Books, 1972.
Symbolism and Some Implications of the Symbolic Approach: W.B. Yeats During the Eighteen-Nineties. Dublin: The Dolmen Press, 1976. New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1975.
Yeats and the Theatre. Ed. with Lorna Reynolds. London and Toronto: Macmillan, 1975.
Yeats and the Occult. Edited by George Harper. General Editors: Robert O'Driscoll and Lorna Reynolds. London and Toronto: Macmillan, 1977.
An Ascendancy of the Heart: Ferguson and the Beginnings of an Irish Literature in English. Dublin: The Dolmen Press, 1976. Toronto: Macmillan, 1977.
The Speckled Bird by W.B. Yeats. Ed. William O'Donnell. General Editors: Robert O'Driscoll and Lorna Reynolds. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977.
A Quest Through Europe, Or, The Long Way Round to the Edinburgh Festival. Edinburgh: Demarco, 1980. 238 pages.
The Celtic Consciousness, edited with Introduction. Dublin: The Dolmen Press. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1981. New York: Braziller, 1982. Edinburgh: Canongate, 728 pages. Named by The American Library Association as Outstanding Academic Book of the year in its category for 1982.
Joyce and Dada, edited with Introduction. Dublin: Dolmen, Toronto: Black Brick Press, 1982. 93 pages.
The Untold Story: The Irish In Canada. With Lorna Reynolds, edited with Introduction and contributions. Toronto: Celtic Arts of Canada, 1988. 1083 pages, two volumes.
Nato and the Warsaw Pact Are One (Warsaw and Toronto: Zespol, 1990). An Epic Poem. 64 pages.
The New World Order and the Throne of the antichrist. (Moscow, Washington, and Waterloo: Zespol, Emissary and the Printing Office, 1993. 424 pages. In collaboration with others.
Triad: Armageddon One. Toronto: The Printing Office, 1993.24 pages. Poem.
Atlantis Again: The Story of a Family. Waterloo, Ontario, 1993). 220 pages, in collaboration with others.
The New World Order in North America: Mechanism in Place for a Police State. Toronto: The Printing Office, 1993, 303 pages.
Books in the Press:
The Folk Plays of M. J. Molloy, edited with Introduction and scholarly apparatus. Gerard's Cross, Buckinghamshire: Smythe. Washington: Catholic University of America.
Making It All Visible Again: Unpublished Lectures of W.B. Yeats. Dublin: Cuala Press.
Corruption in Canada. Toronto: Blue Light; Ireland and France: Castelnau. 630 pages, to be released in September 1994.
Books in Preparation:
A Spiritual Biography of AE Russell
The Roots of the Irish Literary Renaissance. Commissioned by an Irish Publisher.
Forty Scholarly Articles and Contributions to:
The The Times Literary Supplement, The University of Toronto Quarterly, Irish University Review, Eire-Ireland, Canadian Journal for Irish Studies, London Art Monthly, Co-op Ireland, The Irish Times, Canadian Forum, Educational Theatre Journal, Sri Aurobindo Journal, Nineteenth-Century Studies, Yeats-Eliot Review, Erin Cara, Educational Encyclopaedia, and others.
Ten scholarly chapters in books published by University of Toronto Press, Clarke Irwin, Gale (United States), Smythe books (Britain), Tubinger (Germany), Graz (Austria), Uppsala (Sweden), etc.
Over fifty public lectures at Universities, Conferences and Festivals including Canada (University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, University of Winnipeg, University of Western Ontario, Concordia University, McGill University, St. Mary's University in Halifax, Memorial University of Newfoundland); United States (University of Notre Dame, University of Michigan at Ann Arbour, University of Minnesota, etc.); Great Britain (Queen's University in Belfast, University of Edinburgh); Ireland (several lectures at the National University of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland); Austria (Graz University); Germany (Wupertal University); Sweden (Uppsala), and many others.