Professor Robert O'Driscoll
Give a dog a bad name, then hang him - an old saying.
'The one thing you can count on from your colleagues, Bob (long pause) - is their cowardice' (Father John Kelly, President of St. Michael's College, 1958-79; President of St. Michael's College Foundation, 1958-86).
While I was assembling this book, an Investigation was being conducted on me at the University of Toronto. This was commissioned by the Provost's Office a few days after the publication of the second volume of my Armageddon trilogy, The New World Order in North America: Mechanism in Place for a Police State.
The chief section of this book presented a Counter-Intelligence Report of far-reaching significance for the citizens of North America that had been prepared by Mark Koernke of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. At the time I believed strongly, and I still believe, that the substance of this Counter-Intelligence Report should be brought to the attention of Canadians. After ensuring the authenticity of the Report, I prepared an edition of it in July and August of 1993 and published it on a day which has gathered a certain significance for me throughout my 28 years teaching at St. Michael's College: 29 September 1993, the Feast of St. Michael and all his Angels.
Eight days later the Provost's Office announced to the Media that he was initiating an Investigation which was initially called a 'Review of Professor Robert O'Driscoll'. On 31 January 1994 Professor Thomas Adamowski (Department of English) and Principal Joseph Boyle (St. Michael's College) submitted two separate reports to the Provost. These two Reports were then submitted to a third party from outside the University, Mr. John Murray - a lawyer with the firm of Genest Murray DesBrisay and Lamek - who prepared, in his words, 'a summary of the results of the investigation' (referred to henceforth as 'Summary of Investigation 'or simply 'Summary').
On 9 March 1994 - the day after Varsity published a scurrilous account of an 'artistic disagreement' EE and I had almost a hundred miles away (we are after all the ‘fighting Irish'; her people are from the North, mine from the South) - Mr. Murray sent his 'Summary' to the Faculty Association of the University, stating in his accompanying letter that the Reports 'issued to the Provost by Professor Adamowski and Professor Boyle may differ substantially from what I am reporting to you.'
This, surely, is an astounding statement: a lawyer confessing that his 'Summary' of an investigation (which means a life-or-death career verdict for the individual involved) 'may differ substantially' from the original findings of the Investigators.
In any case, The Faculty Association sent the'Summary' on to me. This was followed on March 30 with a letter from the Provost ordering me 'not to enter on either the University of Toronto or St. Michael's College premises 'and that any' violation of this order will mean you are trespassing and the University of Toronto's [sic] or St. Michael's College will respond accordingly.' He went on to state that the Summary 'may lead to the imposition of discipline' and asked for a response rom me by April 15.
I indicated that it was 'impossible' to prepare a response unless I had access to the original documents (to which I am entitled), particularly the 300 or so Student Assessments during the five-year period, and the responses to 140 letters that Professor Adamowski had solicited from my students in connection with the Review/ Investigation. I made a formal request to the Provost that I be given access to the documents. The Provost replied on April 11, saying that there would be no extension in the deadline: he made no reference to the documents I had requested.
In an attempt to find some form of just procedure, I then turned outside the University and engaged Mr. Charles Roach to plead my case. Mr. Roach wrote to the University as follows:
Mr. Roach then listed the particular files to which we were seeking access, and concluded as follows: 'Professor O'Driscoll wishes to provide full and complete answers. I have advised him that the investigation, report and threatened consequences appear to be outside the normal procedure for disciplining a tenured professor.'
Professor O'Driscoll should like us to submit a comprehensive response to the allegations on his behalf. However, I have advised Professor O'Driscoll that we would be unable to provide a detailed answer and defence based on the information that has been furnished to him.
I understand that Professor O'Driscoll has requested access to certain information but has either been refused or ignored.
Article 10 of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Governing Council of the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Faculty Association gives Professor O'Driscoll the right to examine all documents pertaining to him. Accordingly, we want to examine Professor
O'Driscoll's entire file or have a copy of it.
This letter was sent on 14 April 1994. No response had been received by today - June 21 - and I am still barred from entering my office and the Library. Today Mr. Roach sent yet another letter to the University:
One must remember in what follows that the Investigation - one unprecedented in the history of the University of Toronto - was initiated to probe my editing and publishing of a particular book, or rather two books. This clearly falls within my employment as an academic, for Article 5 'Academic Freedom and Responsibilities in the Memorandum of agreement between the U of T Faculty Association and the Governing Council,' - and which is mentioned in the Vice-Provost's Media Release of 7 October 1993 - clearly states that 'academic freedom is the freedom to examine, question, teach, and learn, and it involves the right to investigate, speculate, and comment without reference to prescribed doctrine, as well as the right to criticize the University and society at large.'Academic freedom, the Article goes on,
I am concerned that you have not, despite my repeated requests, responded to my letter of April 14, 1994 on Professor O'Driscoll's behalf.
You will recall that on March 9, 1994 you sent Suzie Scotta summary of the reports submitted by Professor Adamowski and Principal Boyle. You indicated that the summary was 'without prejudice' and 'may differ substantially' from the reports 'which may be issued.' We have not seen the reports.
Professor O'Driscoll was sent two letters dated March 30, 1994. In one, Vice-President and
Provost Adel Sedra noted that the 'reports' may lead to disciplinary action and demanded that Professor O'Driscoll respond no later than April 15, 1994.
The other letter, co-signed by Sedra and Principal Boyle, advised that there were 'more reports of alleged misconduct' and as a result Professor O'Driscoll was banned from the campus.
Prior to retaining me, Professor O'Driscoll tried to obtain material that would allow him to respond to the allegations. He asked that the April 15th deadline be postponed. Sedra refused to postpone his deadline and ignored O'Driscoll's request for access to his file.
I responded to the above-noted demand on Professor O'Driscoll's behalf on April 14, 1994
indicating that we could not provide a full and complete answer without further details and access to certain material. We have had no reply.
entitles faculty and librarians to (a) freedom in carrying out their activities'. (b) freedom in pursuing research and scholarship and in publishing or making public the results thereof, and (c) freedom from institutional censorship. Academic freedom does not require neutrality on the part of the individual nor does it preclude commitment on the part of the individual. Rather academic freedom makes such commitment possible.It is clear from the above that it was not I, but the University Administration in the Provost's Office and St. Michael's College, who has violated the critical 'Academic Freedom and Responsibilities' Article which is indeed the raison d'etre of all Universities.
The questions that my commentary will attempt to answer are: Was an outside lawyer hired to shift responsibility from the University for this clear violation of Article 5? Was there external pressure on the University of Toronto to deal with the matter, but internally the Administration did not want to set a precedent - either for the U of T or for Universities elsewhere, some of which would 'blacklist' the University of Toronto for the way it had dealt with the matter?
In any case, the first step was to divert attention away from the books themselves and shift the ground to an extremely slippery terrain - indeed, one that keeps shifting. In the fifteen-page Summary of the Investigation, only a couple of sentences are devoted to the books.
May I say that I would feel remiss in my responsibilities as an academic living at this critical moment in human history if I did not take this opportunity to bring these matters, as well as the other matters addressed in this book, before the Canadian public and other Canadian Universities. At the same time, I should like to respond to the charges contained in the Lawyer's 'Summary', addressing my response directly to the Provost of the University of Toronto rather than through any legal or political intermediary.
Response to: Adel Sedra, Provost of the University of Toronto
From: Professor Robert O'Driscoll
Re: 'Summary of Investigation' by Mr. John Murray
Date: 16 June 1994
'It is important,' a March Memo of the U of T Faculty of Arts and Science reads,'to ensure "fairness" of process and procedure when dealing with an allegation of academic offence. As well, it is important to be aware that the onus is on the University to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that an offence has been committed.... If you suspect that an academic offence has been or is being committed, ensure that you have the supporting documentation to prove the allegation. No proof, no case. It is not sufficient to say you suspect that an offence has occurred - there must be proof of an offence. This applies to cases heard at the departmental level, the decanal or Tribunal levels.'
Such is the ideal of the University of Toronto with relation to academic offenses. The practice, however, as manifested in the 'Report on the Recent Work of Professor Robert O'Driscoll' seems far removed from the principle articulated above. The Report - or at least the part of it most damning to me - is built on hearsay, innuendo, insinuation, slander, second-hand reports, third-hand reports, and allegations that are insusceptible to proof and which are made by individuals who are not identified. The dates on which many of the alleged incidents or offenses took place are not specified, and even when they are identified the wrong dates are given: on one date, for example, no less than four incidents are described in graphic detail and reported to have taken place at St. Michael's College: I can actually prove that I was not near the University of Toronto campus on that day.
In a democracy that takes its legal system from Great Britain, as Canada does, anybody accused of a misdemeanour - let alone of a graver offence - has the right to know who the accuser or accusers are. I am saddened and disturbed that a Professor teaching 28 years at this institution should have been denied this fundamental right.