In June 1993, Provost Foley concluded her Investigation. 'Dear Donald,'she writes on 7 June 1993 to Donald Dewees, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science:
Thank you for your letter of May 21, 1993, concerning the review conducted by Professor Adamowski of the matters concerning Professor O'Driscoll.I must say that I have never seen the 'review' submitted by Professor Adamowski to Vice-Dean Dewees, despite five requests to secure a copy of it. If an academic does not know precisely how he has committed an 'academic transgression', how can he attempt to rectify the situation? Professor Adamowski wrote on 15 June, and if this is the 'letter of reprimand' to which Provost Foley makes reference, it is rather a feeble one. Or again, does another 'letter of reprimand' exist which I haven't seen?
I have accepted the review done by Professor Adamowski and believe that the steps taken by the Department are appropriate. The letter of reprimand from Professor Adamowski should form part of Professor O'Driscoll's file.
I believe it is also appropriate for the Chair to re-affirm with Professor O'Driscoll what constitutes appropriate conduct when Professor O'Driscoll returns to teaching assignments [i.e. September 1994].
I have enclosed for your information a copy of a letter from the Provost, Professor J. E. Foley, that arrived here on 11 June (when I was out of town). It is addressed to Professor D.N. Dewees, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science.Then something happened with a rapidity which no one could have predicted. I published a second book: not having been warned to stay out of the field, I plunged ahead with my research. Immediately another Investigation was called. The connection between the publication of the book and the commissioning of the Second Investigation is therefore clear. Curiously though, the Media Release makes no mention of the book but of 'a series of complaints and incidents over the past five years concerning the activities of Professor Robert O'Driscoll.' Being on sabbatical, I had gone to the University campus only a few times between the conclusion of the First Investigation and the initiation of the second; it is difficult to understand, therefore, how the complaints could have been made during that period, and if they had been relevant to the First Investigation they certainly would have been introduced.
When your sabbatical has concluded, and prior to the resumption of classes in September, 1994,e will need to speak concerning the matter mentioned in the third paragraph of the Provost's letter. In late August, 1994, I will arrange an appointment with you to discuss this matter.
Vice-Provost Cook explained to the Toronto Star (13 October 1993) that 'O'Driscoll's publications and professional conduct' would be reviewed, whether he 'is discharging his obligations as a teacher, researcher and scholar in a way that meets the test of our policies.' Another part of the Review was to determine whether I was creating a 'hostile and intimidating atmosphere' in St. Michael's College during the last five years. A colleague of mine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Professor Patrick O'Flaherty, remembering that I had - between the years of 1966 and 1987 - drawn some 35,000 people onto the campus of The University of Toronto (and that people would hardly keep coming back if they had on any occasion been intimidated or subjected to hostility) has written of the inherent inequity of this process:
It is, to me, an odd proceeding to tackle a university scholar on only five years of a thirty-year career. Far better to look at the whole picture - from the PhD to the present - and make a thorough and humane judgment. A scholar's interests and general writing profile may change radically from decade to decade; there are ups and downs, prolific periods and dry periods, times when teaching is so burdensome that it intrudes on research, family crises, and well, just time's winged chariot going by. If O'Driscoll's path is followed from the beginning to now, these dips and surges will be seen, but let his contributions to Irish literary studies be noted as considerable surges in his scholarly career. The Untold Story: The Irish in Canada and The Celtic Consciousness are big books. And there are other works of consequence on Yeats, Ferguson, etc.Nevertheless, the 'Report' of the Second Investigating Committee (I have been investigated now for eleven of the last fourteen months, and I am still under investigation) exonerated me on the three main fronts of competence expected of a University teacher: teaching, research, and adherence to the curriculum. Of my teaching it was reported: 'his teaching had been generally meritorious, in some courses of very high merit indeed ... many responses suggest he is an inspiring teacher, charming, capable of arousing the students' imaginations and leading them to appreciate difficult modernist texts, etc.' Anyone who consults my teaching assessments for the last five years will see that I have averaged between 6.0 and 6.3, or between 86% and 90% for each of the last five years.
The investigators also report that they found 'virtually nothing to suggest that students were introduced to the material at issue on Professor O'Driscoll's recent work.’ ‘There is no hint,' Professor Adamowski writes, 'of intrusions from his recent publications into the classroom.'
With relation to my literary scholarship, the Investigators concluded (and they do not seem to have my 'Curriculum Update' before them when they made the conclusion), his recent publications do 'not bear on his competence to do the literary scholarship for which he was hired. There is no evidence that he is unable to perform that work competently.'