- ACTIVISME JUDICIAIRE (3)
- ANTICLÉRICAUX ET FRANCS-MAÇONS (4)
- APOSTASIE TRANQUILLE (1)
- AVORTEMENT (19)
- BANQUES (1)
- BIENTÔT UN GOUVERNEMENT MONDAIL? UNE SUPER ET CONTRE-ÉGLISE (47)
- CHANGEMENTS CLIMATIQUES (6)
- COMMUNISME (23)
- COMPLOTS (32)
- CORRUPTION AU CANADA (15)
- CORRUPTION IN CADADA (220)
- CRÉATEUR DIVIN VERSUS CRÉATEUR EXTRA-TERRESTRE (2)
- CRÉDIT SOCIAL PAS UN PARTI POLITIQUE (14)
- CRIME DE HAINE ET PROPAGANDE HAINEUSE (4)
- DU COMMUNISME AU MONDIALISME (21)
- ÉCOLE LAÏQUE (2)
- ÉCONOMIE (1)
- ÉDUCATION DES ENFANTS (1)
- ENCYCLIQUE «DIVINI RREDEMPTORIS» SUR LE COMMUNISME ATHÉE (5)
- EUTHANASIE (1)
- EXTRÉMISTES LAÏQUES (1)
- FÉMINAZISME (2)
- FÉMINAZISME-FÉDÉRATION DES FEMMES DU QUÉBEC (3)
- FIDEL CASTRO (2)
- GEORGE SAND - ÉTUDE D'UNE ÉDUCATION (1)
- GRAND ORIENT DE FRANCE (1)
- GRIPPE COCHONNE OU H1N1 (5)
- HOMOSEXUALITÉ (15)
- HUMOUR POLITIQUE (1)
- Islam (2)
- ISLAM ET LE CORAN (3)
- KARL MARX ET SATAN (8)
- KHROUTCHEV (1)
- L'ÉCOLE LAÏQUE ET LE RAPPORT PROULX (47)
- La République Universelle (16)
- LE BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS - LE RIN - LE PARTI QUÉBÉCOIS (23)
- LE CHRISTIANISME A-T-IL FAIT FAILLITE? (8)
- LE MARXISME-LÉNINISME (43)
- LES CRIMES DU COMMUNISMES (60)
- LES FORCES OCCULTES DANS LE MONDE MODERNE (4)
- LES JUIFS DANS LE MYSTÈRE DE L'HISTOIRE (48)
- LIBÉRALISME (1)
- LIBRE ENTREPRISE (1)
- MÉDIAS ANTICLÉRICAUX (1)
- MESSAGES AU LECTEUR (1)
- MOMENTS HISTORIQUES (1)
- MOUVEMENT LAÏQUE QUÉBÉCOIS OU FRANÇAIS (1)
- MYSTÈRE D'INIQUITÉ - MYSTERIUM INIQUITATIS (40)
- NATIONS UNIS - COMMISSION DES DROITS DE L'HOMME (2)
- Persécutions Anti-Chrétiennes (1)
- PHILOSPHIE (2)
- RAPPEL HISTORIQUE (1)
- RÉCHAUFFEMENT PLANÉTAIRE (8)
- RELATIONS DES JÉSUITES TOME 6 (119)
- RELIGION (1)
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- SÉKOU-TOURÉ (1)
- SÉPARATISME (2)
- SOINS DE SANTÉ SOCIALISTES (1)
- SUICIDE ET MÉDICATION (1)
- SUPERSTITIONS (1)
- THE UNITED NATIONS EXPOSED (23)
- TITISME (1)
- TITO (1)
- TROTSKY (1)
Les Relations des Jésuites contiennent 6 tomes et défont le mythe du bon Sauvage de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, et aussi des légendes indiennes pour réclamer des territoires, ainsi que la fameuse «spiritualité amérindienne».
lundi, avril 30, 2007
The one thing the Investigating Committees have consistently shied away from is an academic analysis of the books that have led to the investigations. In 1991 I had begun my research in all good faith and with the thoroughness that had characterized my work in the Celtic field (a book I had edited in 1982 tracing two thousand years in the Celtic continuum had earned for me the award of the American Library Association of Outstanding Academic Book of the Year in that category for the United States in that year).
The two questions I started with were as follows:
1. Why have the leaders of the West allowed trillions of our money to be spent for ABC weapons, destroying trillions of dollars worth of property and resources in the process of developing them, and now we need trillions of dollars to destroy accumulated ABC weapon and nuclear waste? Can any sane academic call this intelligent leadership?
2. Why have our Canadian leaders allowed one trillion dollars public debt ($500 billion federal debt, $250 billion provincial debt, $250 municipal) AND two trillion private and corporate debts to accumulate? Why must Canadians now pay the highest taxes on earth per capita?
I investigated the questions and came to the conclusion that these situations were not accidents of history but had resulted from the planning of a high-finance international élite. I admitted that I could be wrong and invited any of my colleagues to show me how.
My colleagues on the Investigating committee, or those consulted by the Investigating Committee, have not even addressed the problem addressed in the books I have edited, but have dismissed them in a generalized way without attention to the details of the evidence that has been assembled.
Your predecessor, Provost Joan Foley, states in her Media Release (24 March 1993) that 'a preliminary review of the book [The New World Order and the Throne of the antiChrist] suggests that it is not a scholarly work.' Just that bald statement and no more! The 'reviewer' is not identified nor is his or her substantiation of the statement presented. This is not the way academic judgments are made: true academics present their evidence, reach their conclusions, and standbythem- unless more compellingevidence is presented.
Yet Provost Foley's citation of an anonymous reviewer has been quoted without question by the CBC, The Toronto Star, Canadian Jewish News, Now Magazine, and Varsity.
Last spring Provost Foley sent my New World Order and the Throne of the antiChrist to the former Attorney General of the Province of Ontario, Ian Scott, to ascertain whether or not it constituted 'hate literature'. Mr. Scott responded in the negative: no, it does not constitute hate literature. Why, I ask, did Provost Foley not make this assessment public?
dimanche, avril 29, 2007
Having being exonerated in three of the main areas of competence expected of a University teacher, my Investigating Committee turned to the most evanescent and nebulous of considerations: conduct.
Observe, as Virginia Woolf suggests, a normal person on a normal day and if you are astute you will conclude before the end of the day that the ,normal' person you are observing is not that normal at all.
I fail to understand why 'conduct' should become an issue between the First and Second Investigation (i.e. June and October 1993) since, as I have stated above, I am on sabbatical this year and have only been on campus for a couple of hours on a few occasions. I realized, however, that my students would be the only ones competent to comment on my 'professional conduct', so in early November 1993 I sent out a Memo to about 70 of my former students during the last five years, formulating my question almost exactly along the lines of your directive to Principal Boyle last October: 'the review should address the question of whether Professor O'Driscoll has contributed to ensuring that the environment at the College is conducive to learning, and is free of discrimination that would create a hostile and intimidating atmosphere.' The question I asked the students was: 'Has Professor O'Driscoll contributed to ensuring that the environment at the College is conducive to learning, and is free of discrimination that would create a hostile and intin-ddating atmosphere?'
Unknown to me, at almost precisely the same time as I sent out my questionnaire, Professor Adamowski sent out one of his own to 140 of my former students. In the responses which are printed below, some are addressed to Professor Adamowski and some are addressed to me. I have avoided printing letters that have already appeared in The Newspaper, Varsity, Now magazine, The Toronto Star and elsewhere, for the simple reason that letters meant for the public eye usually are focused more on the writer of the letter than the subject he is addressing. As one student (Tom Sarantos) points out below: 'it seems to me that those who defend him [i.e. me] thus consider him not guilty only on the basis of inconclusive evidence.' In other words, they don't have first-hand evidence of the classroom situation. Tom Sarantos makes a profound point here: the implication is that students who have studied with a particular professor are best qualified to make a judgment with relation to a professor's professional conduct.
Teacher and student have been in the same four-walled room for at least 72 hours each during a particular year. At the end of the year I have had my opportunity to test and assess them and SO HAVE THEY. I, therefore, quote - and this is the central plank of my defence - some thirty or forty of the responses that I received (the rather remarkable thing is that none of those responses find their way into the 'Summary' before me). The responses also mark 'new material', for when I had collected them in the autumn I took them (plus my updated Curriculum Vitae) to the Office of the Faculty Association in December. I was advised not to pass the material on to the Provost's Committee and 'not to participate in this review, which has no precedent at the University'. I did as the Faculty Association advised which meant that the formulators of the 'Report' did not consider this material which surely is relevant to their deliberations. I therefore submit this first-hand evidence now:
I am curious to see what the outcome of this investigation into Professor O'Driscoll's actions will be. The very fact that this type of investigation can take place at an institute of 'higher' learning has solidified my decision to seek a life in another country other than Canada once my undergraduate studies are complete. If anything is being 'compromised' here, it is the liberty of individual Canadians. If a particular group takes issue with what Professor O'Driscoll has to say outside of the classroom, they are free to engage him in debate. To give them the right to silence him and discredit him wholesale, is a proposition I find extremely discomforting (Zena Ananjevs, Class of 92-3, letter to Professor Adamowski, 18 November 1993).
At no time did I find the climate of Professor O'Driscoll's lectures to be compromising or intimidating, particularly in regards to the specific question at hand; namely anti-Semitism. I found Professor O'Driscoll's to be quite stimulating and, if anything was lacking, it was the participation of the students themselves (Zena Ananjevs, Class of 92-3, letter to Professor Adamowski, 18 November 1993).
I was aware of attention you received from your work lately but had no idea you were being investigated. I am shocked! In the two years I studied with you I never felt you to be even remotely anti-Semitic or threatening. In fact, I found your Modern Drama class to be so stimulating that it led me to seek you out to be the advisor of my Senior Essay on Beckett. I am very proud of that essay and grateful for all your help and advice about Beckett's writing. Clearly you were an instrumental force in the lucidity of our thought! Although I have not read your books in question - edited or otherwise - I personally never found your conduct to be anything but professional. Moreover, with my background and a name which is identifiably Jewish I would have noticed anything remotely anti-Semitic in nature, whether in class or during our many one-onone meetings.
You were always my favourite Professor (Jon Finkelstein to Professor O'Driscoll, Class of 90-1 and 91-2, 1 December 1993).
Far from being 'hostile and intimidating' the atmosphere of your classes was unconditionally inclusive and supportive. Every student was encouraged to contribute, and all opinions and interpretations were accepted and discussed respectfully. I have never heard you utter a word that could be construed as prejudiced or discriminatory in any way (Elizabeth Marsh, Class of 88-9 and 92-3,12 November 1993).
I am distressed and dumbfounded to discover that the University is conducting this 'investigation' of your work. My first class with you was in fact my first English Literature course at the University level. At that time, I was nervous and unsure about pursuing my studies in this subject area despite my personal love of literature, for several reasons; one being that I was of an ethnic background other than Anglo-Saxon, even if I was born and raised in Canada. These uncertainties dissipated immediately thanks to you! You created an atmosphere that was peaceful and exciting, where everyone was encouraged to voice their opinions without fearing ridicule or being told that they were 'wrong'. What could be more conducive to learning than a teacher who is unbiased, open-minded, supportive, and is constantly encouraging his students to explore their minds and hearts to discover how the literature that they are studying applies to today.
If there are two evils that are not present in you, they are intimidation and discrimination! I am sorry to say that I have felt discrimination in other English courses because of my ethnic background but never in your classes. In your classroom environment I was challenged intellectually, motivated to learn and explore, and most importantly, I felt safe enough to voice my thoughts knowing that they would not be ridiculed.
I have learned so much from you Professor O'Driscoll. I went on and completed my 4-year B.A., with a specialization in English Literature in 1992.
Last year I obtained my Bachelor of Education with Honours, also from U of T, and this year I am teaching French as a Second Language to Grades 2,3, and 4. I hope that I am able to give my students the security and confidence to explore intellectual problems and the love of learning that you gave me! To directly address your concerns: was the atmosphere that you created in the classroom 'hostile and intimidating'? Most definitely not! Was it conducive to learning? Most certainly, without any shadow of a doubt! (Ann Marie Ricardo, Class of 80-90 and 90-91,16 November 1993).
I cannot believe that you have to go under 'investigation' for something that is totally false. I had you for a first-year English course and I thought you were an excellent Professor. Not only were your lectures fascinating but I enjoyed the atmosphere you created. I felt very comfortable and at ease and the manner in which you lectured was admirable. I looked forward to going to your English class because somehow you made me feel relaxed.... I cannot describe in words how comfortable I felt in your class and perhaps the fact that I recommended you to my younger brother demonstrates that I thought you were excellent. I never felt intimidated by your conduct; in fact I felt confident.
Not only were you friendly in the classroom, you always acknowledged me when you saw me in the cafeteria, outside of the classroom. I always felt special when you when you said hello to me because, as I already mentioned, you have many admirable qualities (Antonia Perrino, Class of 90-1).
Regretfully, it has recently come to my attention that the professional 'conduct' of Professor Robert O'Driscoll has come into question. Having been a student in Professor O'Driscoll's Modern Drama class last year, I believe that I, more than any committee or council, am uniquely qualified to assess the 'conduct' in question.
Though my contact with Professor O'Driscoll was reserved to in-class exchanges, I am both saddened and confused that such an investigation has been deemed necessary. Never was the conduct of Professor O'Driscoll anything but professional; his comments were reserved - exclusively - to discussion of modern drama.
Quite simply, I believe that Robert O'Driscoll is a fabulous Professor, and moreover, a decent person. I feel fortunate to have been a student of his. Should you need me to testify on your behalf or require anything that you feel I might be of assistance in providing, please feel free to contact me (John Flaim, Class of 92-3, to Professor Adamowski, 15 November 1993).
My recollection of your class is one of a challenging and instructive environment in which questions and exchange of views were encouraged.
I attended the class assiduously and recall no remarks of a discriminatory nature on your part. In other words, the atmosphere in your classroom was conducive to learning and not hostile and intimidating (Elizabeth Paupst, Class of 91-2,14 November 1993).
The atmosphere created in class was the only one that could be considered conducive to learning: an atmosphere of relaxed intellectual debate. Condescension, egotism or high handedness, traits possessed by many at the University of Toronto, were absent in Professor O'Driscoll's classroom as he was not only a fountain of knowledge, but also a friend who knew his students on a first-name basis and was always there when called upon.
This is only one person's short recollection of Robert O'Driscoll, butI know personally that he received nothing but the highest praise from the students in the courses in which I was lucky enough to have participated. If some of the other members of the University of Toronto would take a lesson from Professor O'Driscoll, maybe the whole university experience would be less daunting and, in the long run, more rewarding (John Richardson to Professor Adamowski, 10 November 1993, Class of 1987-8 and 1991-2).
NEVER in my four years in this institution have I ever felt more comfortable in a classroom than when I sat in yours from Sept. 90 to April 91. You always inspired me, as well as my peers, to aspire towards achieving our goals. Is that not the role of a skilled educator? Is that not the role of a competent teacher? The answer is an emphatic 'YES'! I never once felt intimidated by your teaching methods or your manner of expression.
Before I entered your classroom I was unsure whether or not I wanted to continue my study in English Literature. However, you allowed me to welcome English Literature with open arms. I have continued my studies in this field and I will have acquired a Specialist in English Literature by May 1994. You have made the most positive and most favourable impression on me. I enter each new class with the hope that the Professor will match your enthusiasm, your eagerness to teach, and your capabilities as a Professor. I have had nineteen different Professors in my four years here. You have been the best of them all!
You have definitely contributed to ensuring that the environment at the College was conducive to learning. Never did you create an atmosphere which was hostile and intimidating for the students in the classroom. Your classroom was always free of discrimination and you treated each student in a proper and professional manner. I have no reservations whatsoever about stating that, in my estimation, you are the best professor this University has to offer (Benny Perrino, Class of 90-1).
I am truly disgusted at what the University of Toronto is doing. I mean, here is an institution that not only allowed, but even invited members of the Heritage Front - a truly, well, let me say 'undesirable' group of people, who publicly distribute hate literature and the like - onto its campus last year ... yet the U of T decides to make an ENORMOUS stink about some professor whose outside-the-classroom activities, namely his writing, are ,questionable'.
I really don't see that it matters at all, so long as your in-class conduct is free of discrimination. I, who am forever looking for a good reason for argument, have certainly never felt an air of discrimination in your classroom, and I spent the better part of every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon there during my first year at U of T. No, not once did I even feel that I, or anyone else for that matter had reason to feel intimidated or discriminated against because of race, religion or culture. In fact you were one of the professors who really stood out, positively, in the doldrums of first-year classes (Vera Teschow, Class of 92-3,12 November 1993).
In my years as an undergraduate, which also included one year in a university in the United Kingdom, I have experienced many different teaching personalities and styles. As an instructor, Professor O'Driscoll was dynamic, knowledgeable, and passionate about his field. In short, Professor O'Driscoll's class, from beginning to end, was one of the best I had the pleasure of attending.
I have struggled through many forgettable lectures, and have faced professors who were unapproachable and uncommunicative - though I have no doubt that they were well-published and highly regarded in their fields, just as Professor O'Driscoll is. Yet his class was unforgettable, and as a teacher he was approachable and generous with his time - qualities I have grown to value in my instructors.
You also ask whether Professor O'Driscoll created an environment that was 'conducive to learning'. His was a challenging class in which the students were asked to participate and to interact constantly with each other and with him. I would say that this atmosphere was in fact extremely conducive to learning.
I am certain you know well that many distinguished academics and authors can read a lecture, cover course material, and mark papers. Yet only a dedicated and talented teacher will, in addition to this, interact with students in class, and constantly demand that they contribute in order to enhance their own learning.
I would like also at this time to voice my concern over one aspect of this 'investigation'. I now know that Professor O'Driscoll also researches and publishes material outside of his field at the University, and that it is this body of work which has attracted, recent scrutiny. As a student in his class, however, this was not brought to light until the cameras paid us a visit and we were suddenly thrust into this newsworthy controversy.
To be quite blunt, Professor O'Driscoll taught modern drama. That is all. He did not in his class refer to any opinions he held academically sound or dubious as they may be deemed, if ever such a consensus can be reached. I am distressed to see how what should be a healthy academic debate over his other work has invaded his classroom, and has put his very integrity as a professor and as a person at stake. I am concerned that a fine professor, who is an asset to this University for his teaching skills, dynamic classroom style, and unquestionable excellence in his field of English and Celtic Studies, may be unnecessarily damaged by these proceedings (Kristina Soutar to Professor Adamowski, 19 November 1993, Class of 92-3).
I found that the classroom situation greatly inspired both my interest and participation in the material we were studying. Contrary to the instruction in my other classes, the material here was presented in a way which showed a devotion and care to the thoughts and ideas of the students. The style of instruction showed a great deal of tolerance and insight into the opinions and differences which existed in the class. This meant that the classes were always challenging and rewarding. I wish that other instructors would offer this kind of dedication so as to remind me more often of the reason why I am here (Cecilia Barry, Class of 92-3, 24 November 1993).
In no way was the atmosphere in the classroom 'hostile and intimidating'! It was, in every way, enlightening,amicable, inspiring, definitely conducive to learning. I marvelled at your knowledge and your ability to impart it. As a mature student. I tried other seminars and courses, but the environment in your classroom was by far the best and the most 'conducive to learning' (Mary Keenan, Class of 92-3, 22 November 1993).
When it was first brought to my attention that a student of yours had accused you of being anti-Semitic, I was greatly disturbed by these charges. I have never seen any behaviour that could be considered anti-Semitic in any respect. Now that you are under investigation for your conduct, I will reaffirm my previous opinions. There are no circumstances in which the classroom atmosphere could be considered hostile or intimidating in any way. No remarks that could be considered discriminatory or racist were ever made by yourself. A classroom environment was created in which all the students were able to speak and express their opinions. It was a very interesting and enjoyable class. I learned a lot in that class and I was able to apply the knowledge that I gained to other English courses (Cynthia Furfaro, Class of 92-3, 15 November 1993).
As a student of yours during the 1992/93 school year, I thank you for your unending patience, good humour, and inspired teaching.
I have been involved in various areas of the education system for a number of years, and I think I can speak with some knowledge regarding the calibre of teachers I have met since I came to Canada. This experience has covered my children's education, up to and including high school, both in the public and separate systems, my own attendance at a local high school to upgrade my computer literacy, interest courses, many years involved in the Federation of Catholic Parent Teacher Associations of Ontario, and finally attending the University of Toronto as a mature student.
Amongst all these teachers I have never met one who has made it so clear that the reason for university is to teach students to think and reason for themselves as much as you have. The joy of being taught that one's own interpretations of readings have merit, the excitement when you managed to extract, from such a diverse group of people, the meaning of a particularly difficult passage or poem was wonderful. Never, at any time, did I hear you speak ill of anyone. The atmosphere in the classroom was warm and encouraging at all times (Susan Hennessy, Class of 92-3, 15 November 1993).
As a student who has known you throughout the past four years of my academic career, I can say with utmost sincerity, that you are the best professor I have come across at the University of Toronto. Your lectures are intellectually stimulating, and you encourage class discussion more than any other professor I know. Any question regarding your conduct as a professor is, as far as I am concerned, completely unjustified. The university has no cause for concern in regard to your professional conduct, and I should hope this is realized very soon, so that this ridiculous investigation can be put to rest. I also hope that this whole business has in no way affected your plans for returning to teach at the university, for I feel that you would be a great loss to its future students (Penny Giaouris, Class of 89-90 and 92-3,15 November 1994).
Quite the opposite of hostile and intimidating, I found your classroom to be a forum where the expression of student ideas about the works being studied was consistently encouraged and where students were challenged to explore the texts. You teaching was both interesting and valuable. I was actually disappointed at the beginning of the present school year to discover that my English classes are not as thought-provoking and interactive as yours.
As for discrimination, I never once heard you make reference to beliefs you may or may not hold, nor did I feel that we as students were being exposed to anything other than intelligent teaching and discussion (Laura Jiminez, Class of 92-3, 15 November 1993).
Without question, the atmosphere created by Professor O'Driscoll in teaching this course was neither 'hostile' not 'intimidating'. Rather, I found it more conducive to learning than many of the other courses I have taken under both my three-year English B.A. as well as those courses taken towards my second degree in Environmental Science (B.Sc., also at U of T).
O'Driscoll's teaching methods were most 'conducive to learning' for the very reason that the classroom environment was free of any form of discrimination and, thus, friendly and inviting of class discussions. The professor was encouraging of student participation and open to any insights on the material covered. Furthermore, the curriculum was presented in a unique and thought-provoking manner while Professor O'Driscoll remained personally approachable and accommodating. Though the classroom I have just described is relaxed and friendly, it also remained productive and professionally conducted.
For all these reasons, I felt this academic atmosphere to be more conducive to learning than other classes where professors merely talk at students, creating an air of intimidation (Alison Maher to Professor Adamowski, 11 November 1993, Class of 92-3).
As a young first year, I was somewhat intimidated by the teaching style of my professors that seemed not to understand the struggles of a first-year student. Professor O'Driscoll not only tried to ease the transition from high school to university, buthe also made it enjoyable. He demonstrated to us what the real university process should be, the open exchange of ideas between people searching for a better understanding. He respected our opinions, and in fact encouraged us to fon-n them. Professor O'Driscoll will remain a courteous, understanding man who has enriched my university experience through his great passion for life. It really is a great tragedy to silence such a voice (Micol Marotti to Professor Adamowski, 19 November 1993, Class of 90-1).
In later years, I wrote an article for the St. Michael's College newspaper, The Mike, giving a critique of his book and later presentations of The New World Order. I had no previous knowledge that Professor O'Driscoll wrote books, let alone of the contents. Professor O'Driscoll never even mentioned his literary works in our class, the views expressed in those works, or even, material covered in his other classes.
His presentation of The New World Order received international acclamation, culminating in his successful presentations both in Dublin and in Toronto for a general public. His work also inspired several artistic representations that brought these artists international recognition (Micol Marotti to Professor Adamowski, 19 November 1993, Class of 90-91).
I wanted to see you before I graduated to thank you for the wonderful experience I had in your class in first year. I will also be thankful for the friendships made in your class, that I have maintained all through university. I hope that you are not going to let these institutions define what they consider 'normal conduct' apply to your passion for teaching. I read something interesting in Proverbs ten, verse ten which said: 'someone who holds back the truth causes trouble, but one who openly criticizes works for peace.' Please sir, keep working for peace (Micol Marotti, Class of 90-1).
I have just written to the English Department telling the Chairman that I found you a dedicated, inspiring, prompt and well-prepared teacher. I look forward to hear that you have been vindicated. Upwards and onwards! (Molly Sutkaitis, Class of 91-2).
I can honestly say that I personally did not feel that Professor O'Driscoll created an intimidating or hostile atmosphere. On the contrary, I feel that he tried to create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. I must add that he was quite knowledgeable in his subject area (Rose Pereira, Class of 91-2).
Lectures were always informative, imaginative and original. The language and actions presented in the classroom never crossed the line that separates the realm of professional from that which is derogatory or offensive.
The lectures were entertaining and in my opinion more educational because they maintained everyone's attention. If I were still enrolled at the University of Toronto I would not hesitate to enrol in another one of your courses. Horace once said that poetry should teach and delight and it is this concept that [animated] your class (Patricia Farrell, Class of 89-90).
I cannot say that I found your [classes] 'hostile and intimidating.' On the contrary, I found your class on the Celtic Renaissance to be extremely stimulating. It was a class that was not simply a lecture but a place where everyone could express their views on the material and ask questions. I believe it was a class that should set an example for other instructors.
With regard to anti-Semitism, it was never mentioned. There was only enthusiasm for Celtic writers and poets and their Celtic art.
For a painter like myself, who was born in Ireland, this class made me think a great deal about who I am and what my art is about, how my Celtic heritage is manifested in my work (Janette McDonald, Class of 92-3).
Professor O'Driscoll contributed to ensuring that the classroom environment was conducive to learning, and was free of discrimination. The classroom environment was not hostile and intimidating in any way. Rather Professor O'Driscoll created a pleasant academic environment (Lina Fallico to Professor Adamowski, 15 November 1993).
I have been asked to note whether Professor O'Driscoll's teaching style was 'intimidating or coercive' or whether it was conducive to learning. In my opinion, Professor O'Driscoll was in no way intimidating or coercive in his teaching methods. On the contrary I found him to be quite open and receptive.
His inviting manner of teaching was refreshing in a university that is known for its impersonal style. Professor O'Driscoll challenged his students to excel and brought to the classroom a vibrancy and vitality that in my academic career has yet to be equalled (Rene Zanin to Professor Adamowski, 17 November 1993).
Having studied under Professor O'Driscoll during both the 88/89 and 90/91 academic terms, I can readily attest to the good nature of his character and high quality of his teaching. Not once during either of those periods did I witness any actions, statements, or behaviour by him which could be remotely construed as discriminatory or which would contribute to a hostile and intimidating atmosphere.
On the contrary, Professor O'Driscoll is one of those rarest of individuals: a free thinker who is as fair and open minded within the class room as he is without. His were the most dynamic, creative, and challenging courses that it was my fortune to attend during my entire undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto.
In addition to being a skilled and knowledgeable instructor, Professor O'Driscoll possess an infectious enthusiasm for his subject matter which I consider the hallmark of all truly great teachers. One never had to be coaxed to attend his classes; rather, it was a pleasure one looked forward to throughout the school week. I found myself having keener discussions, more interesting and enthusiastic debates, and more profound insights during his classes than in any others at the U of T - without exception.
On a more personal level, I have always known Professor O'Driscoll to be exceedingly gracious and well-mannered individual - a true gentleman. He has a great sense of humour, is always polite and attentive towards his students, and treats each person as an equal, regardless of race, sex, or nationality. In regard to his academic credentials, in my opinion they are beyond reproach. I have faith that the obvious merits of his character and work will confound the spurious accusations being levelled against him, and that he shall quickly resume the position of respect that he commands at the University of Toronto (Michael Wray to Professor Adamowski, 16 November 1993, Class of 89-90 and 90-1).
During the whole term, it never occurred to me that the atmosphere you created in the classroom was hostile and intimidating or not conducive to learning. Therefore, I was really surprised to learn that your conduct in the classroom was [being] questioned. Here again, I ascertain that the atmosphere and environment was free of discrimination of any sort, and I really enjoyed the lectures delivered by you (Michelle Tang, Class of 92-3).
My recollections of your class three years ago are certainly not of a hostile and intimidating atmosphere. On the contrary, your use of round table discussions created a friendly atmosphere which encouraged learning through the participation of every student (Marilyn Murphy, Class of 89-90).
While my comments may only be limited to the teaching environment that existed under the guidance of Professor O'Driscoll, I believe they are pertinent given the University's 'obligation to ensure that the learning environment is free of discrimination that would make this environment hostile and intimidating,'as indicated in your letter. You also stated that the University is 'dedicated to fostering an academic community in which the academic freedom of each individual, in both learning and scholarship, may flourish.' In either case, I assure you that during the classes I had with Professor O'Driscoll I never even felt him to threaten to breach the aforementioned university policies.
Indeed, I believe that Professor O'Driscoll actively encouraged and promoted the challenging of ideas whether they be his, those of the writers we studied or those of our peers. His classes were interesting, informative and conducive to the pursuit of knowledge. This environment was a corollary of Professor O'Driscoll's pedagogical skills which can only be described as entertaining, enlightening, encouraging and challenging.
Hence, in response to your request, I submit to you that I did not find Professor O'Driscoll's teaching 'problematical' and the classroom 'environment was conducive to learning' (Andre Moniz to Professor Adamowski, 28 November 1993).
As a former student of Professor Robert O'Driscoll, I found him nothing but professional in his teaching. Professor O'Driscoll succeeds in creating a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere in the classroom. I found him amiable and encouraging and available outside lecture hours. I enjoyed my course with Professor O'Driscoll and would not hesitate to take another course with him (Sean Monaghan, Class of 90-1).
As a concerned student, I feel I have responsibility to voice my dismay and unhappiness concerning your investigation of the teaching conduct of Professor O'Driscoll. I am a 4th year student of St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto. As a student working towards a Joint Specialist in English and History, I have found Professor O'Driscoll to be one of the best English professors that I have had in my undergraduate studies. It is also worth noting that I had the pleasure of being one of Professor O'Driscoll's students in my lst and 3rd year. During that time, I have found Professor O'Driscoll to be extremely competent and an excellent scholar.
Furthermore, with regard to his 'conduct,' I would say that the atmosphere that he promotes in the classroom is one that is intellectually stimulating and one that is conducive to academic learning. To say that Professor O'Driscoll is intimidating is completely and utterly false. I am sure that you will find out that I am not the only one who will voice their dismay with regard to the investigation (John Gerardo to Professor Adamowski, 12 November 1994, Class of 90-1 and 92-3).
The last letter I quote is a rather lengthy one, but it evokes rather vividly something of the atmosphere one student felt I created in the classroom. The letter was not solicited by me but was sent by Thomas Sarantos to Professor Adamowski shortly after the Investigation was announced in the public press:
12 October 1993
Dear Professor Adamowski:
I am a fourth-year English major at Victoria College. I am sorry for the length of this letter, for I know you must be a very busy man. But as you will see, this letter deals with a matter of immediate concern, and which also touches upon the function of our university.
I started at the University of Toronto in September of 1990, and my professor in Introduction to English Studies (ENG 102) was Robert O'Driscoll. Before the first class, yet after choosing his course section, I had heard rumours about him: that he believed a group of bankers had financed both sides of every major war in the past three hundred years, and still continued to control the superpowers; that he believed NASA had tucked away its Star Wars programme in the libraries' felix computers; and even that he was a paranoid schizophrenic. I had chose his course section only because it was held at an hour convenient for me, and also because he was the only professor to put a glossary of literary terms on the course outline. It never occurred to me to be alarmed at what I heard. I had not yet met the man.
Recent events have indicated the sincerity of Professor O'Driscoll's political beliefs. I repeat that the reported condition of his mental health was, and still is, for me, a rumour .This is a residue from the 1990 incarceration, since it came from students in no way qualified to know this for certain. And as I hope to show in this letter, I never had any cause to believe it was any of my business.
However, for the sake of argument, I will assume that it is true, for I strongly believe that even under such scrutiny, Professor O'Driscoll's professional conduct, as I have observed it, is beyond blame.
The course he taught in 1990-1 was Introduction to English Studies, which concentrated solely on twentieth-century literature. Allow me to state, as many already have, that Professor O'Driscoll's teaching never once deviated from the course outline. I myself, having looked at his book, Nato and the Warsaw Pact Are One, tried on two occasions, prompted perhaps by a playful sense of mischief, to coax him into a discussion of the book. On both occasions, he would not be coaxed.
The Varsity has published several letters from students who defend him as I have just defended him. It is a point that has been made several times, and it seems to me that those who defend him thus consider him not guilty only on the basis of inconclusive evidence. I have not yet seen anyone come forth to speak more rigorously in his defense, not simply to disprove any accusation, but rather to attest to his virtues as a teacher.
When I sat down at my desk that first morning of class in September, I looked and recognized in the faces of those around me a look of the same apprehension I was feeling. We were nervous, wide-eyed students with little idea of what we could realistically expect from university. There had been rumours of endless lists of difficult books to read, aloof professors who knew more than we could ever imagine, and who resented that we should interrupt their hours of research in our pursuit of some of that knowledge. We had been told that each of us would become yet another drop in a river of nameless faces, and that meeting people was out of the question. To put it simply, we were ripe for Robert O'Driscoll.
He began the school year leaving his desk at the front of the classroom and sitting amidst the students, and speaking to us from there. He did not begin by lecturing, but by having a conversation with us en masse, explaining in an easy manner what he expected from us as students. He did not, as others did, attempt to calm us and assure us that we would find it all very easy in no time. Rather, he recognized our uncertainty as an opening for attack. He was a professor that taught by transforming his students. What meagre foothold we had, he - with great charisma kicked out from beneath us, so that we tumbled into a place where we could take nothing for granted. Presumption and confidence were crushed early in the year, and there was a strong feeling of fellowship in the class. No one could claim any intellectual superiority, no matter how much he or she had read before the course. We were sceptical of every first thought to enter our head, and yet comfortable enough to speak out what we had thought carefully. He taught us to assume that we knew nothing. He taught us to think.
I should add that my class in particular seemed to have felt a great affection for him. At the end of the year, two separate groups of students, gave him a bottle of Irish whiskey. One group decided to let though we had not paid for it. Professor O'Driscoll was quite moved, and said that in his twenty-five years of teaching, such a thing had never happened to him.
Although his course outline made no mention of any thematic focus, one clearly came out in class. From all the novels, plays, and poetry we read, Professor O'Driscoll tried to instill in us, apart from a critical understanding of the books, an understanding of the power of the unfettered intellect and imagination. He taught us that we live in a world where the forces of everyday modern life work to restrict the mind and soul of a human being. He taught us to think critically about whatever we read or were told, and in effect - and here is the great irony of his present situation - he gave us the tools with which to read critically such books as he himself has written.
What I have heard of his latest book does not surprise me. It was all there in Nato and the Warsaw Pact Are One, but since that was poetry, no one read it. Beneath his conspiracy theories lies, I believe, a fear of those forces in the world that annihilate the intellect and imagination. I can say that I find Robert O'Driscoll's political theories ridiculous without compromising my respect and admiration for the man as an educator. And this brings me to my final point.
The debate regarding censorship is such a complex one that most people shy away from any discussion of it. We live in a time when much effort is made on the part of one group to prevent another group or individual from speaking or publishing something they have written. When the government seizes books in customs, it is called censorship. When it happens in a university, or a picket line, the word is avoided. If one were cynical enough, one could make the claim that the general public, reading newspapers and magazines, might need to be protected from any writing that it was not prepared to read critically. But when university students need to be protected from ideas rooted in ignorance, confusion, or hatred, we must admit that the educational institution is failing miserably. For what service does a university offer its students but the liberation of intellect and imagination, that we may explore ideas without bias and consider all evidence as objectively as we can, within the historical context of human thought? If someone bases his theories on unfounded principles, and with no evidence, do we not have the instruments and the power to combat those theories and render them harmless? And if the theories are supported by evidence, what then have we to fear? Do we mistrust ourselves so much? Censorship protects the ignorant, and keeps them ignorant.
If I read Robert O'Driscoll's book, I am in no greater danger of hating Jews than I am in reading Samuel Johnson and hating the Scots. As a university student, I am angered and insulted by the lack of confidence shown by some people. A student that is denied access to any idea whatsoever is a student unprepared to deal with it. The student mind is to be guided, not regulated. I have confidence in my ability to think critically and intelligently, and I have confidence in my fellow students to do so, as well. Otherwise, I would not be here.
I hesitate to send this letter, for fear that I preach to one whose job it is to teach people like me, but I felt I could not remain silent and unsupportive at a time when a man who has done me a great service, and whom I admire, is attacked unreasonably. You may think of my letter as the grounds I give for urging that Professor Robert O'Driscoll be permitted to continue teaching at the University of Toronto. Let this letter also indicate by what criterion I base my judgements. It is important that those students that have benefited so much from being in his classroom be heard. I know you will agree with me - I am saying nothing new. It is an old idea, but so many seem to be forgetting it. In a spirit that seems so foreign at times, Thomas Jefferson, speaking of those whose opinions were thought to be harmful to the state, once urged people to 'let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.' These words apply nowhere so appropriately as they do to the university.
The letter was not acknowledged by Professor Adamowski or the Provost's Office.
Before I go on to deal with particular allegations, I should like to make one other general comment about the Report, and that is the way in which a trivial or passing occurrence can assume a totally inflated and false significance with time. In the autumn of 1991, for example, a mature student (Asna Wise) telephoned me for a recommendation for Graduate School. I said yes (even though this was, I said, the first recommendation I had ever been asked for by telephone, but since I had given her a first class in her course during the summer I agreed). I inquired into the subject she intended to pursue. She said 'The Jew in Medieval Literature'. Not knowing much about that particular subject, I asked her to tell me about it, and she did - at length. I gave her the recommendation she wanted.
A year and a half later she submitted a complaint about my book The New World Order and the Throne of the antiChrist, saying that I was overly preoccupied with 'blood libel' and 'blood sacrifice' and she had noted this in our telephone conversation of the autumn of 1991 (I had never heard of 'blood libel' until she told me about it). The Chairman of the English Department (Professor Adamowski) asked me to comment on this, and despite the preposterousness of the request (I hardly remembered the telephone conversation) I took two days out of my busy schedule and very assiduously commented on what I had been asked to comment on. This was a confidential and rapidly-composed letter to my Chairman, but yet the 'blood libel' letter occupies slightly over a page in the 'Summary' now before me. Now, in your letter of March 30 to me, you, Mr. Provost, state:
You should be aware that these reports may lead to the imposition of discipline. In making my decision, I may also take into account documentation alreadyAgain I am troubled at how a rapid conversation on the telephone (and one is dealing with at least one hundred students in any one year) should have such far-reaching implications, and years later be used as a reason for, as you say, imposing 'discipline' - indeed, more than that, how a telephone call from a student in 1991 ago can threaten my continued presence at the University in 1994.
contained in your personnel file. For example: your letter dated 21 June 1993 in
response to a complaint by a student in your English 338 class [the student had
finished the course at least a couple of months before requesting the recommendation], Ms. Asna Wise, which in my opinion, was unprofessional, abusive and not in keeping with standards expected of a tenured professor at the University.
In dealing with this matter, I decided once again to look outside our University for an adjudication. I submitted the relevant documents to one of the pioneers of academic justice in Ireland, Professor Lorna Reynolds. Professor Reynolds gives her assessment the way a true academic should, analyzing the evidence, and reaching a very clear conclusion:
Ms. A. Wise
1. Ms. Wise's letter was written almost two years after the incident described and, according to herself,'pursuant'to a request from Professor Adamowski (who must, therefore, have asked her to put her complaint in writing). Why the delay in complaining? Did she volunteer, or was she 'hunted up'?
2. The substance of Ms. Wise's complaint consists of a recollection of a telephone conversation held nearly two years previously. Ms. Wise must be congratulated on either a remarkable memory or a vivid imagination.
3. I notice that she can subtly create an inaccurate impression. She mentions receiving a 'second' phone call from Professor O'Driscoll. But the first phone call was not initiated by him. It was in response to a phone call from her, requesting a recommendation.
4. She seems surprised that Professor O'Driscoll should seek to learn something from her. But surely this shows Professor O'Driscoll's openness to his students! And surely this is an enviable quality in a teacher. True teaching consists, not in filling empty vessels and receiving back what one has poured out but in stimulating the mind and imagination of other human beings, in evoking responses, so that an interchange takes place. That there are dangers involved in such a process is clear from Ms. Wise's reactions, but the confrontation of danger is part of the intellectual life.
5. Ms. Wise would have been equally surprised by my ignorance of the expression 'blood libel'. I wonder when it came into common usage. I have never heard it used, though of course I was aware of the medieval belief that the Jews are said to have massacred Christian children for ritualistic purposes.
6. How old is Ms. Wise? Towards the end of her letter where she talked of what she was taught at home, she sounds like a very young, naive person, but if she is the daughter of a holocaust parent, she cannot be so: she must be quite mature.
If Ms. Wise felt so strongly about Professor O'Driscoll's book and, of course, she is entitled to feel what she will - why did she not take the matter up herself with him, tackle him about it? There is something revolting about this creeping with complaints to superiors, as if a University were a boarding-school, or a seminary! Students are supposed to learn to take the rough with the smooth and so make themselves ready for the great wide world outside.
Again, this letter from David Layton follows a conversation with Professor Adamowski. Is this the usual procedure? That oral complaints are always confirmed in writing? Or were letters being invited to pile up evidence against Professor O'Driscoll? I have had many students, like David Layton, who take themselves more seriously than either their work or their 'talents' justify. Are Universities becoming adult nurseries? We all have to go through much more traumatic experiences than the reading of a book or portions of a book expressing ideas with which we do not agree. I find it pathetic that a strong young man of twenty-six should claim to have undergone 'disruption and distress', to have suffered 'wasted time and energy' as a result of such reading. If he felt so strongly, why did he attend the launch of Professor O'Driscoll's book? He could well have masked his disapprobation by staying away.
As for Professor Adamowski describing Professor O'Driscoll's action as 'imprudent' - yes, given the kind of student Layton turned out to be, Professor O'Driscoll might be called imprudent. But students were not always so delicately constituted and the great scholars and philosophers of the Middle Ages were followed from place to place by their students because these scholars discussed and expounded their own work. I need only mention Abelard in this respect.
To sum up, I do not feel that Professor O'Driscoll's conduct was unprofessional. It was perhaps too impulsive, too optimistic, too ready to believe that other people would share Professor O'Driscoll's pleasure in having made what he considered important discoveries relevant to the mess we find ourselves in today. I do not share his belief in either the truth or the value of these discoveries, but I hope we could have a civilized discussion about the matter.
I do not think Professor O'Driscoll abused his position. A person cannot be at once abusive and imprudent. An imprudent man is not a deliberating man - an abusive man is. As for behaviour fitting for a tenured professor, I dare say that varies with the time, the place, and the institution. In Ireland, eccentricity is tolerated more readily than in other places, but some eccentricity is not only allowed but expected in most academic institutions. I myself should have found it unendurable to be 'investigated' as you have so many times.
The last extracts that I present are the responses to the question which Layton's fellow students formulated and tabulated in the class after Layton made his initial accusation in March 1993. The question put to fellow students in that class and in other classes was as follows: 'Do you think that Professor Robert O'Driscoll was guilty of 'anti-Semitism' in any of the lectures or seminars that you attended during the academic year 1992-3?' 47 replied in the negative; nobody replied in the affirmative; there were two abstentions:
No! I for one feel that the integrity of the teachers at this University as teachers is definitely going to be compromised if accusations such as this continue. They are going to make all the professors afraid of everything they say.
At no time have I felt that Robert O'Driscoll has made attacks on any group. In addition, I would like to add that I have read most of this book, The New World Order, and I feel that any charges are also unfounded. O'Driscoll is merely a scholar who documents information as he discovers-it. I have also spoken to the professor outside of class and he has never inquired or cared about my religious orientation.
By far, Professor O'Driscoll has been the most colourful, insightful, thought-provoking instructor whom I have ever had the pleasure of learning from. I consider myself very sensitive to issues of gender, and race, and I have never heard Professor O'Driscoll voice, or even hint at anything which would suggest he is guilty of anti-Semitism.
I have had a girlfriend for a full year, who is Jewish, celebrating every Jewish holiday, and sharing in her culture - you better believe I would be sensitive to it! This charge is absurd and not grounded in reality.
Professor O'Driscoll is a mover and a shaker. He brings up thought-provoking issues, and employs satire and subtle ironies which may escape comprehension by those who are hypersensitive, or easily rattled.
Any intelligent, stable, and reasonable intellect, having open ears, and an open mind, will dismiss this charge.
I think the student in question [Mr. David Layton] is very ill-informed. I am a student of anti-Semitism in the Religious Studies Department of the University of Toronto and in no way is Professor O'Driscoll guilty of this charge in any classes I have attended, nor in any discussions I have had with him. Said student - in my contact with him - has a very large ego, and dislikes not getting his way, or [having to suffer the humiliations of having] his views proven wrong.
Not once during the entire academic year did Professor O'Driscoll make reference to the Jewish People or their concerns. This charge seems needless and sets a possibly dangerous precedent for academia.
Professor O'Driscoll's personal beliefs and writings outside this class have had no relevance and should have no relevance in this class.
I think that these allegations toward Professor O'Driscoll are absurd! He is one of the best professors I ever had.He is simply one of the most interesting professors I've ever had the pleasure to have been taught by. Never has R. O'Driscoll ever expressed anything even resembling an 'antisemitic' remark.
Absolutely not at all! This allegation could hardly be more ill-founded. Professor O'Driscoll has always demonstrated an open mind to all peoples - regardless of race, gender, nationality, etc. in the two years of classes which I have taken with him.
Professor O'Driscoll has never to my knowledge, displayed, spoken, indicated, implied, discussed, coerced, etc.Professor O'Driscoll's lectures have been remarkable open and accepting of many points of view. He has always been ready to give a fair hearing to anyone's ideas, or, indeed, anyone's criticisms.
A charge of 'anti-Semitism' carries a great deal of fear with it, and should certainly be treated seriously, but I hope the University will not use Professor O'Driscoll as a scapegoat simply to avoid the charges altogether.
A ridiculous accusation!
Definitely not! In no way has he made any antisemitic comments in any lecture. In fact he is most careful of being nonjudgmental and non-biased and asks that his students be that way as well, in any references to religion - any religion.
I have only missed 3 or 4 of Professor O'Driscoll's lectures this year and at none of the lectures that I did attend was there, in either implicit or explicit form, antisemitic expression. I find these accusations somewhat of an assault on academic scholarship.
I personally cannot recall any comments at all referring to anti-Jewish, Catholic, or any other religion, culture, creed, etc. It is simply an English class! Although religion is often a popular theme in many English texts, nothing negative was ever spoken of. In fact, the class and the professor generate positive energy to the lectures and books studied.
I am both Russian and Jewish. I did not - ever - find the classes offensive to myself or any other racial group.
One of the two who abstained made the following comment:
I do not quite understand the need for this form. Professor O'Driscoll's views on anything and everything are only his views. I would like to emphasize that he has kept ALL of these views out of the classroom. I do not remember any mention of Jews or any semitic issues at all.
There are as well as the comments cited above some 300 assessments of my teaching and professional conduct in the files of the English Department, but despite repeated requests by both Mr. Roach (my lawyer) and myself we haven't been able to secure access to them for the preparation of this Response, even though my professional rights entitle me to see them. I do have copies of some of them in my office, but of course I am barred from my office. I did, though, examine them as they were completed each year, and I invariably scored, as I mentioned above, somewhere between 6.0 and 6.3, or 86% to 90%. The comments at the end of the assessments were positive 95% of the time - there are always one or two whom it is difficult to please at all.
On November 30, Principal Boyle of St. Michael's sent the following three questions to support as well as to academic staff, but not to my former students:
1. Has Professor O'Driscoll or has he not, during the last five years and in his actions which affect College life, conducted himself in a professional manner consistent with his responsibilities as a faculty member and colleague as set out in Article 5?
2. Has Professor O'Driscoll or has he not during the last five years contributed to ensuring that the environment at the College is conducive to learning?
3. Has Professor O'Driscoll or has he not, during the last five years and in his actions which affect College life, contributed to ensuring an environment at the College free of discrimination that would create a hostile and intimidating atmosphere?
Barely had this questionnaire been issued when the President of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship - Professor John Furedy of the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto - spotted the danger to academic liberty in Principal Boyle's questionnaire:
I am writing as President of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship (SAFS) to express my concern about a potential infringement of academic freedom in recent developments in the O'Driscoll enquiry. The enquiry seems now to have been extended to his activities in St. Michael's College, in terms stated by Principal Boyle's November 30, 1993 letter, a copy of which Professor O'Driscoll recently faxed to me. I have not had time to consult the full SAFS board on this
matter, but I have shared the information to his activities in St. Michael's College, in terms stated by Principal Bovle's November 30, 1993 letter, a copy of which Professor O’Driscoll recently faxed to me. I have not had time to consult the full SAFS board on this matter, but I have shared the information with SAFS's Past President, Professor Doreen Kimura of the University of Western Ontario.
Professor Kimura and I are both particularly concerned about two major aspects of the expanded enquiry. In the first place, whereas the complaint about prof. O'Driscoll's classroom behaviour which set off the enquiry was specific, the 'series of complaints about Professor O'Driscoll's activities at the College over the last five years' is unspecific both as to the nature of the alleged acts and the sources of the complaints. In the second place, the three questions to St. Michael's faculty and staff in Principal Boyle's November 30 letter are phrased so broadly and even ambiguously (see, especially #3) as to raise the question of whether their very formulation might infringe academic freedom. It is at least arguable that almost no professor would be found guiltless in such a generalized and vaguely specialized search for minor misdemeanours (Professor Furedy to Provost Sedra, 9 December 1993).
Yet this is precisely what happened, and the Summary delineates minor misdemeanours over the last nine years. For the most part, the accusers are unidentified maintenance and part-time staff with whom one has had only the most cursory or casual of contact: they therefore only have a minute or two to form their impression, as I meet them in the corridor, as they fix a telephone wire, etc. Names are not given to the accuser, nor are the dates specified on which the incident occurred. It is noteworthy that there are no complaints from students, the only ones in a position to assess my professional conduct.
I shall cite here the three examples of where a complaint has emanated from a colleague or a retired colleague rather than from maintenance personnel. Page 13 of the Summary reads: 'Probably during 1989 or 1990, Professor O'Driscoll appeared on the side-walk outside the Principal's Office and spat vehemently at the window. The Principal and his assistant were inside and were disturbed by the violence of this symbolic act.'
Source of complaint: the former retired Principal and assistant.
Response: One never knows when one will have an attack of catarrh, but it is clear from the vivid description above that I had one on St. Mary Street sometime 'during 1989 or 1990'.
Like the retired former Principal & his assistant, I remember neither the day nor the season when the attack occurred.
Whether I would expectorate in the direction of the Principal & his assistant's window or away from it would depend on the direction of the wind and the direction from which I was coming. To spit away from the window may have run the risk of hitting a car: if the incident occurred in spring or summer or early autumn, the window of the car might possibly have been open. No, that definitely would have been worse. The former Principal and his assistant's window was almost invariably closed and was separated from the sidewalk by a garden over which no human being could possibly expectorate and hit the window.
The reader should note the language that the formulators of the Report use to describe this trivial incident. The Principal and his assistance were 'disturbed by the violence of this symbolic act'. Does the act of the first sentence justify the language of the second? I should also say that I have known both the Principal and his assistant for almost thirty years.
The reader will note that the retired Principal (Dunphy) figures in at least four complaints and he looms behind the scenes in others. Indeed, it appears as if it was he who began collecting these minor misdemeanours in 1986 when my trouble with him started over the quality of the Celtic studies program that the College would offer: perhaps, he thought, they 'might' add up to something some day, as indeed they have.
For twenty years - between 1966 and 1986 - I had laboured to awaken in Canada a consciousness of the culture of one of the main founding peoples of the country - the Scottish and the Irish. In 1967, when I began, it was almost like starting from scratch, but with the help of an annual series of public festivals involving the leading academics and artists in the western world, and which attracted some 35,000 members of the public onto the U of T campus, I succeeded in my design.
Few University programmes have received accolades from several Prime Ministers, but Celtic Studies has. In 1978 the Premier of Ontario, William G. Davis, articulated the ameliorating political as well as the artistic quality I had achieved. His statement was widely reported in the media:
We in the Government of Ontario are pleased and grateful that you have chosen our Province as the site for a symposium of such magnitude and importance. You bring honour to our University and enrich the cultural and educational lives of our citizens.In 1983 the Prime Minister of Canada wrote to me as follows:
Today, we in Canada are facing one of the most critical times in the
history of our country and there are those amongst us who seek to divide us by dwelling upon our historical and cultural differences. As the leader of a Government dedicated to the unity of this country, may l express my personal gratitude to you for formulating and organizing a symposium which identifies and highlights one of this country's unifying factors.
Many people are unaware that French Canada, through its historical
connection with Brittany, has deep Celtic roots. Therefore, it is factual to say that the Celts were the main founding peoples of Canada and as pioneers of indomitable spirit played a dominant role in the settlement of this land through the challenging and difficult years of a new nation being forged. The Celtic contribution to our literature, life, art, politics and Confederation itself, has been the single most important influence on our Canadian culture and has bequeathed to all our people a rich, rewarding and beloved heritage.
I am pleased to hear that, in these times of budgetary constraint, your
innovative approach to scholarly exchanges is bearing fruit, enriching our students' knowledge and appreciation of one of the formative influences on Canadian culture and history.
Then, in 1985, came the following accolade from Prime Minister Garret Fitzgerald in Ireland:
I would like to congratulate you ... for your remarkable project on the Irish settlement of Canada: Orange and Green.... The contribution of the Irish in Canada to their country of adoption is a source of immense pride to all the people of Ireland, both North and South, of both the Orange and Green traditions. Your initiative is a great gesture of reconciliation and an example to all of us in Ireland.With the encouragement of Premier Davis, President Ham, and President John Kelly, I entered into negotiations with the Government of Ireland and was successful in securing from Universities in Southern and Northern Ireland a sequence of senior academics who came to Canada between 1980 and 1986 to test student interest here in Celtic Studies (their salaries were paid by their home universities; what we had in essence, therefore, was a relatively poor country subsidizing the higher education of a better-off country).
Meantime, Father John Kelly and I raised from private resources sufficient funds for two appointments (Dr. Ann Dooley and Ms. Mairin Nic Dhiarmada). I myself had - up to 1986 - raised an additional $1.4 million, and President Ham gave us a commitment in principle that the University would consolidate the Programme with an appointment in History/Archaeology should sufficient interest in Celtic Studies be demonstrated.
Meantime, I was doing fairly well with securing the appointment. On 4 March 1986 President Connell wrote to me as follows: 'I should add that the new Memorandum of Agreement provides an avenue for proposals to make new appointments. . . . The starting point, then, is not with me or the Minister, but with either Principal Dunphy or President McConica.'
The next letter that I present is most curious: it seems as if former Principal Dunphy did not even approach the University to secure the appointment that would consolidate the Programme that I had spent so long in pioneering. The letter (dated 5 May 1986) is from the Dean of Arts and Science, Robin Armstrong, to J. E. Foley, then Vice-President and Provost:
There has been no approach to my office from St. Michael's College regarding an appointment for the Celtic Studies programme. Therefore, there will certainly be no request for the appointment for July 1, 1987.Meantime, on 22 April 1986, Dunphy fired me as Director of the Programme, citing as his reason that my alienation of officials 'has undercut my [i.e. his] plans for additional university funding for Celtic Studies.' l had, as I stated above, raised $1.4 million for the Programme; at that point Mr. Dunphy had not raised one single, solitary dime. Nor, to my knowledge, did he raise anything since. The Programme could, with a graduate dimension, have been a glittering gem in the North American academic cluster: it is not. It struggles on but chiefly with the teaching of part-time and graduate students.
During this whole period of transition in the Celtic Studies Programme, I did not make a move (send a letter, even make a telephone call, etc.) without checking with two people: Reverend John M. Kelly who was Director of Alumni and President of the St. Michael's College Foundation, and Professor Lorna Reynolds of the National University of Ireland who was spending the year at the University of Toronto.
The retribution - or revenge - was even more vicious in Father Kelly's case in 1986 than mine in 1993-4. In early January '86 he was told by President James McConica to - literally - pack his bags to be transferred after 50 years in the College to a small house in Northern Ontario.
Never before in the 130-year history of the College had a retired priest been treated in this way. Kelly speculated to me on 31 January 1986 - the day he was escorted away from the College by the new Director of Alumni - that there may have been some connection between the sudden order to move and the campaign that I was waging in the University on behalf of Celtic Studies. 'Don't underestimate their venom, Bob, and don't underestimate their power,' he said to me after naming the four ring leaders in the College.
A day or two later, I launched a national campaign that Kelly be provided, like all his predecessors, with an office and a bedroom in the College. A major story was published in the Toronto Globe and Mail on Monday, 10 February 1986. Two days after the story appeared, an M15 agent from Britain who was known to me - Mr. Nicholas Dutton - with a Canadian companion from Kingston, Ontario, came to my office and relayed the following information which I published in my Nato and the Warsaw Pact Are One:
(Kelly and Christ)
Said 'Yes' to both sides.
'Yes, sir, No, Sir,
Three bags full, Sir.. .
Stoppress while I wait:
who gave the order
to kill John Kelly
was not a priest,
Bishop, cardinal, or pope.
But a lay catholic here in T O.
'We have documentary evidence
that he is running guns
to Northern IRELAND'- M15.
'We thought he was running them
to the other side' -
THE SUPREME COURT OF ONTARIO.
The agent actually said: 'The man who gave the order to move John Kelly...'but since Kelly was dead eight months after the move, the substitution, Professor Reynolds and I felt, was justified. Kelly was not in good health, but let us say his life might have been prolonged if he had not been subjected to this physical and psychological harassment.
Why all this 'tatatarara' about a little programme in Celtic Studies? The interest (shall we say 'movement'?) was growing stronger and stronger all the time and with its consciousness of tradition, love of family and the land, it was certainly antithetical to the gathering numinous clouds of an approaching new order for the world.
Page 8 of the Summary reads. 'In 1989, the Co-ordinator of the Celtic Studies Program [Professor Ann Dooley] was invited by the Canadian Association of Irish Studies to organize their annual conference at the College. She reports: 'Professor O'Driscoll was disappointed by this and wrote some letters to persons in authority in the University to protest my work stating that I was not an appropriate representative of Ireland because of my known sympathies with 'Republican' views of the North of Ireland. In all my years of service to the Irish community at the University this slanderous innuendo angered me the most. I consider this to be inappropriate behaviour of a colleague for which no apology was ever given, but perhaps I have an overly idealistic view of the respect which colleagues owe each other.'
Source: Colleague for whom I had arranged appointment in the University. Time: 1989.
Response: I wanted a different kind of Conference from the one Dr. Dooley was envisioning. I wanted one embracing Northern Ireland and Britain as well as the Republic, and at the time could have got both the Prime Minister of Ireland (Garrett Fitzgerald) and the Chairman of the New Ireland Forum (Colm O hEocha who had arranged the accord between Fitzgerald and Republic of Ireland. I suggested a collaboration: She rejected it. It was then decided to submit her proposal to an independent arbitrator, Professor Cecil Houston of Erindale College at the University of Toronto. He wrote as follows to Celtic Arts, one of the sponsoring bodies:
'I was quite disappointed by the narrowness of the presentation by Ms. Dooley. While she was a very effective advocate of her own position, she left me with no confidence that the CAIS [Canadian Association for Irish Studies, which I had founded at St. Michael's in 1968] would be anything other than a narrowly ranging in-house affair. I have an image of tried and true academics and artists celebrating the major part of Irish society but neglecting the minorities.'
Professor Houston then goes on to develop his point: 'The critical divisions and discontinuities rep)resentedby 1690 seem to have disappeared in Ms. Dooley's notions of an Ireland trying to redefine itself, but those notions come (close to being based on a mythical racial monolith. Her view too that the northerners question of receding into the background is perhaps wishful. Much as an ostrich would like the northerners to disappear, the event is not in the cards of the IRA, the nationalists, the unionists, the ecumenicals, the Catholics or any other group represented in the mosaic north of the border.'
Professor Houston turns then to what was to be the focus of the Conference, 1690-1990, which I first mentioned my 1,000-page book, The Irish in Canada. Professor Houston writes:
'It seems to me that if a conference has as its subtitle 1690-1990, then it should confront 1690 or at least its legacy which has evolved in the twentieth century. Ms. Dooley had all the right jargon and dropped lots of important names. She did not drop important names of 1690-1990 - Brian Friel, Nicholas Canny, A.T.Q. Stewart, Frank McGuinness, Tom Paulin, and Padraic O'Malley.
'I don't know if a compromise that includes a greater and more diverse agenda is possible. I tend to think not. Compromise is a Canadian thing. Holding ground is more likely the Irish response' (Archives of Celtic Arts, letter from Cecil Houston, 26 April 1989).
Once again we see that when one has access to the original documents a different picture emerges firom what the 'Summary' suggests: one will never get the full trutth by listening only to the first person who is in a position to tell.
On another occasion, 2 July 1993 at noon, Mrs. Boyd is said to have reported that 'His door was open, his jacket was on the floor, ... he was lying on a daybed behind the door .... She was worried because his breathing was loud and irregular.' This was during the summer break. I had worked with David Astle, the authority on banking, late into the night before, and was having a catch-up nap the next morning. I was suffering from bronchitis at the time which explains my breathing; my coat I had put on the back of the couch and it had fallen to the floor. The complaint is exaggerated and seems 'manufactured'.
Mrs. Boyd has several other comments quoted in the Summary, broad generalizations based on precious little evidence. In September my collaborator in my second book gave her a copy of the video on which the book was based. A day or so later it seems as if an 'unidentified man' approached Mrs. Boyd about the video and, in addition, she received an anonymous telephone call at home. At least that is what she reported to Principal Boyle.
Principal Boyle wrote to me in great concern about this, saying how 'extremely distressing' this was for Mrs. Boyd and how 'terrifying' it had proved. I gave him my account of what had happened:
What happened was as follows. Cleo Boyd came to the door of my office, or was passing by - I am not sure which. I told her about my new book, The New World Order in North America: Mechanism in Place for a Police State. She said: 'What you really need is somebody to market this marvellous material,' or some words to that effect. 'Would you be able to help with that?' l asked anxiously. 'I might,' she replied enthusiastically, 'I will make some enquiries tonight.'
'I happen to have the video on which the book is based,' my collaborator interjected, 'Would you like to see it?' 'Oh, yes,' she said, and he gave it to her.
Do I have responsibility for what happened after that? Am I accountable for an anonymous call Ms. Boyd received at home or for 'unidentified' men she may have encountered in the market place. Since late September the aforesaid video has been circulating widely in the United States and Canada. How did the 'unidentified' man know she had the tape? I did not tell anybody about the tape my collaborator had given her! He didn't! She must, therefore, have told somebody who told the 'unidentified' man, or maybe, albeit unwittingly, the 'unidentified' man himself. Am I culpable for that? ... What evidence do you have for concluding that 'there is reason to believe that the content of the
tape is likely to be offensive or distressing'? Is it within your prerogative as Principal to direct what I should read, what I should write, or with whom I should associate?
Since the Principal was giving me a second-hand report of what had happened in my office, and since the third-party present [my collaborator on the second book] had verified my account, I faxed a copy of my letter to Mrs. Boyd, asking where my account differed from her memory of the matter. The Principal wrote back to me on 22 November: 'By faxing her the second page of the letter faxed to me on the night of November 15, you violated that reasonable request [not to contact her].' l was rather bewildered by this and on 29 November communicated to the Principal a full account of my rather brief professional relationship with Mrs. Boyd. At the same time I explored the broader philosophical implications of what happens when colleagues are banned from communicating with colleagues:
I have had nothing but the most pleasant personal and professional
relationship with Mrs. Boyd until you entered the picture. Mrs. Boyd helped me with the preparation of The New World Order and the Throne of the antiChrist, drawing my attention to the tenth-century Play of
AntiChrist which I hadn't heard about before. She lent me her own annotated edition of the work and it was with that I prepared this section for my book.
Mrs. Boyd also helped me with the preparation of The New World Order in North America: Mechanism in Place for a Police State. Mrs. Boyd drew my attention to the medieval essay on 'antiChrist' by Adso. I had seen it before but had not realized its full significance. In several conversations in my office and in hers and - if I remember correctly - in a couple of conversations in the corridor, Mrs. Boyd impressed on me again and again the value of the essay for the book I was preparing. Again she lent me her annotated edition, and again that section of my book is totally indebted to her.
In late September Mrs. Boyd suggested that she investigate ways of
marketing my 'marvellous' work.
And that is when, Principal, you entered the scene. Things have never
been the same since.
I shall for the moment resist the temptation to say - but it has been
said - that Mrs. Boyd may be a pawn in your hands for your investigation of me and to the determining as to whether or not I am 'free of the discrimination that would create a hostile and intimidating atmosphere.'
I will not resist the temptation to ask you NOT to stand between me and my colleagues. It is the interfacing between personnel in casual, in seemingly aimless and unplanned conversations that the intellectual current of a University is ignited: it is that which leads to the breakthroughs of thought that result in animating our lectures to our students and to the pages of research that we publish in the
great academic journals abroad. A university, I am convinced, is the one place in society which makes possible the ‘reconciliation' of polarities of thought and conviction. It can, if nurtured properly, be like a variegated garden in that it represents all shades of opinion, all nuances in the spectrum.
The Principal's response was curt: 'the College considers insubordinate your communication with Mrs. Boyd,' that is my earlier fax to her.
But again it can clearly be seen how in the 'Summary of Investigation' the consequences of an act have been inflated: the lending of a video to a colleague in September has, by December, been exaggerated into an act of 'insubordination'.
The story is as follows: while EE and I were preparing this book, we stuck pretty close to the villages where we both have homes. EE has the oldest home in the village of Damascus (population 43) while I have the foundation house - Alexander Fraser House - of the village of Arthur about six miles away (population 2100).
I was only pulled out of my 'retreat', so to speak, a few times during the year. One was in early February when I received a telephone call from a lady who began her conversation in a rather arresting way: 'l will delight you with news you may not yet have heard. Japan is pulling back from the new world order plan. We have decided to make a stand for the children.’ ‘Yes,' I said, only half grasping what she meant. She then went on to tell me that she has been born in Japan and had studied there with a scholarly associate of mine, Hiro Ishibashi, and had in fact read some of my books on Yeats. Then suddenly she said, 'I bring you material for your new book.’ ‘Yes,' I said with some anticipation.
'It is about a series of videotapes that have been circulating through the Japanese sex underground, involving a series of child murders, or shall we say 'satanic sacrifices'? They are called ‘snuff' films. We have, as I told you, decided to take a stand for the children, and our investigators have, through a dogged and ingenious method, traced the videos back to Canada in general and Southern Ontario in particular. The people must know.
'Yes,' l gasped, half divining what she was alluding to. 'When are you next in Toronto?' she asked. It was Monday. 'Friday.’ ‘Till Friday then.'
Friday, February the eleventh! Friday, day of horror! The worst Friday of my life!
I slipped away from EE's bedroom at about one a.m., tucking into my left-breast pocket a slip of paper she had given me with an address in Guelph where she said she would meet me between 11 and 12 in the evening. 'I shall carry this over my heart,' I said. 'Over Brad's heart,' she murmured softly. I arrived in Toronto at three, went to my favourite Chinese underground restaurant which was, as I knew, still open, ate, slept, went to a couple of meetings, and met Natsu at the address she had specified. It was seven p.m. I remained there for almost three hours while I listened to a litany of living evil that transcended anything I had ever heard of or had read in the literature of any country. I decided after an hour or so that there was no way of doubting the disingenuousness of the girl. Still I remained until I was certain of the veracity of the information she was communicating.
Then, approaching ten, I bid a grave farewell, got into the Honda, drove to the specified house in Guelph, arriving there at 11:18. EE was there, with her friends, Brad and Matt, and two new acquaintances - afterwards, EE and I often joked that we didn't really know whether they were fish or fowl.
I drew her aside. 'Did you see it?' she asked inquisitively. 'I have my proof,' I answered, and for the next half hour I spared her nothing in delineating every detail of what I had seen and heard. Elizabeth and I ended up publishing three or four articles on various Satanic phenomenon in the book - new world order CORRUPTION IN CANADA - chiefly dealing with children, but this was the first. The subject was therefore totally new, as I thought, to both of us, but as I went on I noticed the pain deepen in her eyes which became like wells of darkness. Suddenly, she cut across my flow: 'Smut films! Snuff films! Do you not have any feelings? Do you not remember my telling you what happened 20 years ago? I was kidnapped by a psychopath, a madman. He held me at knife point all the way while he hitchhiked from Arthur to Guelph, shredding my mink coat between lifts, all the way back to his one-room flat in Guelph where he wired me to the bedsprings of a bed with copper wire and stripped cables in the shape of a cross - yes, a crucifix. Very similar to what you heard about this evening with those young girls. And all the while I was - like them - tortured and tortured. He made incisions in my body with a big buck knife. I was covered in blood and I was vomiting blood. My hands were swollen from the circulation being cut off to more than twice their size: there was no feeling left in them. I was beaten so badly my own family didn't recognize me when it was all over. He certainly knew how to hurt and disfigure with the lead pipe he kept hitting me with.
'And all the time while I was suffering that pain and those indignities to my body, he was making accusations, calling me Dorothy - the name, as I discovered afterwards, of his former wife.
'I shall never forget the blackness of his eyes as he told me to say my last prayers. And as I finished my prayers out loud, he spit on me. He put his hands around my neck and choked me so hard that my left eye actually popped out of my head. I went down the tunnel of light, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, but all across the country the next day: you may have and not known of course it was me. He is dead now, but that doesn't mean that the memory is dead. To this day, I find myself seeing his face in crowds, his eyes disfigured with hate. I can sympathize with the Vietnamese vets who suffer PTS - post-traumatic syndrome because I can understand what it is - this terrible fear that comes out of nowhere. You never know how long it will last and it never goes away. It leaves an invisible scar. Bits come floating out of nowhere into your mind that you haven't remembered since the ordeal, brought on by a smell in the air or by the sight of a leaf falling. It has played hell with my life. It has ruined my life in more ways than one.'
The torrent ceased, and a look of indescribable pain covered the face that I had seen so often animated with joy and wild laughter. I didn't know what to say and began awkwardly with: 'That is a major theme in twentieth-century literature - Proust's A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, Joyce's.'
'Robert,' she said, cutting me off, 'keep to your literature. What you have told me tonight has opened a chord of memory that I thought was long dead. You have opened up a wound that probably can never be closed: the agony of that wound is more overwhelming than any desire to collaborate with you any longer in any way. Go away from me, Robert. Go back to Arthur. Finish your book without me.'
I didn't see her again for five weeks. I kept telephoning her consistently - she would lift the receiver but would not speak - so consistently that I was arrested on February 24 for 'harassing telephone calls'. The police added the "uttering threats" which became by the time it hit the student newspapers "uttering death threats". And then the next day after Varsity reported the incident, the University lawyer sent out the Summary that has absorbed both of our attention for so long.
'To tell you the truth, Robert,'she said when I saw her again, I never wanted to see you again after that night in Guelph, but all of that had changed now forever and forever.'
That, Mr. Provost, is the story of my 'second arrest'. In the light of the circumstances of the incident and considering that I have not yet been taken to trial (my lawyer tells me that he does not think that it will ever reach trial), does the University judge me to be guilty while I am still being considered by the law to be innocent? Is that the reason why I am barred from my office and the library?
The academics have a code they must live up to: tenure, that is the right of an academic to investigate and publish what he wishes without fear of administrative or political repercussions. Two things have become clear in the investigation process. The academics have very skilfully shifted the blame away from themselves. They have got the job done and there is no blood on their hands.
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