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».

dimanche, mai 13, 2007

'All of these accusations,'an academic from another University concludes, 'are of such a trivial and flimsy nature that it is inconceivable that grown adults - let alone serious academics would bother collecting them in a 'Summary' about a scholar who is known throughout Europe and North America for his scholarship and his teaching.'

Trivial or inconsequential events are blown out of all proportion, and in cases where I have access to the primary documents, the conclusion in the 'Report' is very much at variance with the original document. Principal Boyle, for instance, makes reference in his part of the 'Report' to a'judgment of the Grievance Review Committee to hear Professor Robert O'Driscoll's appeal from his removal as a participant and teacher in the Celtic Studies Programme of St. Michael's College,' and headed by the distinguished Faculty of Law Professor E. R. Alexander:

The personnel file contains an account of a conflict between professor O'Driscoll and the Acting Principal during the spring term of 1987 concerning aspects of the Celtic Study [sic] Program. A tribunal which reversed his dismissal from that program as an excessive penalty found that Professor O'Driscoll's criticism of the St. Michael's administration which led to this action was intemperate and an irresponsible exercise of his basic freedom.
That point is made earlier in Professor Alexander's 'judgment' but it is not by any means the main point: Principal Boyle has taken one of the subsidiary points of the document and given the impression that this is the main thrust of the document. It is not: the main point of the 'Judgment' was that the University Administration at that time were found guilty of 'cruel and unusual treatment and punishment' with relation to me, and there is also a subtle suggestion that this treatment had brought the administration into disrepute. The full context of the phrase quoted can be seen in the following extract:

By analogy to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, even though the administration's knowledge of the contents of Professor O'Driscoll's confidential letter was obtained improperly, its use to discipline Professor O'Driscoll would not bring the administration of justice within the University into disrepute (Charter, s.24 (1)). However, the penalty imposed as a result of that disciplinary action was excessive. Professor O'Driscoll had made a substantial contribution to St. Michael's College and the University of Toronto for more than twenty years. The Celtic Studies Programme was his brain-child and Celtic Studies was his primary academic interest. In addition, Professor Brown admitted to us at the hearing that there was no evidence that Professor O'Driscoll's critical letter had any adverse impact on the Program. The Program is continuing this year with the cooperation of the Irish universities and scholars. To remove Professor O'Driscoll permanently from the Program was to, again using the analogy of the Charter, inflict 'cruel and unusual treatment and punishment' on him (Charter, a.12).... Professor O'Driscoll has many more years of valuable academic service to give to the Celtic Studies Programme and St. Michael's College and, indeed the whole University of Toronto community. It is only in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding that the full potential of his services can be realized.

In order to validate my interpretation of this critical 'judgment' and of the context of the 'cruel and unusual treatment and punishment' to which I was subjected by the University of Toronto in 1987, I submitted the relevant papers to a colleague from another University. He wrote in response:

Again to a question of fairness. In 1986 O'Driscoll was removed as Director of the Celtic Studies Program at St. Michael's College, following which, in March 1987, he was told he 'was no longer a participant' in the Program. Both these decisions caused him considerable anguish: I know this well, since I was in touch with him at criticaljunctures as these events were unfolding. (A Grievance Review Committee, while not denying he was to some degree 'at fault,' in effect exonerated him, stating that O'Driscoll is 'an internationally recognized Celtic Studies 'scholar'and adding that he 'has many more years of valuable service to give to the Celtic Studies Programme and St. Michael's College and, indeed, the whole University of Toronto community.') But my point is this: he was shabbily treated by university authorities in 1986 and '87. Even the subsequent vindication and reinstatement might not have prevented a lingering trace of bitterness. Indeed, the way he was treated might have helped nurture in him some of the conspiracy theories that have been featured in his recent publications.

After reviewing him, the University of Toronto might well request a review of itself, to see how it has dealt with this employee. Having seen the record, I'm not at all sure the institution is capable of making the 'thorough and humane judgment' I mentioned earlier (Professor Patrick O'Flaherty, Memorial University of Newfoundland).

As well as validating my interpretation of the 'Judgment', Professor O'Flaherty hits the nail on the head in another respect: the 'cruel and unusual treatment and punishment' l had suffered at the University in 1986-7 led me to develop a second field of academic focus. I had raised something in the region of $1.6 million for the University in pioneering North America's first undergraduate programme in Celtic Studies and - intellectually and artistically - I was troubled by the break-up of what I had spent twenty years attempting to accomplish.

I began to investigate whether there was any correspondence between my experience in developing Celtic Studies at the University of Toronto and what was happening on the broader world scene. In February 1990 I published a 64-page poem on the subject, Nato and the Warsaw Pact Are One. I should like to quote what a distinguished Professor at the National University of Ireland wrote of the volume:

How the private life is affected by the public is the theme of the work here presented. In its fragmented and syncopated form, it reflects a mind caught up in horror, in hallucinatory apprehension, in a sense of bafflement, attempting manic guesses at meaning, seeking for some, or any, explanation, grasping at straws, seen through the fog.

It is ironic that this outburst should come at the moment when events in Eastern Europe take such a sudden and totally unexpected turn.... strange that someone living far from Europe, across the Western ocean, should echo all this, and by allowing destructive impulses to come into the open prepare the ground of his being for future constructive efforts (Nato and the Warsaw Pact Are
p. 5).

'Of that challenging and foreboding work,' a fourth-class student, Michael Wray, wrote to Professor Adamowski (16 November 1993),

I can say this: not everything one reads should be taken at face value. O'Driscoll employs a technique whereby he starts off seriously and ends with a send-up of both the reader's and his own seriousness. As this is the case in his previous fiction, then I see no reason why he should not be employing a similar technique in the Armageddon series. It is just possible that he is tweaking both the politically correct attitudes of the cultural élite, and the myths and fears lying at the foundation of human consciousness. This ... offers a better understanding of his work than does accusing him of any malicious intent.

Every time I publish a book in my new field - and it must be remembered that it was the University who forced me to move from Celtic Studies to International Politics - I am investigated by the University of Toronto. My second book in the series, The New World Order and the Throne of the antiChrist, was published on 19 February 1993. One lone solitary student in the whole of the University of Toronto - and incidentally a student who was some ten weeks behind with his course work - complained that he thought that the book was antisemitic: 'Esteemed Dr. Adamowski', the student begins his letter of complaint which seems to me to be more concerned with making special arrangements for himself than it is with my book. The student writes:

I therefore formally request that my final paper and exam be evaluated by an independent party. This evaluation should take into account, in my opinion, the disruption and distress which this entire incident has caused me in wasted time and energy, which has not been inconsiderable.

To this end, I respectfully request that the paper and the exam be presented to me with the understanding that I do not have the benefit of the last six [my italics] weeks of lectures (approx. six to seven plays). Therefore I trust that the paper will be marked accordingly by someone familiar with the relevant facts and that the exam will be tailor-written to accommodate this unfortunate situation.

'Tailor-written' to 'accommodate' his situation - no student could ask for better.
On the very same day as the student complained - 24 March 1993 (the coincidence of dates was hardly a coincidence) - Provost Foley issued a public Statement regarding the book, saying that the University and its various components were 'in no way associated with, or agree with, the views expressed in the publication', and that she had 'undertaken an investigation into the matter.'

The investigator was the Chairman of the English Department, Professor Thomas Adamowski, who, while making no 'allegation of anti-Semitism' himself, set out to investigate the 'student's complaint'. I told Professor Adamowski from the beginning that there could be no question of 'anti-Semitism' on my part because the students had conducted an independent survey the day after the complaint was made and not one the other seventy-five students had found me guilty of the charge. Still Professor Adamowski persisted on behalf of the student and Provost Foley, and two months later (after much time and energy being expended on the issue) concluded that I had been guilty - not of anti-Semitism - but of a 'serious error in pedagogical judgment'.
If I am deemed guilty of a 'serious error in pedagogical judgment' for showing a student 40 pages of a 440-page book three weeks prior to the publication of the book, a practice that is quite common in all universities, what should a Chairman be called who solicits a complaint from a student, writes to the Professor involved, and then shows the student the professor's response. For this is precisely what Professor Adamowski did:
Perhaps even more unsettling were O'Driscoll's own suspicions about me. In reply to a letter in which Adamowski said showing me the manuscript was 'a serious error in pedagogical judgement,' O'Driscoll said this about me: 'My conclusion, based on six months of professional observation, is that he knows more than you or I will ever know: he comes from a more literary background than either of us: he has a broad range of experience. He cannot be corrupted....'(D. Layton, 'Lies
My Teacher Told Me,' This Magazine, March 1994, p.17).

1984: Year of Transition: Thirteen sessions with William Irvin Thompson "Thompson is the Guru of the New Society. His eight books on culture, science and the future of the human race have galvanized thinkers in Europe and North America."Olivia Ward, The Toronto Star"an intuitive, daring reader of cultural transformation."Paul McGrath, The Globe and Mail

The Sleeping King: A St. David's Day FestivalThe Irish Settlement of Canada: A St. Patrick's FestivalCulture and Destiny: An Easter FestivalCulture and Technology: A St. Andrew's Festival"a federation that celebrates their common heritage."Derek Ferguson, The Toronto Star

The Secret Rose
"Scotti's music and Yeats's poems are a beautiful blend ... evoking a sensuous yearning for an Ireland faded in the mists.... Treasa O'Driscoll was superb. Her voice was as sweet and clear as the flute and harp that accompanied her.... She was also an engaging commentator and storyteller."Sarah Clark, Gloucester Daily Times (Massachusetts)

PRODUCTIONSBeginning to End: Jack MacGowran's Adaptation of Beckett, with David Fielder"utterly convincing ... a masterful performance ... eloquent but remote."Christopher Hume, The Toronto StarPlate 56: Service to the University and the community by Robert O'Driscoll, 1968-87: Press Reception of performances by artists from Canada and abroad.


In June 1993, Provost Foley concluded her Investigation. 'Dear Donald,'she writes on 7 June 1993 to Donald Dewees, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science:

Thank you for your letter of May 21, 1993, concerning the review conducted by Professor Adamowski of the matters concerning Professor O'Driscoll.
I have accepted the review done by Professor Adamowski and believe that the steps taken by the Department are appropriate. The letter of reprimand from Professor Adamowski should form part of Professor O'Driscoll's file.
I believe it is also appropriate for the Chair to re-affirm with Professor O'Driscoll what constitutes appropriate conduct when Professor O'Driscoll returns to teaching assignments [i.e. September 1994].
I must say that I have never seen the 'review' submitted by Professor Adamowski to Vice-Dean Dewees, despite five requests to secure a copy of it. If an academic does not know precisely how he has committed an 'academic transgression', how can he attempt to rectify the situation? Professor Adamowski wrote on 15 June, and if this is the 'letter of reprimand' to which Provost Foley makes reference, it is rather a feeble one. Or again, does another 'letter of reprimand' exist which I haven't seen?

I have enclosed for your information a copy of a letter from the Provost, Professor J. E. Foley, that arrived here on 11 June (when I was out of town). It is addressed to Professor D.N. Dewees, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science.
When your sabbatical has concluded, and prior to the resumption of classes in September, 1994,e will need to speak concerning the matter mentioned in the third paragraph of the Provost's letter. In late August, 1994, I will arrange an appointment with you to discuss this matter.
Then something happened with a rapidity which no one could have predicted. I published a second book: not having been warned to stay out of the field, I plunged ahead with my research. Immediately another Investigation was called. The connection between the publication of the book and the commissioning of the Second Investigation is therefore clear. Curiously though, the Media Release makes no mention of the book but of 'a series of complaints and incidents over the past five years concerning the activities of Professor Robert O'Driscoll.' Being on sabbatical, I had gone to the University campus only a few times between the conclusion of the First Investigation and the initiation of the second; it is difficult to understand, therefore, how the complaints could have been made during that period, and if they had been relevant to the First Investigation they certainly would have been introduced.

Vice-Provost Cook explained to the Toronto Star (13 October 1993) that 'O'Driscoll's publications and professional conduct' would be reviewed, whether he 'is discharging his obligations as a teacher, researcher and scholar in a way that meets the test of our policies.' Another part of the Review was to determine whether I was creating a 'hostile and intimidating atmosphere' in St. Michael's College during the last five years. A colleague of mine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Professor Patrick O'Flaherty, remembering that I had - between the years of 1966 and 1987 - drawn some 35,000 people onto the campus of The University of Toronto (and that people would hardly keep coming back if they had on any occasion been intimidated or subjected to hostility) has written of the inherent inequity of this process:

It is, to me, an odd proceeding to tackle a university scholar on only five years of a thirty-year career. Far better to look at the whole picture - from the PhD to the present - and make a thorough and humane judgment. A scholar's interests and general writing profile may change radically from decade to decade; there are ups and downs, prolific periods and dry periods, times when teaching is so burdensome that it intrudes on research, family crises, and well, just time's winged chariot going by. If O'Driscoll's path is followed from the beginning to now, these dips and surges will be seen, but let his contributions to Irish literary studies be noted as considerable surges in his scholarly career. The Untold Story: The Irish in Canada and The Celtic Consciousness are big books. And there are other works of consequence on Yeats, Ferguson, etc.
Nevertheless, the 'Report' of the Second Investigating Committee (I have been investigated now for eleven of the last fourteen months, and I am still under investigation) exonerated me on the three main fronts of competence expected of a University teacher: teaching, research, and adherence to the curriculum. Of my teaching it was reported: 'his teaching had been generally meritorious, in some courses of very high merit indeed ... many responses suggest he is an inspiring teacher, charming, capable of arousing the students' imaginations and leading them to appreciate difficult modernist texts, etc.' Anyone who consults my teaching assessments for the last five years will see that I have averaged between 6.0 and 6.3, or between 86% and 90% for each of the last five years.

The investigators also report that they found 'virtually nothing to suggest that students were introduced to the material at issue on Professor O'Driscoll's recent work.’ ‘There is no hint,' Professor Adamowski writes, 'of intrusions from his recent publications into the classroom.'

With relation to my literary scholarship, the Investigators concluded (and they do not seem to have my 'Curriculum Update' before them when they made the conclusion), his recent publications do 'not bear on his competence to do the literary scholarship for which he was hired. There is no evidence that he is unable to perform that work competently.'

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