Friday, November 28, 2014

What's Wrong with The Education System

When I was a grad student twenty-some years ago, my profs knew me as a guy who liked to come up with his own way of analyzing things. My thesis advisor was in Electrical Power, and everything there is done by "modelling". You have a motor or a transformer, and there is a "model" which represents its internal parameters like "core losses" or "magnetizing inductance". You do some external measurements from which you calculate those parameters, and then you analyze the machine as a simple circuit using the parameters you just calculated.

I never did this. I always worked from physical logic and analyzed things from the ground up. Once my advisor asked me, "Marty, why don't you like models?" (He was Rob Menzies, actually a very capable engineer and a pretty good prof.) I told him I didn't like them because they encouraged you to work by numbers without actually understanding what you were doing. I don't know if he got my point, but the other day I had a flashback to that moment.

I was working with some Engineering students the other day and one of them asked me a question from his Power Systems course. It was about transformers. You do some measurements on the transformer and calculate its equivalent circuit parameters. I asked him to show me the question, and he did. It started off something like this:

"You have a single-phase transformer rated 20 kVA, 2200V primary and 220 secondary. You do an open circuit test and measure 220V, 2.5 A and 100 Watts. Then you do the short circuit test and measure 150V, 4.5A and 250 Watts. Determine the equivalent circuit parameters."
 I asked him to show me how those measurements were done. So he started to draw out the circuit model, which looks something like this:

Okay, I said, where do you measure the 220 volts? He started to point to one of the components, I don't remember which one, it might have been Xm, and I said: "No, you can't measure the internal parameters, those are only theoretical constructs. You can only measure the actual transformer".

He didn't exactly get it. So I drew this picture:

"THIS is what a transformer looks like", I told him. "There are only four wires. You have a voltmeter, an ammeter, and a wattmeter. Where do you hook them up?"

He was stumped. He had to admit that he had no idea.  They never talked about that in class. The prof told them that there was something called an "open circuit test" and something called a "short circuit test", that you get these measurements, and then you put them into these formulas, and the result is the equivalent circuit parameters (the ones you see all over the transformer model in the first diagram). No one ever talked about what it actually means.


And that's why I don't like models. Because they fool you into thinking that you know what you're doing, when you really don't. Actually, this particular student was pretty smart. He recognized right away that he'd been strung along, but he'd gone along with it because he had no choice. You follow directions or you fail. There's no time to second-guess the system and question what you're learning. And that makes him an exception.

The problem with education system is that by the time they've gotten this far, most students are no longer capable of recognizing what's wrong with the whole scenario. If I'd have confronted the typical engineering student with the fact that he was doing the calculation blindly even though he didn't even know where the voltmeter was supposed to be hooked up, he would have simply replied that it didn't matter, that you didn't need  to know that stuff because the right way to do it was just to follow the steps that the professor had laid out. And he would get the right answer on the test.

But that's not the biggest problem. The real tragedy of the education system is that it is doing exactly what society demands of it: churning out obedient workers for the government/industrial bureaucracy who will do what they are told without questioning or even trying to understand the reason behind it.






Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Grounds for Appeal

I filed an appeal on my trespassing conviction this morning. Here are the official grounds for appeal which I submitted to the court as part of my application. (Yes, I know, I spelled Appellant wrong. Get over it.)



GROUNDS FOR APPEAL

1.         The trial judge erred when she failed to find that the University of Winnipeg had acted arbitrarily or maliciously in banning the Appelant from its property: in particular,

a)    when she found the University was justified in basing its decision on the perceptions of others as to the nature of the Appelant’s conduct, rather than its own findings as to the Appelant’s actual conduct;


b)    when she failed to take into account that the University had based its decision on false and inaccurate reports of the Appelants behavior; and,

c)    when she failed to take into account that the University had denied the Appelant a fair opportunity to challenge and refute the false accusations made against him that led to their no-trespassing order.

2.         At the trial, the trial judge improperly discouraged  the Appelant from examining and cross-examining witnesses on events that took place in 2011 and 2012 when he was a student at the university, and instead urged him to concentrate on the immediate events of 2013 associated with the no-trespassing order; and then subsequently, in her decision, relied heavily on those earlier events to justify the no-trespassing order.

3.         The trial judge erred when she refused to allow the Appelant to call as a witness the person whose hearsay testimony accused him of violent and outrageous behavior; and she misled the Appelant when she told him she would not draw adverse inference against him from those hearsay accusations, but then proceded to conclude that the witness would have been in danger if she ordered the witness’s name disclosed to the Appelant.

4.         The trial judge mis-apprehended the evidence when she found that the Appelant was not a student at the University when he was first banned from the property; drew conclusions that were not supported by the evidence when she found that neither of the no-trespassing orders had  a serious negative impact on the Appelant’s life; and erred when, on the basis of those errors, she concluded  that the “due process” rights accorded the Appelant were sufficient in the circumstances.

5.         The trial judge drew conclusions not supported by the evidence when she found that the University had given the Appelant adequate opportunity to dispute the truth of the allegations against him, and erred when she found on that basis that the University had afforded him adequate due process. 

6.         The trial judge erred when she over-ruled the objection of the appelant to the Crown questioning him on his opinions as to why his professors disliked him.

7.         In finding that the University’s concern for the safety of staff and students was reasonable, the Trial Judge erred when she relied in part on incidents when the Appelant spoke out of turn in class and wrote essays in which he exercised his Charter rights by disagreeing with the opinions of his professors. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why I'm Going To Win On Appeal



Last week the Free Press reported that I was convicted of trespassing on the U of W campus in 2013. The Judge tore quite a strip off me in her written decision, finding the University to be fully justified in barring me for life from the campus in January of 2013. She also found they were justified in having barred me for 12 months exactly one year previously in 2012, when I was still a student. Oddly enough, she saw fit to make that pronouncement even though I hadn’t been accused of violating the earlier trespassing notice. 

It’s funny that she made those findings because the University had originally taken the position that under the Petty Trespassing Act, they don’t need to give any reasons for barring someone. That’s certainly true for any private property owner. If I come into your yard, you can tell me to leave without giving me any reason. And if I don’t leave, you can have me charged with trespassing. You don’t need a reason.

But I argued that a quasi-public facility is different; that there was a common-law right to peaceful entry and use of those facilities which could not be arbitrarily denied without reason. And the judge agreed with me. So what were the University’s reasons for barring me?

That’s where it got interesting. In September of 2012 I filed a lawsuit against the U of W for kicking me out of the Education program. In January (of 2013) I went to the home of one of my former professors to serve papers on him. Professor Bush hung up the phone on me when I tried to tell him the purpose of my visit. When I rang the doorbell, his wife came to the door and told me her husband didn’t want to see me. Then she closed the door on my outstretched arm, which was holding the papers I had come to serve. None of this is in dispute.

What happened next is in dispute. Mrs. Bush told the court that a struggle then ensued, lasting around sixty seconds, in which she desperately fought to keep me from forcing my way into her home. She testified (without being asked) that during that time she was unable to cry out for help to her husband because she was so out of breath from the strain of holding me at bay.And when I challenged her on whether that was even physically plausible, she backtracked and claimed the real reason she didn't call out to her husband was because she was afraid of what I might do to him if he showed himself.

I, on the other hand, testified that when Mrs. Bush started to close the door without warning, I instinctively put up my left hand against the door to protect my outstretched right arm; and that as soon as I realized what was happening, I paused momentarily to consider whether I could legally serve the papers by dropping them at Mrs. Bush’s feet; then, realizing that wouldn’t work, I glanced over her shoulder to see if her husband was within eyeshot; and since he wasn’t, I simply let go of the door and walked away. I testified that the physical confrontation might have lasted as long as one or two seconds.

The Judge found me to be an honest witness who was doing his best to provide a candid account of what happened in the door. But then she also found my version to be consistent with Mrs. Bush’s version! She called it a mere “difference of perception”, finding that although Mrs. Bush’s time estimate was “not accurate”, that the duration of the pushing was “not momentary”, but lasted long enough to engender “a legitimate and honest fear in Mrs. Bush”.

But how did this justify the U of W issuing a lifetime ban against me? Well, immediately after I left, Professor Bush called his colleague Professor Metz, who then emailed U of W VP Neil Besner to report that  “George Bush just called me to report that Marty Green tried to break in his house.” (Yes, Professor Bush’s first name is George. Get over it.) Besner immediately took steps to have a permanent ban posted against me.

The Judge found that Professor Metz had been exaggerating, especially when he later characterised the incident as “an attempted home invasion.” And therefore she was apparently not prepared to find this single incident to be sufficient to justify the trespassing order. She wanted to review the entire context of my relationship with the University. And that, as I promised ealier, is where it gets interesting.

Despite observing that Professor Metz was overly sensitive, perhaps even “hyper-sensitive, she nevertheless found Metz to  be credible when he went on to testify that I had directed a death threat at him a year previously, in the form of a throat-slashing gesture he claimed to have witnessed without being able to see my facial expression. But there was more. Neil Besner testified that after being banned for the first time in 2012, I proceeded to launch a campaign of harassment over the course of the next year, demanding such things as the return of personal property and marked assignments. The Judge, not surprisingly, found that this did not constitute harassment. Security chief Martin Grainger testified about a horrifying incident where I got right in the face of an invited guest and was virtually screaming at her.  The Judge found that this incident never happened.

So what was the “context” which justified the University concluding, on the basis of the confrontation at the Bush residence, that I ought to be banned for life? The Judge found that although I was not a violent person, that I possessed “a single minded determinedness to demonstrate that (my) point of view is the superior one.” In support of this she cited two incidents where, after disagreeing with a Professor, I had used a written assignment as a platform to carry on the argument and prove that I was right.

And that’s why I’m going to win the appeal. If I had written an essay where I raged about my feelings of anger against those professors, that might be a cause for concern. But if the University can kick you out of school, ban you from the campus and even get you thrown in jail (yes, nine days in remand) based even in part on an essay you wrote where you disagreed with the professor, well…

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Judicial vs Administrative Procedures

When is a procedure judicial and when is it administrative? It's a bit of a legal fine point, but it came up the other day when Judge Krahn handed down her decision in my criminal case.

You could say it was a huge victory for me; I was acquitted of the criminal charges against me (the mischief charge, that is: the forcible entry charge was withdrawn by the crown on the very last day of the trial.) She found me guilty of trespassing, but let me off with a mere reprimand. So I "won".

But it didn't feel like a victory when I read her decision. She bitch-slapped me up and down for anything and everything I ever did at the university, and said they were fully justified in both of the trespass orders they imposed on me - the one-year order imposed in 2012, and the lifetime ban imposed in 2013. I'll have more to say about that later, but today's topic deals with a legal fine point.

The Judge wasn't impressed by my argument that they never told me the grounds for the trespassing order, so I didn't have the opportunity to dispute them. In my argument, I cited Stinchcombe, the leading Canadian authority which deals with the right of an accused person to know the case against him. The judge said that I wasn't entitled to Stinchcombe rights because the process was "more administrative than judicial."

It's an interesting observation because in a separate case, I am suing the University for defamation in regards to the exact same trespassing order. Defamation doesn't have to be words: it can be an action or gesture which gives a defamatory message. A well-known example was the lady who sued a shopping centre for defamation when she was marched under restraint by security through the store in view of the general public. The courts found that the spectacle carried defamatory meaning. I argued the same about the trespassing order. The university moved two strike out my claim on the basis that the disciplinary actions against me were part of a "quasi-judicial process", and therefore they had absolute immunity against any defamatory claims.

And the judge agreed with them. That's the law...if someone slanders you as part of a judicial proceedings, you can't sue them for slander. It's called absolute privilege. Notice that it goes much farther than "qualified privilege", which you can overcome if you show malice. Absolute privilege protects them no matter what. And the University's internal star chambers are generally accorded the status of "quasi-judicial proceedings."

Here's what I don't get. It was the same trespassing order both times. Master Berthaudin (in the civil case) found the University was protected by absolute privilege because it was part of a "quasi-judicial process". And Judge Krahn (in the4 civil case) found the University wasn't responsible for giving me my Stinchcombe (disclosure) rights because it was "more administrative than judicial."

I'm appealing both decisions. We'll see if the University can have it both ways.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Which I Reply to Mr. Meronek

I have told you how Brian Meronek, counsel for the U of W, had warned me to cease and desist from contacting new U of W president Annette Trimbee, telling me that if I continued to do so I would be in violation of the recognizance imposed on me when I was released from Headingly last year. (You can read here how the Trimbee's predecessor, Lloyd Axworthy, had gotten me thrown in jail on trumped-up charges.)

Mr. Meronek's argument was that although I was prohibited from contacting Lloyd Axworthy, the ban also applied to his successor in the job of U of W President. I wrote back to Mr. Meronek on Monday. Here is what I told him:

Dear Mr. Meronek:
 
I have reviewed the terms of my recognizance and I find no indication that the prohibition relates to the office rather than the individual. Would you please review it yourself and determine whether or not I am correct? (If I am wrong, then I presume that you saying that according to the terms of my recognizance, I am now permitted to contact Lloyd Axworthy, since he no longer holds the office which he held at the time he was named in the court order.)
 
I have to assume that you advised Ms. Trimbee to ignore my communication on the grounds that it was a violation of a court order. If on reconsideration you determine (as I believe you will)  that you were incorrect in so advising her, I hope you will promptly correct this misinformation, and tell her that there is no legal obstacle for her to communicate with me, or to re-open an investigation into my grade appeal. Once again, I appeal to Dr. McCluskey to come forward and inform the new President as to what he knows about the way I was mistreated.
 
In the meantime, I will wait two more weeks before proceeding with an application for judicial review, in order to allow Ms. Trimbee, on reconsideration, to allow me the opportunity to state my case to the Senate Committee, as Dr. Blair had originally decided before being overruled by Dr. Moulaison.
 
Marty Green, P. Eng.

We'll see how that goes. In any event, the question may become moot by Friday morning. That's when Judge Krahn of the Provincial Court is going to deliver her decision on the criminal charges laid against me at the behest of the University. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mr. Meronek Warns Me to Back Off

I told you yesterday how I sent a letter to new U of W President Annette Trimbee, asking her to re-open the grade appeal which was shut down by Associate Dean Moulaison last year after I exposed fraud on the part of the Departmental Appeals committee. As I explained, it was impossible for me to go over Moulaison's head because the University had just obtained a court order preventing me from contacting Lloyd Axworthy.

But Lloyd is gone, so I felt I was at liberty to contact his successor. That raised the hackles of U of W lawyer Brian Meronek. I received the following letter yesterday from Meronek, warning me to cease and desist:

Dr. Mr. Green;
    I have been provided a copy of  your letter to Dr. Trimbee. As the prohibition against contact relates to the office( and not just the individual), you are being asked to refrain from contacting any U of W official . All communications are to be directed through this office. I trust you will honour this request.

Brian J. Meronek, Q.C.

We'll see how this plays out...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

In Which I Send A Letter to the U of W



Lloyd Axworthy is gone and the U of W has a new president, Annette Trimbee.

After the University had me thrown in jail last year on trumped-up charges, I managed to get out on bail only by agreeing to conditions whereby I wasn't allowed to contact various U of W staff including Lloyd Axworthy. This was a problem because at the time I was fighting a grade appeal, and I had just gotten some very good dirt on the Departmental Review Committee. Danny Blair, the chairman of the Appeals Committee had agreed that I would be able to present my findings to the Senate, when suddenly he was removed as chair and replaced by Glen Moulaison, who promptly reversed Blair's decision and terminated my appeal. I wanted to complain to Lloyd Axworthy but I couldn't, because of the court order.

So when Axworthy left and Trimbee came in, I thought it would be a good time to renew my appeal. Two weeks ago, I wrote her the following letter:


Dear Dr. Trimbee:

My name is Marty Green and in the winter of 2012 I was expelled from the Faculty of Education amidst some very disturbing accusations of misconduct on my part. Since then I have been trying to vinidicate my reputation. I have maintained from the beginning that the accusations against me were malicious. The professor who was most instrumental in getting me expelled, Don Metz, was subsequently responsible for having me thrown in jail on the basis of his accusation that I attempted to break into the home of one of his colleagues. I have steadfastly maintainted that Dr. Metz was lying when he made that accusation, and I expect to be vindicated on that charge when the Judge Krahn delivers her verdict on August 29th.

I can assure you that the accusations made by Professor Metz which led to my expulsion in 2012 were just as false and malicious as his subsequent accusations which caused me to be put in jail a year later. But Professor Metz was not alone in making allegations against me. I was never given the opportunity to respond to all of the charges made by various parties, but in at least one case, those charges have since been retracted. Professor Cantor, whose accusations against me were extremely damaging at the time, has since admitted that she never believed that I had done anything wrong, but was pressured into writing me up at the behest of the Associate Dean, John Anchan.

I believe Dr McCluskey (to whom this letter is being copied) knows that everything I have said is the truth, and if you ask him he will confirm it. I am writing you now because September is approaching and the University of Winnipeg still has the opportunity to partially redress the wrong done to me by readmitting me to the Faculty of Education so I can be certified as a teacher.

But there is a second matter on which I also require your response. At the time I was thrown in jail, I was in the midst of a grade appeal with respect to a failing grade I was given on a term paper in Professor Bush’s Philosophy of Science class. (This is the same Professor Bush whose home I was accused of trying to break into a year later.) The appeal was being conducted by Professor Blair. It had been disclosed to me that the Departmental Committee had ratified Professor Bush’s failing grade without even reading the paper in question, and Professor Blair had decided on that basis that I should be allowed to present my case in person to the Senate Appeals Committee (of which he was the chair). Subsequently, for reasons which have never been disclosed to me, Professor Blair was replaced as chair of the  committee by Dean Moulaison, who promptly reversed Professor Blair’s decision and terminated my appeal.

At the same time, I was released from prison under the condition that I was not allowed to contact senior staff of the University. So I was not able to appeal to then-president Lloyd Axworthy to overturn Dr. Moulaison’s ruling and restore my rights to due process as established by Professor Blair. Those conditions are still in place; however, Dr. Axworthy is no longer president, and the court order does not prevent me from contacting to you, his successor.

I am therefore writing you now to ask if you will restore my right to appeal the failing grade, including the right to speak before the Senate Committee, as promised me by Dr.Blair. I think this is only fair. If you do not respond to this request by Friday, Aug 22nd, I will conclude that I have exhausted my internal avenues of appeal in this matter and will then file an Application for Judicial Review.

I thank you for your consideration in these matters.

Marty Green

Dr. Trimbee did not respond.