Thursday, January 31, 2013

Birthright Afghanistan

My blog is getting an awful lot of hits right now, for obvious reasons, so it seems like a good time for me to post an article that might help someone else out who has been screwed by the system a lot worse than me. This article originally appeared last fall in the local Jewish weekly. You'll see it's not a cause that will gather a lot of sympathy among that readership, but the editor is a guy who isn't afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom...or allow his contributors a platform to do so, even if he might not agree with him.

A word of explanation for my non-Jewish readers: "Birthright Israel" is a program where young North American twenty-somethings get a free trip to Israel to learn about our culture and history. I knew Bernie had guts, but I was still surprised when he let me lead off the following article with the provocative title "Birthright Afghanistan". Here it is in its entirety.


Birthright Afghanistan
This is the story of a “hyphenated-Canadian family”, troubled by the mass media propaganda campaign which regularly demonizes their national homeland. They hear about a program whereby young people are given the opportunity to spend time overseas, immersed in their culture, to learn about their history and values from their side. They send their teenage son.
As part of this program, the young man learns about the dangers facing his people from powerful enemies. He learns about the cruel outrages inflicted in the past on his countrymen, and is taught to revere the brave soldiers who today defend his people from those who would subjugate them.
While the young man is overseas, the unthinkable occurs. One morning he awakens to learn of an audacious airborne attack which has, without warning, destroyed an imposing symol of enemy power. The enemy is outraged, and demands the arrest of those who planned the attack. The demand is defiantly refused.
Within days, the enemy forces have declared war on the outlaw state which harbors such “criminals”. The war is hopelessly one-sided. The village where the young man has been staying is in short order surrounded by enemy forces who threaten to kill all its defenders unless they immediately turn over their arms. The defenders vow to fight to the last man.
Shells rain down on the underground bunker where the young man is trapped with a handful of defenders, the same young men who only days before had been his teachers, guides and companions. Then there is silence, broken only by the footsteps of the enemy entering the bunker. Through a cloud of dust and smoke, they see the dead bodies of the young man’s companions. But the young man has survived, bloody and blinded in one eye by shrapnel. He pulls the pin on a grenade, and throws it. An enemy soldier screams in pain and crumples to the ground.
The enemy has won the battle but not without cost. Enraged, they pump two more bullets into the broken body of the young man. Still alive, he is dragged off and thrown in a cell. Ten years later, he remains imprisoned. Should we feel sorry for the young man?
I am amazed at the number of people who say that we should lock Omar Khadr in his cell and throw away the key. I wonder what those people would be saying if Omar Khadr had been a fifteen-year-old Jewish boy spending a year in Israel? And what if one morning the world woke up to learn that overnight, Israel had launched a massive air strike on the Iranian nuclear installations? Suddenly, Omar Khadr's story becomes our story: outraged by the attack, a coalition of Islamic nations invades Israel to arrest the “perpetrators”. Israel is quickly overwhelmed, and on an isolated kibbutz a young Birthright participant puts into practise the lessons that he has just recently learned at Masada: to die rather than to surrender. He releases a hand grenade as the the attackers enter the room and it explodes, killing an Iraqi (who happens to be a medic). But our boy miraculously survives. Is it so unlikely that we could one day be reading in the newspapers about a Canadian Jewish teenager being held in Iran as a war criminal and charged with murder?
There is of course a fatal flaw in my analogy: it's the naive assumption of moral equivalency. How can I compare the actions and motivations of our side and theirs? The answer is that when it comes right down to it, I can't. I really still believe that we are right and they are wrong, and justice is on our side. The only difference is that the older I get, the harder it is for me to think of reasons why our enemies shouldn't believe just as strongly that justice is on their side.
And in case I haven’t made it clear, I think Omar Khadr has suffered enough and now that he's back in Canada, we should let him out of jail as soon as possible.

In which I am apprehended by Campus Security

Remember that Seinfeld episode where they all go to India for the wedding of the candy bar heiress? I think maybe we're going to try that here with my story about getting arrested. Since I've already pretty much started with the ending. One benefit will be that when it's all done, people can read my blog entries in reverse order (that's how the blog entries normally show up) to get the straight story. Let's see how it works out.

I had been spotted by an old Faculty of Education classmate who was having a cigarette break outside the Ellice Avenue doors on that little smoking balcony. I'm leaving out his name because I don't want to cause him any trouble. He seemed pretty glad to see me and so I joined him for a little catching up. Just then a group of security men came out the back doors and told me I'd have to go inside with them. I told them that would be no problem, and they escorted me to a little holding cell at the far end of campus (by the security office). It turns out one of them was an old Videon employee from the days when I was a Community Accesss TV celebrity in the early nineties, and we chatted about the old days for a while.

After about 20 minutes the police showed up, and the first thing they asked me was what was going on here. I told them I wasn't interested in talking to them. They insisted they wanted my side of the story and I told them I had nothing to tell them. They didn't like that so they told me to get up against the wall. They did a full body pat down and asked me if I was carrying any concealed weapons. I told them to go ahead and look and they said they didn't want to get poked with anything sharp, so they put on gloves and emptied my pockets. They were pretty annoyed that I wouldn't tell them anything.

After awhile the U of W head of Security came and told me that I was being charged with trespassing. I asked him why, and he told me that a professor's wife had called the University two weeks ago and reported that I had tried to force my way into her home. And so the Univerisity had issued a barring notice against me.

(EDIT: The second time I was arrested, three days later, Mr. Grainger apparently had second thoughts about the reasons he had given me for the trespassing order. It seems after all that the original order of January 2012 had a small error: it included an expiry date, which was not called for in the Petty Trespassing Act. The updated order of January 2013 was issued merely to correct this discrepancy in the original order. Nevertheless, when the police showed up six hours later to book me, after talking to the security night shift, they told me in response to my protests of abuse of power that the University had every right to to bar me from the campus because what business did I have calling on professors at their homes? I guess Mr. Grainger had forgotten to inform the night shift of the new reasons.)

But let's get back to the first arrest. The police told me to follow them, and they led me outside. When we got to the cruiser, they asked some more questions and I told them I had nothing to tell them. So one of them said something to the other about putting me in the back of the car while he went inside to get some more information.

At this point I had been deprived of my freedom for about 45 minutes and I did not see any reason why they should be taking me anywhere in their car. So I told them I wanted them to just go ahead and charge me with trespassing so I could leave. They got pretty mad and told me not to tell them what to do. So I asked if I was under arrest? They said I wasn't. Well, it felt like I was under arrest. So I pressed them and they told me to keep my mouth shut. That's when I told them if I wasn't under arrest and wasn't being charged, I was leaving. And that's when I started to walk away.

I got about three steps when I was spun around from behind, grabbed by the throat with one hand and the arm by the other. "Take your hand off my throat," I said as calmly as I could. They pushed me to the back of the cruiser and put handcuffs on me from behind. "The right cuff is a little tight" I told them and they ignored me. "I think you should loosen the right cuff". Then they stood me up and pushed me towards the back door of the car. I did not want to get in the car like that, so I said "Loosen the cuffs!" They ignored me so I started to shout "LOOSEN THE CUFFS! LOOSEN THE CUFFS!" as loud as I could. When stopped to catch my breath they shoved me in the back seat. At the last minute they gave one more hard tug on the cuffs so they were REALLY tight.

In the novel "Our Man In Havana" by Graham Greene, set in the years of the Batista dictatorship, the protagonist, a dealer in vacuum cleaners, finds himself being interviewed by the notorious Chief of Police. "Are you going to torture me?" he asks. "Oh, no", the chief replies. "You are not of the torturable class." It seems that the dregs of society may be tortured with impunity, but there is a gentleman's understanding that with the better elements of society, it is just not done.

I mention this because I don't want anyone to think I really consider this to be an outrageous example of police brutality. I never thought I was in any real danger of physical harm, because I am not of the "torturable class". My point is that if I can be treated this way, just imagine what they do to a drunk Indian who talks back to them in a crowded bar. It is the utter pointlessness of the gratuitous brutality which should disturb you, not the degree of injury suffered in this instance. (And by the way, I can assure you that those handcuffs really hurt, in case you have any doubts.)

It was only five or ten minutes before they finally pulled me out of the back of the car to loosen the cuffs, but one of them still couldn't resist calling me a "suckhole" as I lay prone on the ground begging for relief. I stood up straight and got about six inches from his face and said as in a complete deadpan: "Don't you dare call me a suckhole". Then I stared at him until he looked away. They were undoubtedly waiting for me to say anything more that would give them the excuse to beat the crap out of me, but I didn't give them that satisfaction.

They put me back in the car and we chatted for about 20 minutes while they decided what to do with me. In the end they wrote me up a ticket for $113 for petty trespassing....the same as a traffic ticket, that I could pay by mail. They assured me that if I chose to fight the ticket, they would be their in court to testify against me. I wonder just what facts they plan to testify to in court?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fax to: The Chief of Police

When we left off yesterday, I was inching slowly forward in my grade appeal, and it was just about to get interesting. But in the meantime, a kind of side show has developed over the last couple of days. Well, actually it's more of a freak show than a side show, and it's going to take a whole lot of explaining to get you up to speed. To make a long story short, I was arrested on the U of W campus yesterday for trespassing, and it got a little weird. Without getting into the details of how it all came down, the end result was that I decided to send an urgent fax to the Chief of Police this morning.

It turns out it's not so easy to fax the Chief of Police. They won't give out any kind of departmental fax numbers. So instead I sent the fax to the Mayor and asked him to forward it to the Chief. Here is what the fax said:


FAX TO:                 Chief of Police
FROM:        Marty Green
DATE:                       January 30th 2012
SUBJECT:   Arrest for Trespassing

Dear Mr. Klunis:

Yesterday, Officers 2759 and 3044 attended to the University of Winnipeg in response to a complaint of Trespassing. I am presently involved in a civil dispute with the University, and as part of their strategy, they have chosen to threaten me with trespassing charges if I appear on campus. For reasons of my own, I decided it would be beneficial to me to be charged with trespassing, and I informed the University in advance of my intention to peacefully and non-disruptively disregard the ban. I proceeded to do so, and was apprehended without incident by the U of W Security.

How can it be that when all parties concerned simply wanted a ticket to be issued, I ended up pinned to the ground writhing in agony? I did nothing to prevent the officers from doing their duty, but for reasons I cannot imagine the incident became violent.

Unfortunately, as part of the civil dispute between the University and myself, it will be necessary for me to return to the campus and defy the trespassing ban again. I have told the University already, and I am telling you now, that my actions are peaceful and that I will leave when requested. I am willing to get as many tickets as you choose to write but I see no reason why my personal safety should be at stake.

I am therefore asking for an immediate meeting with you and the officers on duty so I can be assured that if you wish to continue to involve your department in this private dispute, that any future encounters will be properly handled.
FOLLOW UP (Feb. 2nd): It turns out the Chief never called back, but I heard from Sgt. Antonio down at the precinct who was pretty reasonable about things. And the next time I got arrested, the cops were indeed much more civilized. We actually had quite a nice discussion over the whole scenario while they were writing out my ticket, and when I told the guys I would be representing myself in court, they tried to warn me that I was going to have an awfully hard time going up against against guys like Sheldon Pinx, who would "tear me to shreds" (in their words).  I had to laugh at that: "I went to school with Sheldon Pinx", I told them. Actually, that's not even fact I went to school with Saul Simmonds. But that's not why I bring it up. I mention it because sometimes in a conversation you have the chance to deliver a real zinger. (My father was famous for that.) And in this case I had the chance and I blew it! What I meant to say, when they brought up Sheldon Pinx, was: "Sheldon Pinx? I went to Hebrew School with Sheldon Pinx!"  (Again, Saul Simmonds actually, but it's the same basic idea.)


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Committee Wants to Re-read My Term Paper

To recapitulate, I had appealed my failing grade on the final project in Philosophy of Science Teaching, and the Departmental Committee had denied my appeal. After many inquiries on my part, the Senate Committee finally agreed to hear my appeal; and Danny Blair, the chair of the committee, had agreed to ask the Departmental Committee to provide their written reasons for their decision.

That was when I got this surprising letter from Colin Russell, the registrar:

Hello Marty,
The Education Department Review Committee has asked to see the original copy of your assignment, as you offer to provide below, not because of concern over the veracity of the date, but rather to see the notes and markings that Professor Bush made on the paper, to which you refer in your explanation. Hopefully if the comments are hand-written they are legible enough in a pdf or photo-copy for you to provide one. Please let me know if you can email a pdf or mail a hard copy of the original assignment to me.

Well, as far as I had been told, it was Danny Blair who was responsible for handling the grade appeal, not Colin Russell. So I wrote back, with a copy to Blair:

Dear Prof. Russell:
Please tell the DRC to forward all requests through Danny Blair.

Blair did not respond to this. Instead, I heard back from Russell:

Dear Marty,
This request is coming from the DRC in response to your grade appeal, and the Registrar is designated to receive material from appellants for this purpose, so I will be the person to facilitate exchange between you and the DRC.
 Why was Russell asking me to submit additional material to the DRC? I was not asking the DRC to change their grade. Danny Blair had requested them to provide reasons for their decision. Any new information I gave them would only give them a chance to come up with new reasons, and I wasn't about to let them do that. I wrote back to Blair:

Dear Prof. Blair
It is now three weeks since you undertook to provide me with the DRC's written reasons for their decision rejecting my grade appeal. That decision was final, and there is no provision in the University Regulations for them to attempt to change their decision pending my appeal to the Senate. According to your ruling as chair of the Senate Committee, I am entitled to the reasons for their decision, and I must insist that they provide those reasons forthwith.
I would also appreciate if you would tell Colin Russell that he has no jurisdiction to demand further documentation from me in this matter.
marty green
 Little did I know I was wasting my time. Unbeknownst to me, Danny Blair had been replaced as Chair of the Senate Committee.

My appeal winds its way through the system.

So the Senate Committee agrees to hear my grade appeal. I just have to wait for the chair, Danny Blair, to get in touch with me. (That's the same Danny Blair who wrote an impartial report recommending that the University do whatever possible to make sure I never got to work with children.) In any case when Professor Blair finally gets ahold of me, he begins by re-iterating Colin Russell's insistence that I will only be allowed to appeal "on procedural grounds". So I write back immediately:

I will require the Departmental Review Committee's written reasons for rejecting my appeal.

Ten days later, Blair writes back to me, stating that he has made some inquiries and determined that I have already been provided with the DRC's written reasons.

It seems he was referring to the very informative letter I received in October from the Committee, which I reproduce here in full:

As requested in your memo of September 12 2012, the Faculty of Education DRC has examined the claims made in this appeal and has made the following decision.

We believe that the expectations and evaluations in this course were well explained and transparent. The final assignment and the final exam were marked accordingly, and this approach is consistent with Faculty practises. 

We therefore find no basis to uphold the challenge.

Allen Appel
Chair, DRC

Interesting. I'm supposed to appeal on "procedural grounds", but this is all they tell me about the procedures they used. I write back to Blair explaining that I need more than that. Blair ignores me. So a week later I write back, asking him if he plans to take any action at all. Well, that got a response. It seems that Blair has been giving a lot of thought to my request after all, and he had come to a surprising decision:

Hi Marty...good timing....I yesterday finally made the decision that I will be asking the Faculty of Education's DRC to provide me, and through me, you...a written report in which they explain in some detail how it is that they arrived at their decision. I was just drafting the request to send to them; I will give them 10 working days to get their report in my hands (they will likely have to pull the DRC back together to draft the letter, and getting people together for meetings at this time of the term....well sometimes time consuming).
I will get back to you asap,

Since it was already Dec. 1st, it would be pretty much Christmas break before I would hear anything. So I'm not exactly holding my breath. But lo and behold, on the 12th, I hear back from ....Colin Russell. 

It seems the Departmental Committee had a small problem with my request for disclosure. When we return, I'll tell you what Russell had to say.

Friday, January 25, 2013

In Which I Make A Fool of Colin Morrison

For several weeks now I had been trying to get the University to acknowledge my grade appeal, with no success. Finally I got an answer...not from the Senate Appeals Committee, or anyone responsible for grade appeals, but from....Colin Morrison, the corporate lawyer! Why would the university have their lawyer contact me in connection with a grade appeal? That I cannot answer, but here is what he told me:

In reply to your question, the power of the Senate pursuant to para.24(2)(h) of the University of Winnipeg Act to “ hear and determine any appeals by students concerning their academic standing that the senate considers appropriate” is delegated by the Senate Standing Rules to the Student Appeals Committee.

That Committee is charged with the responsibility "to hear and resolve all student appeals relating to either decisions of departmental committees, faculty committees, Senate committees, and administrators in respect of ...grades or variances from university procedures and policies..."

The current chair of the Committee is Dr. Blair and you may wish to contact him with respect to your intent to appeal.

Colin Morrison
Was it really necessary to invoke the University of Winnipeg Act when handling a student grade appeal? Yes, I already knew I was supposed to go to the Senate Appeals Committee. The Registrar had told me that three weeks ago. He just hadn't told me how to reach them. At least Colin Morrison had given me a name; but he had still not given me contact information. How was I supposed to find Dr. Blair? So I went back to the regulations and guess what I learned?

It wasn't my job to track down the Chair of the Committee! I only had to notify the Registrar...the guy I had been writing all along, who sent me on the wild goose chase in the first place, and ignored all my subsequent efforts to have my appeal heard. I wrote back:

Contrary to Mr. Morrison's assertion, I find that I have already directed my appeal to the appropriate channels as identified in the University's updated Regulations and Policies, to wit:
"Further Appeal
A student who has reason to believe and can demonstrate that the Departmental Review Committee did not give the appeal a fair hearing may appeal the Committee’s decision on procedural grounds in writing to the Senate Appeals Committee through the Registrar."
I await the Registrar's response to my notification of intent to appeal. If the University wishes to have Dr. Blair contact me directly, that would also be satisfactory; but having already contacted the Registrar as required by the Policy, I reject the suggestion that I am now required to track down Dr. Blair, who is unknown to me. I should note that while I "have reason to believe and can demonstrate that the Departmental Review Committee did not give the appeal a fair hearing", I do not intend to argue the point on "procedural grounds"; furthermore, for reasons well known to the University, I have good reason to believe that I will not be given a fair hearing if I am required to submit my arguments in writing. As stated previously, I am requesting the right to make an oral argument before the Senate in the presence of Prof. Bush.

The Registrar wrote back the very next day, confirming that my appeal had been entered into the system, and I would be contacted shortly by the Chair of the Senate Committee, Prof. Danny Blair.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The lawyers get involved in my grade appeal.

Through most of October I had been writing the University pressing for the return of my personal property. For the most part, they simply neglected to respond to my inquiries. At the same time I had been trying to appeal the Departmental Committee's rejection of my grade appeal on my chemistry project. It had been three weeks since the Registrar told me to appeal it to the Senate Committee, but no one would tell me how to reach that body. So at the end of October, I wrote another letter. You can read the letter below. The day after I sent it, I received a reply from the University's corporate lawyer! We'll see what he told me when we next return, but in the meantime here is my letter of appeal, sent to my usual distribution of top brass from Axworthy on down:

As you know, I have been attempting to contact the Board of Regents with regard to the recent decision by the Education Faculty appeals committee to reject my grade appeal in Prof. Bush's course. It has come to my attention that perhaps it is the Senate and not the Board that would be the appropriate body for this appeal. I am therefore requesting that the recipients of this letter would forward my request to all members of the Senate for their consideration.
In view of the circumstances of this case, I feel a written appeal would not be adequate to represent my interests. I am therefore requesting an oral hearing. For your information, I am submitting the information I orignally included when I first requested a grade appeal last January (see below).
marty green
To: The Registrar
Prof. G.D. Bush
Vice-President, Academic
Dean of Education
Re: Final Grade in EDUC 15.4869
This letter notifies the University of my intent to appeal my final grade in “Theory of Science Teaching”. The grounds for my appeal are that the overall assessment of the final grade is demonstrably unjust.
Under the University procedures, I am required to submit my appeal in writing to the Registrar, who then forwards it to the Departmental Review Committee. In view of the circumstances of my case, which the Registrar is familiar with, I am asking him to consider a variation in this procedure whereby I would be allowed to present my case orally. The reasons for my request are as follows:
1. As the Registrar is aware, I am presently engaged in a conflict with my department whereby they have refused to engage in communication with me concerning my status, instead referring me in all matters to the Registrar’s office. I therefore feel I cannot expect a fair hearing from my department.
2. The requirement to put all of my arguments in writing places an excessively onerous burden on me at this time, given the complexity of my case, the demanding course load I am dealing with and the extremely stressful conditions of my studies at this time, the reasons for which are familiar to the Registrar.
3. In making my case, I wish to point out the extreme discrepancy between the marks I was awarded and the obvious quality of the work submitted. I intended to draw an inference of malice from this circumstance, and will wish to support my inference with evidence of various incidents throughout the term. I feel this is by its nature a case that ought to be argued orally and in the presence of the instructor.
I am therefore suggesting that the Registrar convene a committee to be composed of himself and two members of the Education faculty, including one of my choosing. I am willing to submit a written outline of my claim to the committee, including copies of all relevant supporting documents. The professor whose grade I am appealing should be a party to the hearing.
Please give this matter your most serious consideration.
Marty Green

The weeks drag into months.

October turned into November, and still the University was not responding to my requests for the return of personal property and marked assignments. Finally, the Registrar arranged a meeting for Friday Nov. 9th where I would identify the property. The meeting took place, and at that time he also handed over to me two of the three outstanding assignments.

Then I waited for the property to be delivered. A week later I thought a gentle reminder might be in order:
Thank you for returning the two marked assignments I have been asking for since last January. I am however baffled at the failure of the University to return the private property which I identified for the Registrar last Friday, and which he undertook to have returned to me. I do not understand why there seems to be a problem with the delivery. 
I am even more baffled by the failure of Professor Metz to mark the final assignment which I completed in January at a time when I was still a student in good standing of the Faculty of Education. I understand Professor Metz had claimed that the assignment was incomplete; I have already indicated that he was mistaken, and have further indicated that I am able to provide proof to that effect if the University wishes to examine my email outbox. In any case, Professor Metz has since been provided with the allegedly missing portion of the assignment, and I do not understand why he continues to refuse to mark it.

And then I waited. The University ignored me. So I wrote again:

Another week has passed with no reply from the University to my request for the return of personal property. I cannot imagine why the University would not simply follow through on the undertaking which they gave me to have the property returned.
I also await the return of my marked assignment from Professor Metz.

If you thought they would respond to that, you would be wrong. A week later I wrote again:

The weeks drag on into months and still the University has not followed through on its undertaking to return my personal property, nor have you provided any explanation for your inaction on this matter, despite repeated requests. I would also remind you that there also is an outstanding assignment for which I am owed a grade, either passing or failing depending on Professor Metz's intentions. It is not acceptable to me that he simply refuses to enter a grade in the record. If he maintains (agaist all evidence to the contrary) that the assignment was not completed, he owes me a failing grade.

It seems that the University is simply choosing to ignore my correspondence on these matters. I do not understand the thinking behind this strategy, but if that is your choice,

I will proceed accordingly.

Marty Green
At last the Registrar responded:

Sorry for the delay on the items of property, Marty. Please let me know if you would like to come to campus to pick up the items you identified, or if you would like me to have them couriered to your home.

Regarding the outstanding assignment, it is the University's position that as you have been withdrawn from the course in question, no further evaluation will be provided. It is unfortunate that there is a disagreement over whether or not the written piece was submitted, but it is general practice not to continue with any evaluation after a student has withdrawn or been withdrawn from a course.


No, Colin, I wasn't going to pick them up. I'm barred from the campus, remember? In the end he had them delivered. But in the meantime he had decided on a new reason not to mark my final assignment. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

In Which I Call Don Metz A Liar

It was now October, ten months after I had been expelled, and apart from my legal case, I still had three little mini-battles going on with the University:

1. My appeal of the failing grade on Prof. Bush's Chemistry Project.
2. The return of personal property.
3. The return of three marked assignments.

On Item 3, the registrar told me he was ready to return two of the assignments, but:
"Professor Metz says that the written portion of Assignment #5 was not submitted; the evaluation of that assignment was not completed. He does not know where the bulletin board portion would be that you did submit, since it was not picked up while you were still on campus in Fall term classes. Professor Metz did not assign any projects, and he does not know what you are referring to by "a couple of projects in [his] classroom."
 So Professor Metz was claiming I never handed in the writeup? I replied immediately to the Registrar:

My WIndows Live Mail "Sent Items" folder shows that the written portion of Ass't 5 was mailed to Professor Metz on January 11th. I am now re-forwarding that email to Prof. Metz. I would like the assignment marked.
 But there was more. I re-read the letter from the Registrar and realized that in the space of one very short paragraph, Metz had made no less than three provable misrepresentations. I wrote back to the Registrar, describing them in detail and listing them:

1. Contrary to his assertion, the written portion of Ass't 5. was emailed to him on January 11th.
2. Contrary to his assertion, there were various projects assigned us through the term, including the two which I would like returned.
 3. Contrary to his assertion, the Bulletin Board project was submitted in the first week of the winter term, not in the fall term.
 Then I concluded as follows:
In view of the number of errors made by Professor Metz in such a short space, I wonder if you would want to reconsider the reliability of the information you used in deciding to expel me from the Education program, in light of the fact that much of that information came from this same Prof. Metz.

The written accusations submitted against me by Metz a year ago had been riddled with lies, but I had never been given the chance to refute them because the University refused to disclose them to me until it was too late. And once I did get them in writing, I learned that Metz and the university had taken care to protect those lies behind the legal umbrella of "absolute privilege". I was apparently left with no recourse.

As for my documentation of Metz's three misrepresentations in one paragraph, the University made no further response. In fact, they decided to let the whole matter drop, including the issue of the personal property and the assignments they had already agreed to return (not to mention the grade appeal). Eight days later I decided to press the matter again:

I am still baffled by the University's lack of initiative in making arrangements to return my personal property. When we last corresponded a week ago, I suggested the University arrange for a mutually satisfactory time when I could come to campus and identify the property in question. Since then I have heard nothing further. I wonder what your intentions are in this regard?
I would also remind you of the three outstanding assignments, two of which you have undertaken to return but which I still have not received, and the third which Professor Metz ought to have finished marking by now.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The University Stonewalls on Return of Property

Despite my appeal to over 200 professors to forward my request to "whomever it might concern", I heard nothing back from the Board of Regents. So on October 10th I sent the following email to Colin Russell:

I wish to be informed of any rights I may have to appeal this decision.
Russell replied the same day with the following information:
Hi Marty,
There is no appeal process beyond the Departmental Review Committee regarding the content of the appeal, as nobody outside the Department has the expertise to evaluate work in that discipline. However, further appeal is possible to the Senate Appeals Committee on procedural grounds, if the appellant believes that there was error in process on the part of the Departmental Review Committee.
So it seems it was the Senate, and not the Board of Regents, tho whom  I ought to have been directing my requests.  Mr. Russell apparently did not feel any urge to tell me how I might contact the Senate Committee, as he provided me with no contact information. Furthermore, surely there were members of the Senate among the 200 professors to whom I broadcast my appeal. But none of them chose to respond to it. So I was back where I started.
In the meantime there was one other small matter to take care of: the return of personal property and marked assignments still held by the University since my expulsion. I had been asking for their return repeatedly over the course of 2012 to no effect.  And I wanted this taken care of. So I decided to put the appeal on hold temporarily while I took care of this. On October 11th I wrote the University as follows:
It is hard for me to understand why the return of my personal property
continues to be a problem. While Mr. Corlett indicated willingness last year
to have it returned to me (see below), subsequent inquiries on my part were
ignored. I would think someone ought to take care of this.

From: "John Corlett" <>
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 1:27 PM
To: "Marty Green" <>; "Colin Russell"
<>; "John Anchan" <>; "James
Currie" <>; "Ken McCluskey" <>;
"Lloyd Axworthy" <>
Cc: "Debra Woloshyn" <>; "Jeremy Read"
Subject: Re: Non-Academic Misconduct Report

> Hello, Mr Green. If you identify for me what personal property you have on
> campus and where it is, I will work with whomever is best positioned to
> assist in transferring it to you.  
It was over a week before they responded to this. It was again Colin Russell who responded, and he reported to me that there was some confusion as to what was owing me:
Hello Marty,
We have assignment #1 from Professor Soiferman and assignment #3 from Professor Metz to return to you. Professor Metz says that the written portion of Assignment #5 was not submitted; the evaluation of that assignment was not completed. He does not know where the bulletin board portion would be that you did submit, since it was not picked up while you were still on campus in Fall term classes. Professor Metz did not assign any projects, and he does not know what you are referring to by "a couple of projects in [his] classroom." Can you clarify that?
So Professor Metz was claiming the final assignment was never completed.  This was getting interesting.

I attempt to get the ear of the Board

Here is the letter I broadcast to the U of W profs in an attempt to get the Board of Regents to hear my grade appeal:


Some of you may have noticed that a student from the Faculty of Education is suing the university. I am in fact that student, and I am seeking your assistance on a small matter. Prior to my expulsion from the program, I was given low or failing grades on a number of assignments. I made a formal appeal of what I considered the most egregious case of unfair marking, and that appeal was recently rejected by the Departmental Committee. I believe it is my right to make a further appeal to the Board of Regents; however, several previous attempts on my part to reach that body were ignored during the course of the procedings against me over the last winter.
I do not have contact information for members of the board other than the Chairman Craig Lee, who has not responded to my earlier correspondence. I feel that there might be other members of the board who would be interested hear my case, if only I could reach them. I have no illusion that they would be sympathetic to me; I simply feel they might find it prudent to know what kind of fight they are being dragged into by the University administration as the litigation proceeds. I am therefore making a general appeal to people within the university community to pass this message on to whomever it may concern.
The work in question was a collection of lesson plans for teaching science, assigned us by Prof. George Bush for 30% of our grade. I was given a mark of 40%. I think you know that’s a pretty low mark in Education. It tells me that based on the work I handed in I am not qualified to teach in the schools. In fact, I am very proud of what I did on the assignment, which I have posted on the internet for your information. I wish to argue before the Board of Regents that I was lowballed not because of the quality of my work but because the instructor simply felt that I was a troublemaker who needed to be put in his place. The low mark was especially punitive in my case because other people did it in groups of three, whereas I had to do the same amount of work all on my own; this was because having been identified as a troublemaker by the instructor, other students were unwilling to jeopardize their own grades by working with me.
I hope you will want to read my project, which you can find here:
If you choose to read it, I should explain how it came about. We were asked to prepare a lesson cycle consisting of three lessons in Science. During a class discussion, the professor and I had disagreed as to whether it might be reasonable to begin the Grade Eleven Chemistry course with an introduction to the concept of moles. I argued that it could be done, and the professor argued the opposite. He became in fact quite snippy, and attempted to cut off the discussion by observing that I “obviously knew very little about chemistry”. (I was a double major in Physics and Math.) I therefore decided I would use this assignment to show just how I would teach Grade Eleven by starting with the mole. I think I did a pretty good job, and I think that offended the professor. I don’t think it helped my case that I identified an embarassing error in one of the experiments in the Manitoba Curriculum guide, of which Professor Bush was one of the authors.
Finally, I hope you will appreciate that I have no definite plans to carry on an email campaign with regard to these matters, but in the event that I have further information which I may wish to communicate, you can have yourself removed from this distribution by so requesting via return email. You can also learn more about the present conflict by following my blog at

How do you appeal an appeal?

I promised I'd explain to you the difference between a Motion to Strike and a Motion for Summary Judgement. I actually wrote it up and posted it, but then I decided that maybe I ought to take it down until I see the Brief of opposing counsel on the motion. Just in case I inadvertently tip my hand.

In the meantime there's a bit of a sideshow that's getting more and more interesting. I told you last year that Professor Bush gave me an F on the final assignment of the course, and I wrote the Registrar (as per the regulations) notifying him of my intention to appeal. The Registrar came back with some procedural reasons as to why the appeal was premature.

Over the following months, as the expulsion process moved forward, I wrote the University on numerous occasions asking to have my grade appeal heard. In June the Registrar finally agreed to submit my appeal to the Departmental Review Committee (DRC). (By then I had long since been expelled from the University.) It wasn't until October that the DRC, after much prodding, finally notified me of their findings. Not surprisingly, they rejected my appeal.

There is one more level of appeal. A student has a right to appeal to the Board of Regents. I had already attempted that avenue with regard to my expulsion. But despite my best attempts to contact the Board, all my letters over the spring and summer had simply been ignored. I had the email address of the Chairman, Craig Lee, and on one occasion he acknowledged receipt but made no further response.  I also copied my correspondence to the Corporate Office with no effect. Obviously, sending emails to the Board of Regents was not working.

If the Board was ignoring my right to appeal the expulsion, how how was I going to get them to pay attention to a mere grade appeal? I decided that someone within the University community must know how it was done, and since I wasn't getting any response from official channels, I would just broadcast an email to as many professors as possible. And that's what I did on October 9th and 10th.

You can read my email in the next blog entry.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Which comes first...the affidavit or the brief?

When I told you about my Motion for Exclusion last month, I gave my readers a little mini-tutorial in Motions, Affidavits, and Briefs. So when the University filed it's Motion for Summary Judgement last week, I thought I knew what was coming next. They would file their Affidavit and their Brief, and then I would file mine in response. It didn't exactly work out that way.

When we went to court on Wednesday, the University had already filed their Affidavit. (We'll get to that later). I told the Master I wanted him to ask them to file their Brief as soon as possible, so I could prepare my response and get the process moving forward. I also told the judge I thought the motion was just a delaying tactic to interfere with my rights to proceed with discovery, but that argument fell on deaf ears. What really took me by surprise was when the Master told me I had to file my Affidavit before they filed their brief.

This was a surprise to me. When I filed my motion, I had put everything together...motion, affidavit, and brief...well before our court date, so the opposing parties would be able to respond promptly. They asked for two weeks and got it, and in fact filed their brief accordingly. Oddly enough, though I didn't notice it at the time, there was no Affidavit with their filing. I guess that means they don't intend to rely on any documentary evidence in arguing their case. We'll see how that works out.

But back to their motion. I thought I had the right to see their whole argument before I had to produce my counterargument, but apparently I have to file my Affidavit before I get to see their brief. This would be alright if I knew what their case was. They're pretty explicit in their Motion about the legal grounds for dismissal, and that doesn't worry me. What gets me is their ambiguous Paragraph 8, which reads, "In the alternative, the tort of conspiracy does not apply to the Defendants in these circumstances. (Italics mine.) What circumstances do they mean? We can get a clue by looking at their Affidavit, which I've posted online.

Their Affidavit basically walks through all the proceedings against me with regard to Non-Academic Misconduct. In addition to the Affidavit as posted, their are numerous attachments which consist of further details of the proceedings.

What does it mean? It seems to suggest a disturbing prospect that I may end up having to argue the evidence of the case in the form of a little mini-trial to decide the motion. How can this be? Don't I have the right to argue the evidence at the actual trial?

Not necessarily. It comes down to the difference between a Motion to Strike and a Motion for Summary Judgement. It's a distinction I wasn't aware of until I started preparing my response to the present motion, but it's critical to the case. I'll talk more about it when we return.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The University Files for Summary Judgement

Mr. Meronek was as good as his word. The promised motion arrived at the beginning of this week, and it was a motion for summary judgement, which means the Court was being asked to rule that I had no reasonable prospect of winning my case. You can view his entire motion by clicking here.

To summarize, Mr. Meronek refers to several sections from the University of Winnipeg Act which he interprets to mean that the University and its officers not only have exclusive power to exercise internal disciplinary jurisdiction without interference from the courts in all matters concerning students, but are in addition exempt from any kind of civil action related to matters of this kind. In particular, he relies on section 12(2)(d) and 34(2). You can read those sections in the Act by going to the link I've included at the start of this paragraph.

Mr. Meronek concludes his motion by asking for summary judgement on the basis that that since "the tort of Conspiracy to Injure does not apply to the Defendants in these circumstances (....) there is no genuine issue for trial (...and...) the Plaintiff's case is bound to fail."

We'll see how that works out.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

John Corlett for the University of Winnipeg

I guess I got a little behind in my reporting. I'm looking back and I just noticed that I haven't told you about my Notice of Examination of John Corlett.

I told you at the end of November that I served Notices of Examination on all the co-defendants, without naming a time and place. That's because I just wanted to establish priority. The party who serves first is the one who gets to examine first. But opposing counsel never responded to my notices.

So when I served them with my Motion for Exclusion of parties, I also served them with a fresh Notice of Examination. This one wasn't general purpose: I named a specific party and a specific date. I asked them to present John Corlett on behalf of the University of Winnipeg.

John Corlett was Vice-president Academic during the events of last winter, and he was the one who told me I wouldn't be allowed to appeal the trespassing order. He was also the one who told me the University would refund my tuition fees if I agreed to withdraw from the program.  But he is not named as a party in my Statement of Claim.

According to the rules of discovery, I am entitled to examine each named defendant; but I am also entitled to examine a representative of the corporate defendant, namely the University of Winnipeg. Oddly enough, I am the one who is entitled to name the person who shall represent the University, and I am allowed to choose any officer of the organization, past or present. I chose Mr. Corlett.

Opposing counsel did not respond to my Notice of Examination, nor did they respond to several follow-up emails where I mentioned the pending examination. Not until this last Friday, eleven days before the scheduled examination. In the same letter where Mr. Meronek announced he would be filing his own motion, a motion which he said would take priority over mine which was already filed, he also informed me that he would not be presenting Mr. Corlett for discovery.

It seems Mr. Corlett does not work at the University any more. It is therefore not surprising that they do not wany me examining him on their behalf. Nevertheless I appear to be entitled to do just that under the Court of Queen's Bench Rules. We'll have to see how this works out.