The outcome of arbitration between a professor who ran a controversial activism course and the University of Ottawa has implications for academic freedom, the man’s lawyer said yesterday.


Professor Denis Rancourt is asking an arbitrator to cancel disciplinary actions against him by the University of Ottawa in connection with a science course he redesigned into a course on activism.


“A professor has a right … (to) structure teaching in a manner he believes will advance the interests of academic pursuit,” said his lawyer, Sean McGee.


When Rancourt changed his physics course, Christian Detellier, then-dean of the Faculty of Science, said the changes violated the Senate-approved course description.


“To us the most important change was the focus,” university counsel Michelle Flaherty said.

But McGee argued that the science being taught was essentially unchanged, though the delivery was different.