In the October 2 issue of the Gazette you gave excerpts from an
adjudicator's decision in the dismissal case of Professor Adrian
Having read the full report with care, I give my verdict: the report
is seriously flawed and its conclusions should be rejected by every
fair-minded member of the university community.
The flaws include so many errors of both fact and reasoning that I
cannot possibly enumerate all of them. I restrict myself to listing
ten points below.
1. On page 34 of the report the adjudicator claims that Bondy took a
position at both universities "knowing full well that that would be
unacceptable to either of them". Yet no evidence is adduced by the
adjudicator that the Bondy's action was unacceptable to Universite
Claude-Bernard Lyon 1. To the contrary, I have in my possession an
e-mail message dated September 25 1995 from Bondy's supervisor at Lyon,
Maurice Pouzet, director of the Laboratory for Discrete Mathematics at
Universite Claude-Bernard Lyon 1. Pouzet expresses his dismay that
Lyon's attempts to hire Bondy would have resulted in such a quagmire.
Pouzet emphasizes that Bondy has a reputation for "total integrity"
among his professional peers, and his "behavior of the past year at
Lyon has only confirmed this reputation" [my translation from the
French]. This letter is not mentioned by the adjudicator.
2. On page 46, the adjudicator claims that Bondy's absences "well
exceeded the norm to be expected of a tenured professor", yet no
evidence is adduced to support this claim. No statistics are presented
to demonstrate that Bondy's absences were substantially greater than
those of other tenured professors. No standards for these absences
were codified in policy at the time. In fact, many tenured professors
at other North American universities are absent for large portions
of the year, pursuing research opportunities elsewhere. Most
universities recognize that permitting professors to pursue research
at other institutions increases the visibility and reputation of the
home institution. Even at Waterloo, professors in some fields are
often away for nearly the entire summer doing field work.
3. Also on page 46, the adjudicator claims that Bondy's treatment by
the university was "...generous, perhaps to a fault, and thoroughly
understanding of his personal circumstances." Yet the evidence
presented in the adjudicator's own report shows precisely the
* Bondy's annual evaluation by Chair Colbourn was so harsh that
it even had to be revised by the Dean (pp. 11-12).
* Bondy's request for a half-sabbatical was denied (page 7),
and even the Faculty Grievance committee concluded this
"outright refusal was too harsh" (pages 12 and 14).
* Bondy's request for a part-time appointment and the
possibility of early retirement was denied by the Dean (page
* Bondy's request for a leave without pay was denied (pages 23
It defies reason to call this "generous" behaviour.
4. On the question of fairness and equal treatment, the adjudicator,
summarizing the argument of Bondy's lawyer, notes that Chair Colbourn
"who is now in the process of leaving the University, is taking a
sabbatical leave in his last term" (page 41). The adjudicator fails to
note explicitly the *entire point* of the lawyer's argument, which is that
such an arrangement would be in flagrant violation of Policy 3, which
reads, "A faculty member who is granted a sabbatical or other leave is
expected to return to duties in the University for at least one
year... Unless there is a reasonable expectation of return, sabbatical
leave will not be granted."
If Bondy's lawyer is correct about the details of Prof. Colbourn's
leave arrangements, then this apparent policy violation needs to be
5. The adjudicator often speaks of Bondy's state of mind in a
disparaging manner. For example, he decries Bondy's "adversarial turn
of mind and self-serving attitude" (page 48). Yet the clear evidence
of an adversarial turn of mind on the part of administrators does not
receive any similar criticism.
6. With respect to Bondy's request for parental leave, the adjudicator
calls the interpretation (which seems likely and reasonable to me) that
Bondy learned of his right to do so at the last minute "simply
implausible" (page 54). But no evidence is presented in support of
this claim. The alternate explanation advanced by the adjudicator --
that Bondy delayed his request until the last minute only as part of a
Machiavellian ploy in order to fulfill his responsibilities at Lyon --
is not supported by the evidence. The adjudicator even contradicts
himself on page 54 when he claims Bondy "had no intention to use his
parental leave to be freed from work to stay at home with his child".
But on page 53 the adjudicator agrees that that Bondy's intention was
to return "to Paris to be with his wife and child on weekends".
Without being freed from work *at Waterloo*, how could Bondy possibly
have spent weekends in Paris with his child?
7. With respect to the discussion (page 58) of the omission of the
word "primarily" by Bondy in his letter to the President Downey (page22),
I find the adjudicator's claim that the word "primarily" was a
"critical qualifying word" unsupported. The entire point of this
paragraph of Bondy's letter is evidently in support of the claim that
the particular details of how Bondy should spend his partial leave
terms, other than to pursue research, were not spelled out. The word
"primarily" means "for the most part", i.e. more than 50%. The
adjudicator has not presented any evidence that Bondy did not engage in
research for more than 50% of his time in France. It is difficult to
explain the adjudicator's failure to consider the number of hours
required for Bondy to fulfill his teaching responsibilities at Lyon.
8. The adjudicator chooses a very strange interpretation of the phrase
"of such a serious nature as to render the faculty member clearly unfit
to hold a tenured appointment". He claims without justification (page
62) that "normal cannons [sic] of construction would suggest that what
is contemplated is that the unethical behaviour of the professor in
question be of such a serious nature as to render that faculty member
`clearly unfit to hold a tenured appointment' AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
WATERLOO" (emphasis mine). No supporting evidence is provided for
choosing this interpretation.
9. The adjudicator does not give sufficient reason to believe that
Bondy's failure to inform his superiors that he had taken a paid
position elsewhere merits the harshest
possible penalty, the so-called "capital punishment" of labour
relations -- dismissal. In the Gazette of October 16, we learn of
a professor at Tornto who "misused research funds and billed for
services not rendered". His academic penalty? Repayment of the
funds and a one-month suspension!
10. The report, and the fact that the decision was released on April 25,
while the report itself was not submitted until September 16, give
the strong impression of an author who made his decision first and then
assembled a case in support of that decision.
Furthermore, Policy 53 clearly states that "The [adjudicator's]
decision AND reasons shall be provided to the University and to the
faculty member with a reasonable time, not to exceed two months from
the close of the hearing." (Emphasis and insertion mine.) The last
hearing was on February 3, so the adjudicator took more than seven
months to complete what was mandated in two. What will be done
about *this* violation of policy?