Given that I am a retired academic, having spent a good part of my life in a university environment (first as an administrative assistant, then as a student and lastly as a professor), I find it very difficult to use the word “rot.” Yet, rot is what it is because it is eroding the very foundations that universities were built — independence of thought and freedom of expression. Meaning, that what claims to be progressive thought is, in fact, repressive thought.
Meaning, it is long past time that university administrators, deans and department chairs woke up to what is happening in their environment. In other words, if they are ignoring, encouraging, condoning or turning a blind eye to Canadian Federation of Student (CFS) tactics, they are in effect, collaborators.
An exaggeration? Not at all. Remember, it was not that long ago that those of us who studied and taught in a university context, claimed to value independence of thought and a wide variety of philosophical and political views. It was always well known, for example, that I was a “progressive conservative.” Yet, I (and other colleagues who were of the same worldview) were never treated unfairly or with any disrespect.
Now, however, it seems if a student dares to say the are a “conservative,” they are shunned and dismissed as red neck dinosaurs and irrelevant. Is that what tenure has done? Is that what compulsory student union fees have done? Simply ensured that if you want tenure or union power, everyone must be the same in thought and deed.
Now, I am not naive. It is not news to me that university environments have gradually become intolerant of opposing views. But, when I read “Rightchik’s” post today about what went on at the (CFS) bi-annual meeting in Ottawa, I was livid. Remember, students have no choice but to pay student union dues. So, I have to ask?
- Isn’t the CFS supposed to be non-partisan?
- Isn’t the CFS supposed to represent the rights of all students?
- Doesn’t the current CFS leadership recognize the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and an individual’s right to political affiliation?
Yet, bully tactics hardly seems to describe CFS actions. I mean, it hardly needs saying that elected student members of the union should NOT be physically kept out of what was supposed to be a general meeting. The result? Their tactics of repression have seemingly gone so far to the left that they have become one and the same as the tactics of the fascist right.
Which brings me to a post I wrote about on Saturday, about university student “disengagement.” At the time, I linked it to the socialist “no-fail” policies that have permeated our elementary and secondary school systems for decades now — found in all of Canada’s provinces and territories. Now, however, I see that it is much worse than I suspected.
I mean, when it gets to the point where some university students, like those at McGill, try to deaffiliate with the CFS, or launch their own website — anonymously — you just have to know things are getting ugly out there and that change is needed and fast.