Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Re: The thought monopoly of Academia

Dane's right on the money. Seriously, this is what passes for subversive material on a Canadian university campus:


(h/t Andrew Potter)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on September 10, 2009 in Campus watch, Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

The thought monopoly of Academia

This short and sweet post by Big Blue Wave got me thinking about the unfortunate ruling of academia by the left, and the stifling effects on the diversity of thought. Many times I have made posters and fliers asking for the help of students to create a conservative society at my university, but in the end didn't post them up as I had hoped. It's not that I'm particularly lazy or apathetic, but the pointlessness of even trying to promote conservatism at a university always gets to me.

I can't say for certain, but I honestly believe if I posted conservative related fliers around campus, they would be torn down in no time. Although it would be the students doing it, I guarantee no professor would stop it. That being said, posting more controversial things such as anti-abortion fliers would create a lot more fuss than I care for (I don't feel like getting expelled, or my genitals cut off by the feminists for that matter). I can honestly say I haven't ever seen a flier even resembling being written by a conservative. Even pro-Israel posters don't exist at my school, although pro-Palestine posters are everywhere. Surprised? Me neither.

At the society expo this year, the only political group that bothered with it was the Young New Democrats. I've never seen or heard of any conservative society at SMU (and this is my third year), so it wasn't a surprise to not see the PC Party or the federal Conservative Party being represented. Students aren't even into the Liberals that much apparently, as they weren't there this year either. To me this furthers my belief that the only political activists that are able to voice their ideals without persecution is the far-left; even the centre-left seems to have given up. As Big Blue Wave pointed out, to the elite of academia, being "educated" equals believing in the dogma of the left: progressivism.

Of course, progressivism includes the belief that the environment is superior to humanity, that abortion is the greatest thing since sliced bread, that Islam is the greatest religion, and that mediocrity should be strived for, among other things.

In an institution meant to educate people, no one wants to seem "uneducated", so no one wants to be conservative. It's a ridiculous statement that somehow still rings true in my head, but I guess that shouldn't surprise anyone - I'm "uneducated" after all.

For those who share my thoughts, I suggest watching the wonderful documentary called "Indoctrinate U". The film explores the strange thought-monopoly that has been plaguing our universities and colleges and I have to say, it's very well done and very thought provoking. Check it out!

[Cross-posted at The Right Coast]

Posted by Dane Richard on September 10, 2009 in Campus watch | Permalink | Comments (17)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Only the right kind of discrimination please

The University of Saskatchewan got on its high horse this week and rejected a $500,000 gift to establish a new scholarship. A university turning down money? Turns out the donor wanted to endow a scholarship that only went to non-aboriginal students.

Now I know a lot of people will argue that given how many scholarships are open only to women and minorities and that the group that has the hardest time getting one these days is white males. (Edited for clarity - SM)

Me? While I support the right of people to do whatever they want with their money -- and the donor can set up an off-campus bursary that will shell out money to whomever they want -- I'm of the opinion that universities shouldn't be discriminating in favour of anyone except the best and the brightest, regardless of race, gender, creed or religion. I'm old fashioned that way.

So yeah, the university is hypocritical by lamely defending their race and gender-based scholarships but the answer isn't to increase discrimination.

Posted by Steve Martinovich on May 13, 2009 in Aboriginal Issues, Campus watch | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Campus Conservative conspire to be conservative

I served on the Campus wing of the PCPO’s executive for three years. I found it to be a rewarding and often amusing experience. Amusing because every once in a while some loon would attack us with crazy accusations and innuendo. The past week has really made me miss the time I spent with the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association (OPCCA). The Ryerson Free Press, known for its journalistic standards, released what can only be described as an attack article.

Here are some samples of the author’s stupidity (the author is listed as ‘admin.’ Obviously whoever wrote it is too embarrassed to put their name on it):

At a session held in early February by the Ontario Progressive Campus Conservative Association...discussed strategies to gain funding from student unions for the Conservative Party and ways to run for—and win—positions within student unions.

Gain funding for the Conservative Party? From student governments? Conservative campus clubs get the same funding from student governments as every other club, including the Liberals and the NDP. Besides the Conservatives are by far the richest party, why the hell would they launder money from a student government? That is just idiotic.

Also, young political activists talking about how to win positions on student government? That is outrages. How dare these youngsters wish to be involved in campus politics! Don’t they know that they must either be communist or apathetic?

The leaked materials were posted on WikiLeaks.org over the weekend and add to the growing body of evidence that the Conservative Party has a strategy for interfering in campus student unions.

It should be noted at this point that OPCCA and the Conservative Party have no relation to each other. Throughout this article every time that they say ‘Conservative Party’ they really mean OPCCA. And yes there is evidence that OPCCA has a strategy for interfering in campus student governments. Mainly the evidence involves them saying so repeatedly in public for the last twenty years. But I am interested in what evidence this ‘newspaper’ has to offer.

In early 2002, the campus press first learned of a secret Millennium Leadership Fund that the party’s campus wing used to fund candidates in student union elections.

Yes the secret Millennium Leadership Fund that was written into the constitution that is publically available. I say was written because it was removed a couple of years ago. It was removed (by my initiative) because the MLF hasn’t actually existed in nearly a decade. So it was a publicly published secret that didn’t actually exist that was revealed seven years ago. Great evidence there Sherlock, I’m sure you could have found something better than that. Like maybe look at the OPCCA mission statement.

Also the Conservative Party didn’t exist in 2002, so how can this be evidence that they had a strategy for anything? The writer’s inability to separate OPCCA from the CPC demonstrates the single minded stupidity of...well of the sort of person that would write an article like this.

My Favourite part of the article is this:

Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario was surprised when told of the leaked strategy. “Campus students’ unions are there to represent students and should be free from the partisan interference of federal and provincial parties,”

Really? Should we take a second and investigate the relationship between CFS and the NDP. Truly the ability of these people to say things like this marvel me to no end.

Through all the innuendo and paranoia, this article has one piece of news in it. Young conservative activists plan on being actively conservative in youth politics. Well done Ryerson Free Press.

(original article and OPCCA response)

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 19, 2009 in Campus watch | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

University of Calgary Campus Pro-Life student club loses its status

According to the Calgary Herald:

After a hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes Tuesday, the U of C's clubs committee decided to de-sanction the Campus Pro-Life club because its Genocide Awareness Project violated policy in November.

"This action is a disturbing abuse of power," said club vice-president Cameron Wilson. "It is an abuse of power when the body elected to protect us heaps further oppression upon us."

Without students' union sanctioning, the Campus Pro-Life club will lose privileges such as the use of meeting rooms, the ability to borrow equipment and some funding.

During Tuesday's hearing, pro-life club secretary Asia Strezynski repeatedly asked committee chairwoman Alex Judd what policy had been violated, but the committee referred only to a bylaw that gives the students' union the right to punish a club for breaching policies.

Outside the hearing, students' union president Dalmy Baez said a letter sent to the club by the U ofCadministrationrequiring it to turn displays of images of aborted fetuses inward constituted a policy. The display juxtaposed the photos with images of murdered victims of the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide.

Baez admitted the enforcement appears to be narrowly applied.

"We have not seen that policy implemented for any other group," said Baez.

She also said the students' union, which received a copy of the letter, chose not to oppose the university policy.

"We felt the limitations stipulated in the policy were not unreasonable," she said.

"It was not an infringement on free speech."

Not an infringement of freedom of speech? That may be, but, as the Metro reports, the pro-life students have not yet dealt with the trespassing charges in court. Unless the students really are guilty of trespassing, shutting them down is a violation of their freedom of expression:

“They haven’t even provided us with a specific violation that we’ve committed,” said Alanna Campbell, pro-life group treasurer. “We were hoping our Student’s Union would stick up for their student’s rights and freedoms, but they are obviously not going to.”

Campbell confirmed the group would no longer be able to access funding.

The club plans to make an appeal to the Student’s Union within the allotted five days.

Gerald Gall, a law professor at the University of Alberta, said the Student’s Union should have waited for the court case’s verdict on Feb. 27 before making its own.

“They’re innocent until proven guilty — it’s as simple as that. They should have just been patient and waited to see what happens in the criminal process.”

Here's video from CityTV Calgary about the hearing:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 11, 2009 in Campus watch, Freedom of expression | Permalink | Comments (13)

Pro-life speaker shouted down at St. Francis Xavier University

Here's a press release I received from a friend at the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform yesterday:

Tonight at St. Francis Xavier (St. FX) University, a controversial speaker whose talk on Thursday was shouted down by a mob of abortion supporters will attempt to give the same pro-life presentation.

Last Thursday, Jojo Ruba, co-founder of the Calgary-based Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), gave a controversial speech about abortion titled, "Echoes of the Holocaust," at St. Mary's University in Halifax. A minute into his talk, a group of angry protestors chanted repeatedly, constantly interrupting the presentation, until a university official shut the talk down. Ruba was hosted by pro-life students from the school. Footage of the disruption that lasted more than 45 minutes can be seen in a series of clips on Youtube.

Here's the mob yelling "No hate speech in our school" and something about not being terrified...:

"It’s sad really. In February, we remember the civil rights activists, who peacefully spoke out for the oppressed in their society. When white racists violently protested against them, the police arrested the peaceful civil rights activists and not the racists,” said Ruba. “It’s too bad that kind of thinking still exists today.”

St. Mary University student, Joe Westin, who invited Ruba to his campus, expressed disappointment at his peers' and university's reaction: "I am appalled that the students would be so hateful and intolerant and am shocked that the university gave into mob rule," he said.

It is unknown whether those same protestors, or more, will show up at the talk at St. FX tonight. Security plans to be on site.

“I spoke to the students at St. FX last night and encouraged them to persevere, reminding them that we’re not doing anything wrong.”

The presentation has been met with such resistence because of Ruba's organization, CCBR, emphasizing that abortion is comparable to the Holocaust. CCBR’s executive director, Stephanie Gray, explained their philosophy: “If the unborn aren’t human, our comparison is wrong. But if the unborn /are/ human, then our comparison is frighteningly accurate. We’re not saying the Holocaust and abortion are identical but we are saying they are comparable: innocent human beings denied their personhood status, used for experimentation, treated as objects, legally killed in centres designed to terminate their lives, and disposed of like waste.”

Ruba hopes to get a chance to make this case, uninterrupted, at his presentation tonight. “We welcome those who disagree to attend, ask questions, and express their point of view, but simply request that they do so in a civilized manner at the end of the presentation."

I will provide an update on whether or not the event went off without people screaming and interrupting as soon as I hear from Nicholas.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 11, 2009 in Campus watch | Permalink | Comments (9)

Monday, February 02, 2009

University of Calgary brings trespassing charges against anti-abortion group members

The saga of the University of Calgary administration's attack on the expression of a campus anti-abortion group continues. Three student members Two students and one other member of the group have been charged with trespassing, which carries a maximum fine of $2000. The Calgary Sun reports:

Representatives from the Campus Pro-Life club say three of the court orders have been issued by police so far, and three other club members are anticipating similar charges to be filed against them.

The accusation of trespassing comes after a conflict with university officials, who took issue with graphic signs displayed by the pro-lifers at demonstrations on November 26 and 27, where abortion was equated with genocide.

The charges were expected — university officials at the time said they would ask the Calgary Police Service, “to issue the appropriate summonses to the individuals ignoring the notice of trespass or to take other appropriate steps.”

Part of the "Genocide Awareness Program," the graphic signs which have photographs of aborted fetuses and victims of the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide can be viewed here. Leah Hallman, president of Campus Pro-Life, believes the university is applying a double standard and targeting the group for their political opinions. She told the National Post that she believes the administration:

...endorses a prejudice against anti-abortion groups by regularly permitting graphic images to be displayed for some causes -- in November, another, nearby exhibit displayed upsetting photographs of Falun Gong members allegedly tortured by Chinese authorities -- while prohibiting images of abortion.

John Carpay, executive director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation and #11 on the Liberty 100, the Western Standard’s ranking of Canadians who made a contribution to economic or personal liberty in 2008, agrees and will continue to provide legal advice and representation to the students:

“These students have paid their tuition fees, and they have the same right as everybody else to express their views,” said Carpay.

“What the university is doing is censoring one viewpoint that they disagree with.”

Carpay said the Canadian Constitution Foundation is offering the students free legal service, not because of their abortion stance, but because the university is denying them freedom to express that stance.

Following the latest developments, Hallman made an impassioned speech on the steps of the university library, framing the group's defiance as a struggle against censorship and a defense of Canada's liberal traditions:

"The road to the liberty we enjoy in Canada was long and fraught with deadly peril. Many brave men and woman took it upon themselves to bear upward the sacred torch of freedom to greater heights... Once more, Canada faces a challenge to test her commitment to the ideals upon which she was founded, and upon which her society now stands."

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 2, 2009 in Campus watch | Permalink | Comments (15)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

CUPE: Ban Israeli academics

This is unbelievable, but true.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees' (CUPE) Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee, is attempting to push through a proposal to ban Israeli academics from teaching or lecturing in Ontario universities.

So, for example, if you happen to be born in Israel, and decided to pursue an academic career with a focus on, say, the mating habits of frogs, or modern dance, or children's psychology, you would, should this proposal pass, have to make a political proclamation. Namely, you would have to declare that you are not now, nor ever have been, a member of the Communist Party of Israel you oppose and condemn the bombing of the Islamic University in Gaza, and the attacks on Gaza in general.

I don't really care what your view on the current conflict happens to be, this proposal by CUPE is so beyond the pale as to warrant requests for Sid Ryan's, and the entire university worker's union executive's, resignation. Whoever is responsible for this proposal needs to be fired. Immediately.

Demonstrating utter disrespect for academic freedom, academic integrity, and for the freedom of conscience of academics while claiming to represent academics at universities. Can you wrap your head around those two things? Because I can't. It seems pretty simple to me: Either you defend academic freedom, or you do not deserve to be called the representatives of those of us who choose to pursue higher education as a profession.

But why limit yourselves to Israeli academics, dear, sweet thought police? Why not demand oaths of allegiance to your preferred viewpoint from Americans, Canadians and, frankly, the world entire? If failing to condemn the attacks on Gaza is so important, why should those of us who happen to be born in Canada or the U.S. not have to recite your pledge of allegiance to official CUPE-approved thoughts and moral attitudes? 

According to the article:

The resolution is still being drafted but the union said it will seek to prohibit Israeli academics from speaking, teaching or researching at Ontario universities. The CUPE committee will distribute the resolution to its members at the end of the month.

It will be put to a vote at the committee's annual conference in February.

Janice Folk-Dawson, chairwoman of the university workers committte, said: "Clearly international pressure on Israel must increase to stop the massacre that is going on daily. We are proud to add CUPE voices to others from around the world saying enough is enough."

Ms. Folk-Dawson said the committee felt it was crucial to do something.

Got that? It was "crucial to do something," so they decided that a proposal to have Israeli academics recite some pledge (or whatever) is a good idea.

Meanwhile, irony totally escapes Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario: "Mr. Ryan said the resolution was a reasonable response to Israel's attack on the Islamic University, which he likened to the torching of books by Nazis during the Second World War." Right. What shall we liken your proposal to, Mr. Ryan? Because I'm tempted to run the same argumentum ad Nazium against this proposal...

The short of it is this: Efforts to have academics swear to some or another view is a violation of their academic freedom, and should be resisted.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 7, 2009 in Campus watch | Permalink | Comments (12)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Carleton University's politically correct racists embarrassed into reversing decision

Here's a press release from Carleton University's Reagan-Goldwater Society which gives you a sense of the intellectual climate in the student government of one Canadian University:

OTTAWA – The RGS is calling on CUSA President Smyth to request the resignation of councillors Northrop and Chander.  

On Monday November 24th a motion championed by Donnie Northrup and Seconded by Merra Chander was tabled asking for revoke the traditional support of Cystic Fibrosis through Shinerama events. Their claim was that “white males” were disproportionately affected by CF and CUSA needed to be more diversified in supporting charities during orientation week.

The RGS recognizes that charity involvement is a crucial aspect of Canadian society. RGS President Scott Gorry had this to say “The more important issue is that CUSA has discriminated a segment of the population and showed no remorse for their actions, they have caused international shame to Carleton and are acting as if discrimination is acceptable. This is not acceptable and action needs to be taken swiftly to correct this.”

Here is the text of the resolution from CUSA (the student government) to end participation in Shinerama, a national fundraising event for cystic fibrosis research:

Motion to drop Shinerama fundraising campaign from Orientation Week

Whereas Orientation Week strives to be inclusive as possible;

Whereas all orientees and volunteers should feel like their fundraising efforts will serve their diverse communities;

And whereas cystic fibrosis has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men;

Be it further resolved that: The CUSA representatives on the incoming Orientation Supervisory Board work to select a new broad reaching charity for orientation week.

The outrage from Canadians over this misinformed racism was reflected in newspaper editorial pages and calls to radio talk shows across the country but also by Carleton students. Nevertheless the damage has been done, the initial defense of the bizarre resolution by CUSA has maligned the reputation of Carleton University as a whole.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that the two councillors have been forced to resign and CUSA has reversed the motion:

Public outcry against the decision, both on campus and around the country, pressured the student association to reconsider its previous decision and convene an emergency meeting.

Two of the councillors involved in drawing up and approving the motion resigned their seats at the boisterous meeting Monday.

Petitions calling for the impeachment of council president Brittany Smyth and other council members were tabled.

Michael Monks, the councillor representing business students, said Monday night's decision puts the council back in line with the will of the student body.

"The students spoke and we listened," he said.

In other campus political correctness news, the administration of the University of Calgary has backed down after taking legal action and threatening arrests for students from the "Campus Pro-Life" group for displaying graphic images comparing abortion to genocide.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on December 2, 2008 in Campus watch | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack