U of O Watch mission, in the words of Foucault...

"One knows … that the university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class. … It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them." -- Foucault, debating Chomsky, 1971.

U of O Watch mission, in the words of Socrates...

"An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all." -- Socrates

video of president allan rock at work

Friday, March 7, 2014

Grassroots community addresses rape culture at U of O -- U of O Watch comment

An ad hoc association of community members, union representatives, staff, and students has moved ahead and formed a campaign to address the rape culture at the University of Ottawa. It has produced eight recommendations for discussion, which are presented on its web site here:

Click image for link to web site

There is also a petition to support this discussion.

One of the organizers, Anaïs Elboujdaïni, graduate student representative on the Board of Governors of the institution,was interviewed today on Radio Canada (CBC) about this initiative.

Ms. Elboujdaïni stated that students have been asking president Allan Rock to move on this issue for a long time. For example, there has been the concrete demand for a telephone help line, and other requests.

Ms. Elboujdaïni stated that the recommendations were meant for immediate discussion in view of implementing measures before the start of the new academic year, and before initiation week, whereas Allan Rock's advisory committee can be going on in parallel and will not produce changes prior to the new academic year.

U of O Watch hopes that a broad and inclusive discussion will occur in which open criticisms of the recommendations can be heard without being excluded by insurmountable accusations of rape apologism. We hope that a discussion about effective or counter-productive aspects of the actual implementations of any recommendations can be vibrant, free, and receptive.

There is a broad criticism of the related and relevant theoretical construct known as "critical race theory" which should be heard and considered.

Rules, regulations, norms of behaviour, detecting atitudes, and so on, in view of behavioural modification, including normative modification of expression, can be highly counter productive. This is evident already in many systems of behaviour and expression suppression, such as implemented by several religions, and the state education system itself.

Therefore, less rules and more debate between individuals of differing view points is the way to go. Rules should be designed solely to limit the harmful effects of institutional oppression of the individual, not to limit individual expression and political participation.

Let us look at the best societal outcomes of the 1960s. This creative, liberating, and unifying period was the result of rejecting rules and rejecting parenting by the institution, in favour of teach ins and sit ins. We need to rediscover our power to discuss and debate without exclusionism and mobbing. The present institutional (education, legal, government, police, employers, etc.) pressures are so great that the individual has become insecure and highly defensive. The same pressures are at the root of male predation and rape culture. It's a pressure cooker. We must find ways to alleviate the pressure, without relying on paternal "protections" from the very institutions that are causing the problems. We must take some democratic control of those very institutions to limit their oppressions of individuals.

Those are some of this author's concerns.

No comments: