‘Race,’ ‘Diversity,’ and the University

Maximilian C. Forte:

If this was a good time for Canadian academia, you would not be able to tell from the blanket of almost absolute silence that has been pulled over universities. There is no euphoria, no celebratory mood, no applause for the changes that are happening. There is, however, a degree of infighting, mutual suspicion, recrimination, and a palpable tension that divides faculty and also pits them against students and administrations. Against a backdrop of publicized cases of ostracism, real worry exists that expressing a perspective that has not been authorized could lead to termination or at least media-driven defamation. University administrations are all-too-quick to proclaim that what Professor X said or wrote, “does not represent the values of this institution”. Why would it? Why should it? These are not private religious colleges; Canada’s universities are public and secular. When applicants go through the hiring process, are they ever once presented with a list of the university’s “values”—a manifesto—and are they then told that if they do not agree with the document they can apply elsewhere, or else sign at the bottom line? No, that never happens (to my knowledge), and yet we work under the dictates of a party line—a decidedly partisan thrust that is distinctly and clearly a carbon-copy of the ideology of the ruling Liberal Party. This is far from the only instance where copy-and-paste has displaced academic reasoning, questioning, and debating.